Longleat Safari & Adventure Park welcomed some of it’s newest arrivals this week as four nine-week-old lion cubs took their first tentative steps outside.
Weighing about 1 kilo and no bigger than the size of a young Labrador puppy the cubs made their first public appearance into their outdoor paddock. They were joined for the first time by mum, Yendi and Dad, Nibalo.
The baby lions, three females and a male were born in March and have been closely monitored by keepers over the past few weeks to ensure they settle in safely.
Head of Section Brian Kent said: “We’re delighted with the progress the cubs have made so far. We’ll continue to keep an eye on them over the next couple of months as they begin to grow into life at Longleat.”
“All four cubs are in a very playful mood at the moment running about chasing tails, chewing ears and jumping all over their parents.”
It’s the first cubs born to dad Nibalo after he arrived at Longleat from Germany back at the end of October and the youngsters appeared to be a bit of a handful to begin with.
As Brian explained, “The first time the cubs were out in the paddock he was quite grumpy and I don’t think he was expecting to be chased around by four energetic cubs. Lions are fairly lazy by nature and Nibalo is no different!
“As with any parents having to look after newborns the first few weeks are always going to be energy sapping but I’m sure he’ll soon settle into a routine!”
Mum, Yendi who is now nine years old and one of the more experienced parents in the pride at Longleat is already showing good signs of being a caring mother to the four excitable cubs.
Brian concluded, “Despite the cubs creating all sorts of mischief out in the paddock Yendi has been amazing and making sure the cubs are well looked after by their bad tempered father as well as being on hand to sort out any day-to-day rough and tumble!”
The cubs will continue to be let out into their paddock over the next week or so before having the complete freedom of the main lion reserve with the rest of the pride later in the month.
Lions are very sociable animals. They hunt together, share their prey and help rear each other’s cubs. Adult lions can weigh up to 200kgs and can sleep for up to 20 hours a day!