Healthy triplet lion cubs were born Friday morning at the Sacramento Zoo.
“These are very early days for our first-time mother,” said Dr. Adrian Fowler, acting director of the Sacramento Zoo.
Fowler said the zoo is pleased with the progress of mother and cubs. In the wild, females would naturally take some “maternity leave” from the rest of the pride for the first month or two, Fowler said in a zoo press release.
Lions’ gestation period is 3 1/2 months, with a litter ranging from two to four cubs. The little lions are born with eyes shut and rely entirely on their mother for the first few months.
Fowler said the mother lion and cubs will be off-exhibit for a while to allow her some bonding time with her youngsters. If all goes well, the cubs could be ready to explore their exhibit in December.
Lions are considered regionally endangered in West Africa. An estimated 42 percent of major lion populations are declining with loss of habitat, prevalence of disease and inbreeding threatening the species.
The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Lion Species Survival Plan, working with captive populations to increase awareness of troubles facing the species.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.