The four are part of the Asiatic Lion pride at Fota living with mother and father, Gira and Shanto, along with their older brother Loki, and aunt Gita in the specially constructed lion habitat in the Asian Sanctuary in Fota Wildlife Park.
Loki’s two sisters, Arya and Amira, part of the first lion cub pride to be born at Fota, were last year transferred to Helsinki Zoo as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) for Asian lions.
They will be getting a special birthday feeding at 1 PM at the Asian Sanctuary from our rangers on the day, Thursday 20th Feb.
The cubs arrival recently featured on Virgin Media Television’s show Fota: Into the Wild. You can catch up on this show on Virgin’s Online Player here (this link will take you to their website). The latest episode of Fota: Into the Wild airs this Sunday, Feb 23rd at 8 PM on Virgin Media One. Find out more about the show here.
(Below the cubs at four months old, after being named following a public naming competition)
The Asian Lion is classified as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and now inhabits only one remaining site in the world – the Gir Forest, in India, which means that wildlife parks and zoos play a crucial role in safeguarding the species. The current population in the Gir Forest is estimated to be in the region of 500 lions. Their limited distribution increases the species susceptibility to extinction as a result of disease or a possible natural disaster. It also highlights the importance of cooperative breeding programmes undertaken by zoological collections such as Fota Wildlife Park acting as a backstop to the extinction of these endangered species.
Fota Wildlife Park opened the Asian Sanctuary in 2015, and it is now home to some of Asia’s most endangered species such as the Indian rhino, the Sumatran tiger and the Asian lion. Fota Wildlife Park is a not for profit conservation organisation and is part of the Zoological Society of Ireland. Fota Wildlife Park’s core values of conservation, education, and research have been instrumental in fostering greater public understanding of the threats to the biodiversity of animal and plant habitats; as well as maintaining some of the world’s most endangered species. Fota Wildlife Park is open daily to the public from 10 am throughout the year and is one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions.