Lions are both majestic and extremely intriguing animals. It's estimated that as few as 20,000 still exist in the wild and for many reasons, a litter of lion cubs is something very special.
Delightfully, Werribee Open Range Zoo has welcomed four new additions to their incredible lion pride. Lioness Nairibi gave birth to the first cub on Tuesday and the last in the early hours of Wednesday. This is the first litter for Nairibi and second for father Johari.
Nairibi and her cubs aren't currently on display and will be in a nesting den for at least six to eight weeks, interestingly replicating what would happen in the wild when the lioness moves away from the pride to give birth.
Werribee Open Range Zoo Director, Glen Holland said the first few weeks are a critical time for the newborns but so far the signs are positive.
"It's very important that Nairibi has a secluded space to bond with and to care for her cubs during the first few weeks," Holland said.
Lion cubs are born after a short gestation period of only three months and are particularly vulnerable when they are born.
They open their eyes after approximately ten days and their sex isn't determined until around six weeks in. They only become mobile at three weeks of age.
Holland said that Nairibi is recovering well following the birth and is attentively feeding and grooming her beautiful cubs.
"The cubs are nursing and Nairibi is getting some much-needed rest, feeding and napping when she can," he said.
The news of the births comes less than two months after the zoo's oldest lion Tombo died at aged 20, having to be put down after a rapid decline in his health due to age.
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