The Oklahoma City Zoo was surprised by the help received in naming four African lion cubs recently born at the midwestern zoo. Officials at the zoo say the cubs are the first born there in 15 years..
The contest was conducted through the zoos website. the names were released November 9 0n the zoo’s Facebook page:
“Today, the OKC Zoo’s African lion cubs received their first round of vaccinations! The Zoo’s veterinary care team performed a wellness exam on the little lion cubs. The cubs are healthy and continuing to grow strong!
After nearly 15,000 fans helped us choose names for these little ones, say Jambo, or hello, to Neema, Zahara, Makena and Mshango! We are overwhelmed by the number of votes we received to help name the lion cubs. Stay tuned to our social media channels for more “”
The zoo describes its mission as connecting people with endangered wildlife to inspire conservation. The zoo hopes to create a world where people work to conserve,
The zoo was founded in 1904 with one animal, a fawn, on display. President Theodore Roosevelt formally admitted Oklahoma into the United States in 1907. By 1909 the zoo had 125 animals living on its grounds. Today, the zoo spans 119 acres and has about 1,900 resident animals.
Captive breeding and rescue of felines and other wild animals has been in the news recently. The National Zoos announced the birth of a litter of two highly endangered cheetahs and even set up a temporary camera to monitor the two babies,
Lions and cheetahs are both risking extinction. Both are now restricted to a fraction of their former range. Cheetahs are now confined to Africa and Iran. There are an estimated 7,000 left in Africa and an unknown number in Iran. India has recently attempted to reintroduce them.
The situation for lions is less dire, though very concerning. Lions are now reduced to two locations in the world. One is Africa, where an estimated 20,000 remain. Those cats are increasingly subjected to habitat fragmentation, poaching and other threats. The other is the Gir Forest in India where a small remnant population of around 500 Asiatic lions remains. India is making strenuous efforts to preserve its wildlife, including the Gir lions, and is counting some successes. The country faces rising population and growing urbanization, both of which present huge challenges for conservationists.
Closer to home the Orange County Zoo recently rescued two orphaned cougar cubs. A litter of four was found under a bench in Thousand Oaks. Two died shortly after rescue. The mother had either abandoned them or was killed. Two survivors are now marquee attractions in brand-new quarters at the zoo.
Recently, a tigress at another sanctuary delivered a litter of cubs that was estimated to be a significant proportion of the number of Siberian tigers left on earth.