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Riverbanks Celebrates the Births of Two African Lion Cubs

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2018

[Columbia, SC] — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is excited to announce the arrival of two African lion cubs growing the Zoo’s lion pride to eight. The cubs were born to mom Lindelani and dad Zuri on Monday, October 1.

Riverbanks’ animal care staff first noticed signs of labor after 10:00pm Sunday. Lindelani successfully delivered a healthy offspring at 3:06am and another at 5:45am. A third cub also was born but did not survive.

“We are thrilled about these new additions to our African lion pride and their impact on the sustainability of the species,” said Sue Pfaff, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “Lindelani is a protective and attentive mother, and she and her offspring are bonding very well.”

The births are of significant importance to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) African Lion Species Survival Plan® (SSP). For nearly 40 years, SSPs have ensured the continued existence of African lions and other endangered wildlife through breeding and transfer plans among AZA-accredited organizations.

“Because of the leadership, care and dedication of the Riverbanks team and our AZA colleagues, the managed African lion population has risen to nearly 400 animals,” said Pfaff.

The captivating carnivores once roamed all of Africa; however, the animals now only are found in fragmented populations across the continent. The species is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with their biggest threats being habitat loss, hunting, and a reduction in prey-based populations.

African lions prefer open savannas with thick vegetation for camouflage when hunting and denning. They are able to adapt to virtually any habitat ranging from barren sub-desert to grasslands to open woodlands.

The new cubs will be cared for off exhibit until they are about three months old and large enough to explore their outdoor habitat. Until then, the public will have an opportunity to follow the cubs as they grow via Riverbanks’ Zoo Cam. Details will be announced at www.riverbanks.org.