Updated January 14th, 2024 at 17:31 IST
WATCH | Texas Zoo Welcomes First African Lion Cub in Nine Years
A Texas zoo celebrated the arrival of its first African lion cub in nearly a decade.
A Texas zoo celebrated the arrival of its first African lion cub in nearly a decade and the playful little one has been joyfully engaging in "pouncing and playing" with his proud mother. The Fort Worth Zoo introduced the bouncing baby boy named Moja, born to first-time mother Saba and father Jabulani on October 20, 2023, according to the park's recent announcement.
Born weighing a mere 2.7 pounds at four days old, the adorable cub named Moja (pronounced "mow-jah," meaning "one" in Swahili) has rapidly grown to a robust 16 pounds, as disclosed by the zoo. Although not currently visible to the public, the zookeepers are ensuring that Moja becomes strong enough to explore his new environment before making him available for public viewing.
“This little guy is learning what play means and can usually be found pouncing and playing with mom. We are so excited about this little one and can’t wait for you to meet him soon!” Fort Worth Zoo wrote on Instagram.
Saba and Jabulani, Moja's parents were brought to the zoo in 2012 after being born at a South African wildlife facility. Together with a third lion, Abagabe this trio introduced a new bloodline of lions into North America, contributing to the diversification of the gene pool, as highlighted by the zoo.
The birth of Moja, along with his parents Saba and Jabulani is considered significant in the conservation of African lions, which are classified as a vulnerable population.
The introduction of a new bloodline is viewed as a milestone in advancing the genetic diversity of the nation's African lion population, according to zoo officials who spoke to a local news outlet.
African lions face various threats, including human-wildlife conflict, decline in natural prey, habitat loss, climate change and wildlife trade, as explained by the World Wildlife Fund on its website.
With only around 23,000 African lions remaining in the wild, their official classification as 'vulnerable' underscores the urgency of conservation efforts.
Published January 14th, 2024 at 17:31 IST