Stop licking me, mum! The adorable lion cub who has become zoo's mane attraction


Motherly love: Kiamba (left) gives her new born lion cub a big lick at Monarto Zoo

This cute four-week-old African lion cub has already become a firm favourite amongst a select few zoo visitors.

Seen here cuddling up to its mum Kiamba, the adorable latest addition to an Adelaide tourist attraction is spending its first few weeks feeding, sleeping and playing around.

Born naturally, it will still be another month before Australian zoo keepers can determine its gender, which could prove problematic for those bidding on e-Bay to give the bub a name.

Monarto Zoo's carnivore keeper Claire Geister said single cub litters were quite rare and staff were 'thrilled' with Kiamba's natural and trouble-free delivery.

She said: 'It's amazing. I wasn't here for the birth but I got a phone call to say I was a grandma.

'The cub was the only one in the litter and has been developing well over the past few weeks, venturing outside the den and building in confidence daily.

'We are counting down to the cub’s health check as this will also be the day that we can confirm if it is a male or female.'

Unnamed: The sex of this lion cub at Monarto Zoo will not be known until next month

In four weeks time Kiamba will have to be sedated so staff can get close enough to give the cub a check-up and determine its sex.

Some Monarto Zoo visitors have been lucky enough to glimpse the cub, but he or she won't go on display until ready to join the pride - hopefully in time for the July school holidays.

Zoos South Australia CEO Professor Chris West said African lions were in decline in the wild as a result of habitat loss, human conflict and diseases from domestic animals.

There are fewer than 20,000 of them left, whereas in the 1960s there were 250,000.

Protective: Kiamba (right) looks after her new born cub, who will be named by people bidding on eBay

Professor West said: 'This cub will be an ambassador of its species to people in Australia.'

Kiamba, seven, came from Adelaide Zoo while Leroy, the cub’s father, is ten-years-old, has four lionesses in his pride, and arrived at Monarto Zoo via Mogo Zoo.

To celebrate the arrival of the lion cub, Zoos SA is giving the public the chance to name it.

The highest bidder in an eBay auction, which starts today and closes on Monday, June 14, will get to choose three names, with Zoos SA deciding the winner.

All money raised will go to Zoos SA conservation programs.

source: dailymail