Zoo Celebrates Birth Of Lion Cub Simba Born From Sperm Of Late Father Mufasa
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Singapore Zoo is celebrating a new arrival in the shape of a lion cub called Simba who was born from the sperm of his late father Mufasa... those names ring a bell, don't they?
The little one was born from the process of artificial insemination which unfortunately means that he will never meet his father.
Amazingly, or strangely (which ever way you want to look at it), Mufasa's semen was actually collected and stored in a bid to continue his bloodline.
Zoo officials said that Mufasa struggled to mate when he was alive - and before he got weak and old. Then, when the time came, they took the decision to euthanise him on 'humane grounds'.
Someone who works for the zoo added: "Semen collection while Mufasa was under anaesthesia was a secondary procedure, albeit an important one, to ensure his bloodline continues after his passing."
Simba was born on 23 October 2020 and he was named after the Lion King character to celebrate his heritage.
To boost his growth rate, keepers provided assisted feeding to Simba. Simba's mother, Kayla, suffered from suspected inflammation of her mammary glands and struggled to nurse him initially. Thankfully, she accepted the temporary separation from her cub so keepers could supplement his diet.
Speaking about the separation, Kughan Krishnan, the head keeper of carnivores at the Singapore Zoo explained: "It was a delicate decision because animals can reject their young following temporary separation.
"Thankfully, Kayla was accepting of the intervention which reflects the trust relationship built up over time between the lioness and her animal care team, that helped to achieve the positive outcome."
Following Mufasa's passing, Singapore Zoo wrote a statement which said: "Mufasa lived to the ripe old age of 20 but did not sire any cubs in his lifetime because of his aggressive behaviour, which did not bring about successful pairings with any female.
"Yet his genes would be of high value in contributing to the genetic diversity and sustainability of African lion populations in zoological institutions."
Despite their worries about a potential negative impact, the mother has grown to trust the staff and shown 'excellent maternal instincts by being protective of her little one and sharing her feed with the cub'.
Three months later and Simba is said to be making good progress with staff saying he is 'growing up to be a healthy and inquisitive little lion'.