We are roaring with excitement to share that not one but two lionesses are pregnant!
Lionesses Husani and Makena are pregnant with blood tests confirming the roar-some news of cubs on the way.
This week the whole pride celebrated with colourful enrichment and tasty meat.
Due to be born in August, this will be Makena’s first litter and Husani’s third litter of cubs.
Lion keeper Tammy Stoeckel said the mums are doing well and their cub-bumps are now showing. “They’re definitely getting a lot hungrier and a bit more grumpy, which is completely understandable!” said Tammy.
“We have some private, cosy dens set up for these mums when they’re ready to give birth, and we will monitor them by camera. Once the cubs are born they’ll stay in the den for about four weeks. They’ll then join the group in the public habitat once they’re about one to two months old.”
Something people don’t know about breeding cats, whether it’s domestic cats or big cats, is that different males can father different cubs from the same litter. This is due to female lions having what is called stimulation based ovulation.
“With Makena, we’re looking at Kubwa or Kashka as father of her cubs and Husani’s cubs are fathered by Kito or Kashka. Kashka is our dominant boy so he’s the one we expect to be the dad.”
Having two litters of cubs on the way highlights the real impact Zoos SA is having on African Lion conservation and is an encouraging step forward on our mission to saving the species from extinction.
“Each cub is incredibly important for conservation of this species because there’s less than 20,000 lions left in the wild and if things keep going as is, it’s predicted they will be extinct in the wild by 2050.”
African Lions are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species has been impacted by habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade.
Zoos SA supports these big cats in partnership with the Zambian Carnivore Program, which does amazing work in conservation research, habitat restoration and education.
As a conservation charity, each time the public visits their favourite animal at Monarto Safari Park, purchases a membership or gift from the Zoo Shop, you are helping to save these incredible animals for future generations.
For those visiting the lion pride on the Zu-loop bus or viewing platforms, Tammy shares her tips for spotting the pregnant mums-to-be, “Husani is our most golden girl, she is a very dark gold colour. Makena is our lightest girl with a white underbelly.”