The Asiatic Lion is an extremely rare and endangered species, so the news out of the Paignton Zoo in Devon, England is heartening. Four Asiatic Lion cubs were born at the zoo in May, and are thought to have a chance at survival now that they have made it through the first few months of their lives. A cub born last year was euthanized due to a spinal condition.
“They have come through the critical first few weeks,” Neil Bemment, the curator and operations director for mammals at the zoo told the BBC. ”We have been letting Indu get on with being a new mum – so far she seems to be doing really well. We are cautiously excited – if she is successful then it will be thanks to a lot of care and attention from the keepers.”
If the cubs survive and thrive for another year or so, they will be shipped out to other zoos so they can breed and try to keep the dwindling Asiatic Lion population from plummeting even more. Hunters have left fewer than 300 Asiatic Lions in the wild (the Gir Forest in Gujarat, India), with around 300 more living in zoos.