Fota Welcomes Three New Endangered Lion Cubs

Fota Wildlife Park in Cork is welcoming three fluffy new arrivals.

The three new lion cubs were born to the proud lioness, Arya, one of the first cubs to be born at the wildlife park almost 7 years ago.

The adorable bundles of fur belong to the endangered Asiatic lion species. In the wild, the Asiatic lion only inhabits one remaining site in the world, at the Gir Forest in India.

There are currently estimated to be only around 500 to 600 wild Asiatic lions left in the Gir Forest region. 

The park took to Instagram to announce the good news, sharing some cute photos of the triplets. "Asiatic lioness Arya has given birth to three male lion cubs. Six-year-old Arya, who recently returned from Helsinki Zoo and who was part of the first lion cub litter to be born at the Park, was paired with the male lion Yali, and their cubs were born on the 5th of June. Eight-year-old Yali is the most genetically significant Asiatic lion in the European Breeding Programme."

The cubs were born about a month ago and have since opened their eyes and begun exploring their new surroundings.

“We are overjoyed with the birth of Arya’s cubs,” said Lead ranger Julien Fonteneau, “Arya and Yali’s cubs are not just vital to our breeding programme but also to the global efforts in preserving the Asiatic lion population. In a first for Fota Wildlife Park, Yali was present at the birth of his three cubs, normally the male lions would not attend the birth of their young.  One of our team members here quipped that Yali is a very modern father!”

Arya, though new to the job, has proven to be an excellent and fiercely protective mother. She keeps the cubs hidden out of site from the keepers. While it is difficult to currently catch a glimpse of the adorable new cubs, Arya sometimes brings them into the heated Lion Shelter when it is raining.

The arrival of this litter marks the first lion birth at Fota Wildlife Park in 5 years.

You can watch the new cubs down below:


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