Rare Indian lion cubs born in London zoo
Nerve News of India
" 'He wants to be in there with his offspring, but we wanted to make sure the youngsters were vaccinated and had a chance to explore the enclosure before we introduced him,' said Fitzpatrick. "
London, Aug 15 - London Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first Asiatic lion cubs in a decade, and the feisty little animals are proving to be a major draw.
The cubs - a male and a female - were born Aug 8 to parents Lucifer, six, and Abi, 10, the zoo said.
Classed as 'critically endangered', fewer than 300 Asiatic lions remain in the wild - in Gir Forest, Gujarat - and just 90 live in captivity around the world.
The cubs who are yet to be named are said to be doing well under the watchful eye of their protective mother Abi, who was the last Asiatic lion to be born at the zoo.
'She's been tremendous in terms of how she's introduced them to the public but protected them. She's been a wonderful mother,' said Malcolm Fitzpatrick, curator of mammals at the Zoological Society of London.
'The Asian lion is so endangered. In the wild they are restricted to the tiny Gir forest.
'Fortunately, their numbers are growing in the forest thanks to the excellent work of the Indian wildlife authorities. But it's the breeding in zoos that provides that real safety net, that real insurance population for the future.'
Father Lucifer, so named because his registration number at the previous zoo was 666, the devil's number, has not so far been allowed to meet his cubs but been introduced to them through a mesh.
'He wants to be in there with his offspring, but we wanted to make sure the youngsters were vaccinated and had a chance to explore the enclosure before we introduced him,' said Fitzpatrick.
The two cubs are part of an intensely managed European breeding and conservation programme.
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