Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Denver Zoo Welcomes Two New Lion Cubs

Animals

The Denver Zoo may be closed to visitors to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but, for the animals inside, life goes on.


This is especially the case for the zoo's lion pride, which welcomed two new members Thursday, April 23, the zoo announced Tuesday. The new cubs were born to mother and father Kamara and Tobias, who are both four years old.

"We're seeing a lot of positive signs that things are going well, and will continue to keep a close eye on [Kamara] and the cubs in these critical first days and weeks," Assistant Curator of Predators Matt Lenyo said.

The births come little less than a year after the zoo welcomed another lion cub named Tatu, The Denver Post reported. Tatu is also the child of Tobias, meaning he now has two half-siblings. (Their sexes are still unknown.) His mother is Kamara's mother, Neliah, and his birth is now helping the new mom care for her own cubs.

"We are watching Kamara closely to make sure she's showing appropriate maternal behaviors, like nursing and grooming," Lenyo said. "She learned a lot by watching Neliah and interacting with Tatu last year, which really prepared her to be a mom."

The cubs' birth is good news for lion conservation. African lions have decreased by fifty percent since 1994, Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) told National Geographic. While they once roamed almost the entire African continent, they are now absent from 94 percent of their historic range and are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The primary threats to their survival are loss of prey and habitat, as well as poaching.

"Lions are truly one of the world's universal icons, and they are quietly slipping away," WCN director of conservation programs Paul Thomson told National Geographic.

The new cubs' birth is part of an effort to combat this trend. Tobias, their father, was moved to the Denver Zoo in 2018 from Buffalo in the hope that he would mate with Kamara and Neliah, the zoo said. The move was recommended by the Lion Species Survival Plan, a plan for ensuring healthy, genetically diverse lion populations in zoos belonging to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

"Kamara and Tobias were a very genetically valuable match," General Curator Emily Insalaco said in the birth announcement. "And these cubs are an important contribution to the species' population in AZA facilities, and will help inspire visitors to learn more about their wild cousins."

While the zoo isn't receiving visitors right now, the cubs won't know the difference. They will be secluded with their mother for two months to give them time to connect with her and meet the rest of the pack, which also includes an unrelated seven-year-old female named Sabi.

You can still follow the cubs remotely via the zoo's Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less
The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Bystanders watch the MV Wakashio bulk carrier from which oil is leaking near Blue Bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius, on August 6, 2020. Photo by Dev Ramkhelawon / L'Express Maurice / AFP / Getty Images

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, renowned for its coral reefs, is facing an unprecedented ecological catastrophe after a tanker ran aground offshore and began leaking oil.

Read More Show Less
A mural honors the medics fighting COVID-19 in Australia, where cases are once again rising, taken on April 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

By Gianna-Carina Grün

While the first countries are easing their lockdowns, others are reporting more and more new cases every day. Data for the global picture shows the pandemic is far from over. DW has the latest statistics.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Hannah Watters wrote on Twitter that she was suspended for posting a video and photo of crowded hallways at her high school. hannah @ihateiceman

As the debate over how and if to safely reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic continues, two student whistleblowers have been caught in the crosshairs.

Read More Show Less