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8 November, 2023


Lion keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo received the best gift for International Zookeeper Day, with a trio of lion cubs born late in the evening on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.

By Supplied

Photo by Megan Lewis.

This is the second litter for breeding pair Marion and Lwazi, after three bouncing baby girls were born on 7 April 2022.

“The cubs are doing really well, they’re hitting all their milestones and Marion is an absolute superstar mum,” said Senior Keeper Melanie Friedman.

“They’ve had their first quick vet check and we can confirm there’s two boys and a girl, their eyes are open and they’re all weighing in around five kilograms.

“They’re currently behind the scenes bonding with mum, getting to know all the ins and outs of being a lion!”

Keepers closely monitored Marion via CCTV in the weeks leading up to the birth, after she experienced some complications with her first litter and required an emergency caesarean. Marion appeared to be in labour in the morning of October 4, before giving birth to two cubs between 9pm and 10pm that evening. The third cub arrived a few hours later.

“We were up very, very late watching but it was very exciting that we didn’t have to intervene, she delivered them all naturally – it was a really joyous moment,” Mel said.

“Lions are not an endangered species but their numbers are declining in the wild, so every birth is important.

“Being an imported lioness from America, Marion brought new genetics into our region so this litter of cubs is really important for the regional breeding program.”

The newborns will spend their first few months of life behind the scenes. They will receive their first health checks and vaccinations, before Marion starts to introduce them to the world outside the den, including to dad Lwazi and their three older sisters.

In the meantime, guests can see the Zoo’s three elder states-lions Kiamba, Zalika and Tiombe, as well as Lwazi and 18-month-old Imani, Mara and Amali at Lion Pride Lands at Taronga Western Plains

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