Toronto, ON (Friday, October 2, 2015) The Toronto Zoo would like to announce that Makali, a four year old female white lion gave birth to four cubs; two cubs on Saturday, September 26, 2015 and two cubs on Sunday, September 27, 2015.
The first cub was born at 10:35 pm, followed by the second cub at 11:17 pm. The third cub was born at 4:15 am and the fourth at 6:40 am on Sunday. Makali started showing signs of late pregnancy on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 and Wildlife Care staff moved to a 24/7 schedule to monitor her closely. While all four cubs appear healthy, and feeding well, the first thirty days will be critical for each of them. Toronto Zoo Wildlife Care staff will continue to closely monitor Makali and her cubs during this time.
Makali and her cubs are currently in a maternity area of the lion habitat in the African Savanna area of the Zoo and are not visible to the public. Makali and Fintan (father) are both four years old and this is their first litter of cubs.
The African lions’ current range extends from south of the Sahara Desert to South Africa, at altitudes ranging from sea level to as high as 4,998 meters (16,400 ft). Their habitat varies from the grasslands of east Africa to the sands of the Kalahari Desert. Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There has been up to a 30% to 50% decline of wild lion populations over the past two decades and this decline will continue if conservation efforts are not put in place.
They may be the King of the Beasts, but they are in great danger from their main enemy: humans. Lions are losing ground to people in Africa. With less and less land and prey available to them, they sometimes resort to killing livestock. To protect their livestock, farmers shoot and poison the lions. Disease, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), bovine tuberculosis and canine distemper, spread by domestic animals, is also having a negative effect on wild lion populations.
Regional conservation strategies have been developed for lions in west and central Africa and eastern and southern Africa. These strategies include reducing lion-human conflict, and to conserve and increase lion habitat and wild prey base. One of the Toronto Zoo’s mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve the incredible biodiversity on the planet. The Toronto Zoo is in a great position to bring forward the plight of the African lion and supports lion conservation efforts in the wild through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.
*NOTE TO MEDIA*
Media are asked to arrive at the Zoo's front entrance no later than 9:50 am on Friday, 2015-10-02 for interview opportunities with Chris Dulong, Wildlife Care Supervisor, between 10:00am and 11:00am at the African Lion Exhibit.
Please note, media are not permitted in the maternity area of the lion habitat. Toronto Zoo’s tawny lions will be on exhibit for photo opportunities.
If you wish to make arrangements for a live remote truck please confirm with Amanda Chambers, Public Relations and Events, firstname.lastname@example.org or #416-392-5941 no later than 9:00am.
Toronto Zoo staff will provide updates, photos and video as they become available.