Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

New at the Zoo: African lion cubs!

Good news everyone! Last Monday night/Tuesday morning, Luke and Shera welcomed four little bundles of liony joy into the world. This is Shera's first litter, and Luke's first surviving litter (following the death of the cub born to Shera's sister, Nababiep, on May 20th of this year), and is truley great news for the Zoo, it's staff and visotors, and lions the world over. Their birth is a momentous occasion, and represents a huge victory for lion conservation. These cubs will help protect the survival of their species by contributing their unique genes to the captive breeding population in the future.

The zoo has been working to introduce the two sisters with Luke for some time now in the hopes of establishing a proper pride, and it looks like they are succeeding. The cubs are doing well, and Shera is turning out to be a wonderful mother. And even better news: keeper's believe Nababiep may be pregnant and expecting again after a mating with Luke in May. Such exciting times!

While Shera and the cubs are not yet on exhibit (but hopefully will be by late fall), they can be viewed on a live webcam here and a short video of the mother and her cubs can be be seen at the Zoo's YouTube site (since I know the webcam might be getting a lot of traffice right now).

Nababiep was pregnant, and expecting! She gave birth to three more cubs early this morning. That makes Luke, Shera, Naba, Shera's four (female?) cubs, and Naba's three. That's 10 lions at the National Zoo. Incredible. The pride is finally coming together, huzzah!

Photo of Shera and cubs from the FONZ/Smithsonian National Zoological Park' "Great Cats" webpage and photos of Luke and Nababiep from the FONZ/Smithsonian National Zoological Park's "Great Cats: Meet the Lions" webpage.

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