First ever Asian Lion cubs born at Fota Wildlife Park

An Asian lionesses has given birth to her first litter of cubs at Fota Wildlife Park.

The three as yet unsexed Asian lion cubs, were born on the 13th August to first time parents, mother Gira and father Shanto after a gestation of about 112 days.

The litter are also a first for the Cork Wildlife Park.

Asian lions are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as there are only 500 individuals remaining in the wild so this is a very exciting time for the Staff.

Sean McKeown, director of Fota Wildlife Park said “We are absolutely thrilled that Gira successfully delivered her first litter of cubs here at Fota as the pride of lions are relatively new and have only been in situ for just over a year in their specialised habitat.

"It’s our first participation in the international breeding programme for Asian lions and are delighted to see this success in the arrival of the cubs.”

Lead ranger, Kelly Lambe commented on the births by saying “The cubs are still really new and Gira the mum seems to be very comfortable with them, they are fulltime job for her as they require feeding every three to four hours but she is doing great as a first-time mother. Their eyes are only open a few days but they are starting to move about and explore and have already taken their first steps but as babies they do spend a lot of time sleeping.

The pride of Asian lions at Fota Wildlife Park features the five-year-old male Shanto who came from Zoo de Santillana in Spain and two sisters Gira and Gita, both three, who came from Helsinki Zoo in Finland to the recently opened Asian Sanctuary.

By Anna O'Donoghue

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