DVUR KRALOVE, Czech Republic (AP) — Three Barbary lion cubs have been born in a Czech zoo, a vital contribution to a small surviving population of the rare lion subspecies that is extinct in the wild.
The triplets, all female, were born on July 5 in the Dvur Kralove park. They have taken their first steps in their outdoor enclosure this week under the careful supervision of their mother, Khalila. They are yet to be named.
One of the biggest lion subspecies, which once roamed its native northern Africa, Barbary lions were almost completely wiped out due to human activities. Many were killed by gladiators in Roman times, while hunting contributed to their extinction later.
It’s believed Barbary lions went extinct in the wild in the middle of the 1960s. Only a few dozen survived in the collection of the King of Morocco.
The Czech zoo is part of a pan-European endangered species program that coordinates efforts for their survival in captivity.
Currently, their global population is estimated at around 100.