IT’S FRIDAY (YAY!) – and hopefully you all know by now that, here at TheJournal.ie HQ, we love us some cute animals to welcome the weekend.
So, how glad were we to see Dublin Zoo offer us some excellent material for a bonus post this morning. Don’t worry, this doesn’t replace Hugh O’Connell’s magical animal slideshow.
The zoo has welcomed two female lion cubs from France and had photographer Patrick Bolger snap them in their new surroundings yesterday.
In six months time a male lion will be introduced to the habitat as the next part of a significant international breeding programme. But for now the un-named 19-month-old sisters have the recently-developed Asian Forests area to themselves:
Asian lions are critically endangered in the wild with only 400 remaining. The entire wild population of these lions can be found in one place – the Gir Forest in India.
Dublin Zoo’s Asian Forests habitat has taken inspiration from the Indian forest. A very dry forest with a mix of deciduous trees and diverse flora and fauna, the lion habitat reflects this environment and gives the lions necessary diversity to encourage natural behavior as well as breeding.
Team leader Ciaran McMahon said that, “Both cubs are doing fantastic. They are displaying the usual characteristics of young female lions such as sniffing, scent marking and scratching the surrounding trees.”
At 19 months old they are still cubs, which means they are playful, energetic and a little cautious. One of the cubs is slightly more confident than the other. She is more of a dominant leader which is not unusual in a pride of lionesses.
To celebrate their arrival, Dublin Zoo is inviting people to suggest names for the pair of female lions based on their Indian origin. Suggestions will be accepted through the Dublin Zoo Facebook page, email email@example.com or by post.