Our Asian lioness, Lalana, gave birth to four cubs on 21st August. One of these failed to survive but the rest are doing well. Currently you cannot see the cubs when you visit the zoos as they are living behind the scenes in the maternity den. Lalana, for the first time mother, has picked up her new role well. She is calm and caring for the three energetic cubs.
WEBCAM IN THE MATERNITY DEN
Lalana first met Aapel our male lion and the other two lionesses this year in the spring. She was born in April 2000 in Planckendael (Belgium) from where she was transferred to Krakow (Poland). She was moved to Rotterdam because she had not bred in Poland and the breeding programme coordinator hoped she would be more successful with Aapel, luckily that proved to be the case. Lionesses usually give birth for the first time around three or four years of age and Lalana is already eight. .
This litter is very valuable both to the European breeding programme and to the conservation of Asian lions in general . Aapel originally came from Singapore Zoo, the offspring of two wild caught lions. In the wild Asian lions are only found in the Gir forest, a protected area in north western India. Today some 600 of these lions still survive in the wild. However, around 1900 only 20 animals still survived. All the Indian lions living today are the descendants of this small group.
Asian lions are less social than their African cousins and live in smaller groups. They also look different; in general they are smaller, the manes of the males are thinner and they have a fold of skin that runs along the length of their belly.The Asian lions in Rotterdam Zoo are housed in a renovated monumental building with a spacious, green, outdoor exhibit area.