Zoo celebrates birth of new lion cub

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo celebrates birth of new lion cub

Posted: 06/30/2006
 Knoxville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of an African lion cub. Nearly one month old and yet to be named, the female can be seen at various times in the Pilot Traveling Exhibit Center. The cub was born June 6, but removed 16 days later from its mother, Sylvan, for hand-rearing. It was discovered the cub was losing weight and becoming dehydrated after a routine check.

The decision was made to pull her for a physical and to assist her through the first few months. Her physical determined she was in good health and she has continued to gain weight since. It is the sincere hope and goal of staff to reintroduce the cub back to the pride after she is weaned between 4-6 months old. Until that time she will be on exhibit in the Pilot Traveling Exhibit Center while she is being cared for by staff.

Visitors will be able to see her between 9:30-4:30 p.m. except during feeding from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Staff will interact with the small cub only for feedings or medical procedures. This will help with her reintroduction to the other lions at the Pridelands exhibit if she has as little human interaction as possible. This is Sylvan’s eighth cub since she arrived at Knoxville Zoo in 1997. This is the zoo’s first lion cub since Sylvan gave birth to triplets in January 2001 and the 57th overall since 1962. Sylvan was imported from the Kapama Game Reserve in South Africa to introduce a new bloodline to the Krugeri subspecies.

The father, Hubert, has been at Knoxville Zoo since arriving from the North Carolina Zoo on a breeding recommendation in August 2003. This is his first offspring. This cub’s birth is important to the species since there are less than 70 Krugeri African lions in institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). African lions are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) Knoxville Zoo participates in with other institutions accredited by AZA. These animals are part of a cooperative population management and conservation program to ensure healthy, self-sustaining populations that maintain maximum genetic diversity and are demographically stable. Knoxville Zoo manages 30 animal species involved in SSP programs. Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392 from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day.

The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865.637.5331 ext. 300.