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County Executive's Office

Rare African Lion Cub is Born at Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo

August 01, 2003
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
County Executive

NOTE: Video of the cub is available by contacting Zoo Director Jim Hubing at (608) 266-4733. No still or video photographs of the lion cub and mother will be allowed at this time. Thank you for understanding that this is necessary to protect the health and well-being of the cub. The Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a male African Lion Cub on July 26. “We’re so excited about having such a rare animal born at our zoo,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “It is an honor to play a valuable role in the survival of the African Lion, which is an endangered species. The staff has done a tremendous job.” ”At birth, it was about three pounds in weight and the size of a football,” said Zoo Director Jim Hubing. Hubing said the cub appears to be developing well. While it will not be on exhibit for about three months, the Zoo’s web site will be updated weekly with current pictures. Parents Henry and Vilas arrived at Henry Vilas Zoo in June of 1997 from a sanctuary in the Kalahari region of Africa. This is the first birth for the seven-year-old animals. The African Lion Species Survival Plan recommended breeding for the pair, as their offspring are valuable to Species Survival Plans because of their genetic history. Lions have become endangered in both South and East Africa due to loss of habitat. “Vilas is extremely protective of her cub,” said Hubing. Big Cat Zoo Keeper Shane Elsinger reports that Vilas will not permit any activity near her or the cub. Cub’s eyes may remain closed for the first two weeks following birth, and they usually nurse for up to six to seven months. # # #