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Lion cubs receive first check-up

31 January 2017

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s seven-week old Lion cubs have marked another milestone, with their first health check.

Vets and Keepers were able to weigh and examine each of four cubs and determine their sex – two girls and two boys.

The veterinary team are pleased with the health and development of the cubs, checking their heart, lungs, ears, eyes and mobility..

The cubs’ weight ranged from 5.2 – 6.5 kilograms, with the boys weighing in at the heavier end of the scale.

Four cubs is quite a large litter size, so we’re pleased to see them all feeding so well; their little milk-filled tummies are almost brushing the ground!

Since their birth on 13 December last year, Keepers and Vets have been monitoring the new family via the use of video cameras, providing mum Nairibi with a special nesting den to bond and to care for the cubs in privacy.

Last week’s check-up went smoothly for both mum and cubs. With mum Nairibi enjoying breakfast in another den, the team were able to enter the area to quickly examine, weigh, microchip and vaccinate the cubs.

It was a big morning for the cubs but great to see them settle back in with mum afterwards for a feed and a play.

It’s expected that it will be a few more weeks until the cubs are on display, with the next critical milestone being introduction with the rest of the pride, beginning with Lioness Nilo and dad Johari and then progressing to fifteen-month-old cubs, Kubwa, Kashka and Kito.

We expect that the older cubs will be very excited to meet their new playmates and it will be an important learning curve for them, as they learn to be gentle with the youngsters.

Lions are in trouble in the wild, with populations disappearing from much of their original range as a result of human conflict and habitat loss. It’s estimated that there may be as few as 20,000 Lions left in the wild.

Find out more about Zoos Victoria's Beads for Wildlife program supporting wildlife in Northern Kenya

Updates on the progress of mother and cubs, including naming process will be shared via Zoos Victoria’s website and social media channels.