Three months ago, lion cub Tobias was the lone survivor of a litter of four, but now he’s about to have three new playmates.
On Wednesday, the Buffalo Zoo announced the birth of a litter comprised of one male and two female yet-to-be-named African lion cubs, born May 12.
The eight-week-old cubs are the offspring of first-time mom Lusaka, 6, and now fourth-time father Tiberius, 3. Tiberius is also the father of Tobias, and Lusaka and Tobias’s mom, Leslie, are half sisters.
“We were so excited to share the news at the end of April about Tobias, our first lion cub in twenty-five years,” said Buffalo Zoo President Donna Fernandes in a press release. “So the media and the public can imagine our excitement at sharing the news about three more cubs and our growing lion pride.”
The cubs underwent their first health check-up on Friday and weighed-in between 11 and 13 pounds.
Unlike Tobias, who was bottled-fed with formula through a protective mesh enclosure, these cubs have been fed exclusively by their mother Lusaka.
Todd Geise, the zoo’s director of marketing, said that Tobias’s mother had problems nursing. However, because Lusaka is nursing just fine, the three cubs have been able to be raised with minimal human interaction.
“Both of the lionesses are first-time mothers, which is very unpredictable to begin with – whether in human care or in the wild,” he said. “To have surviving cubs with the first litter is more rare than it is common.”
Tobias is healthy and now eating cub-sized portions of food and no longer needs much formulated milk. Tobias has minimal human engagement now and spends most of his time with his mother and father.
As for the three new lions , Geise said it’s hard to determine what the cubs’ demeanor is like, because Lusaka appears to be very protective of her offspring.
The zoo hasn’t decided on the names of the cubs, but they are contemplating taking considerations from the public as they did with the naming of gorilla Kayin.
The cubs aren’t expected to make their public debut until August.