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Monday Cute: Lion Cub Plays With Parent’s Tail

Last month, this little lion cub was born at the Buffalo Zoothe first one in 25 years. His parents, Lelie and Tiberius were paired as part of a Species Survival Plan, and the 10-pound cub, which has not yet been named, is the only one of the litter of four to survive. As a result, the team is limiting human contact with the eight-week-old cub and the lion exhibit at the zoo is delayed, possibly until the end of summer, as a precaution. Both parents are offspring of native African lions, which are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service due to loss of habitat and poaching.

He still has some health milestones to pass, but Buffalo Zoo plans to keep the public updated with news, cute pictures, and videos like the one above. Zoo president Donna Feranndes says, “We are cautiously optimistic concerning our new lion cub, and we are thrilled with his progress so far, but he is not out of the woods yet. In fact, it is common not to have any surviving offspring of a first-time litter by a lioness, in the wild or in human care.” The ultimate goal is “full integration into the pride,” but the pregnancy of another lioness, Lusaka, and the fact that his father is still a young lion at 3 (male have a tendency to kick out their sons) means he could potentially be transferred to a new zoo.

The cub looks like he has lots of energy, and don’t tell me he doesn’t remind you of Simba. Even his dad, Tiberius, looks like a majestic Mufasa! (And not just because of that Shakespearean family conflict I mentioned earlier.) If you want to stay updated with news about the cub, just follow Buffalo Zoo on social media.

I can’t wait until he’s king! If you could name this cub, what would you name him?

(via New York Upstate)

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