New Asian Forests Open at Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo Welcomes Two Asian Lioness Cubs
Dublin Zoo is delighted to introduce two female Asian lion cubs to the newly developed Asian Forests habitat. This is the first time Dublin Zoo has been home to Asian lions and the new development marks the beginning of a very significant international breeding programme.
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 took inspiration from the Gir Forest in creating and designing the new Asian Forests habitat.
The lionesses are 19-month old sisters from Mulhouse Zoo in France and are only beginning to venture out into their new habitat this week.
Team leader Ciaran McMahon reports 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.”
He continued, “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 (www.facebook.com/dublinzoo), email email@example.com or by post.
As part of the international breeding programme, Dublin Zoo will be welcoming a male lion into the habitat in the next six months. It is hoped that once introduced, the lion and lionesses will mate and breed thereby increasing the population of this highly endangered species.
Asian Forests at Dublin Zoo
The concept for the new Asian Forests at Dublin Zoo was inspired by the Gir forest of India and the Sumatran forest of Indonesia.
The Gir Forest encompasses 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.
Dublin Zoo’s pair of Sumatran tigers also have a new habitat within the Asian Forests. Inspired by the rainforest of Sumatra in Indonesia the tiger habitat simulates this colder tropical habitat with a river stream and river ponds for the tigers to swim. This environment also presents complexity to the tigers to facilitate natural behavior.
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