Celebrating an Adorable Baby Boom!

This zoo just welcomed newborn lion cub triplets and two giraffe calves.

Baby lion cubs at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

 (Rick Stevens/ Taronga Western Plains Zoo)

Baby animals are adorable. They are especially so when they come in threes like the lion cub triplets born at a zoo in Australia. Add two giraffe calves and you have a baby boom.

The three female cubs were introduced to the public in July, 2022, according to a press release from the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, and they quickly won the hearts of visitors becoming the “mane” attraction.

“Keepers and guests loved seeing the cubs climbing the trees and rocks, although Marion [the mother of the cubs] appears to be on high alert as a first-time mother with these especially confident cubs,” lion supervisor, Justine Powell explained in the press release.

Lion triplets are a breeding success
The cubs are a major breeding success and was the first litter born to a new breeding pair Marion and Lwazi. In fact,  this was the first liter born at the Zoo since 2016.

Marion, a 7-year-old, came to the zoo in 2018 and Lwazi, 4, arrived in 2021. The pair were introduced to each other later that year. The union between the two introduced new genetic material into the regional breeding program. 

This is vitally important as African lions are classified as vulnerable in the wild due to habitat loss, depleted food, and interaction with humans, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF). There are only an estimated 23,000 left in the wild.

 The cubs are all healthy and puting on about 1kg per week, according to the press release, and are transitioning to a meat diet. All three have very different personalities and are busy exploring their habitats under the watchful eyes of their parents.

“Marion has been an outstanding first-time mother and it has been a privilege to watch how attentive she is with her first litter. Equally, Lwazi has been very excitable and playful with the cubs but also incredibly gentle, especially considering his considerable size and strength difference,” said Powell.

 While two of the cubs were named by the Zoo’s foundation, a naming competition that just closed on August 16 will name the third. The baby lions’ names will be released soon.

Giraffe surprise!

On July 23, a second giraffe calf was born. While expected, the baby was born in front of some very surprised zoo visitors, reported ABC News.

While the newborn giraffe – named Wayo which means footprint in Swahili, struggled to stand up, mother Mvita, gently nudged the calf with her hooves to help it stand.

“It’s always a privilege to see a newborn calf find its feet, suckle for the first time, and meet the herd,” giraffe keeper, Bobby-Jo Vial said in a press release from the Zoo. “The calf is quite large and has very unique markings. Four-week-old calf Matata was very interested in the herd’s newest member and was quick to come over and give the new calf a sniff.”

 There are only about 117,000 giraffes left in the wild due to loss of habitat and poaching, according to the Giraffe Conservation organization. The species as a whole is considered vulnerable to extinction but two subspecies are considered critically endangered. There has been a 40 percent decline in numbers over the past 30 years.

Wayo’s birth came just one month after the birth of Matata and there is still one more giraffe currently pregnant. This bodes well for the breeding program at the Zoo’s Dubbo and Sydney locations. Due to its high success rate, more baby booms may be on the way.

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