Staff are "over the moon" after three endangered lion cubs were born at London Zoo.

Born to seven-year-old mum, Arya, and 14-year-old dad Bhanu, the litter of three Asiatic lion cubs, who are yet to be named, arrived at the Regent's Park attraction on March 13.

With a wild population of only 600 to 700 in a small area of India, their birth may be vital to the survival of the species.

London Zoo’s head big cat keeper Kathryn Sanders said staff are "over the moon" about the new arrivals, who opened their eyes ten days after being born.

She said: “Arya is proving to be a doting mum to her three cubs, and we’ve been able to observe some heartwarming moments via our hidden cubcam - from their first feed to their first steps. They’re getting stronger every day and we’re delighted with their progress.”

Footage shows mum Arya giving birth after a six-hour labour, before licking the infants clean and lying down to let them suckle.


The three cubs are a huge boost to the conservation breeding programme for Asiatic lions, now found only in the Gir Forest in Gujarat, India.

Recent estimates suggest that there are only 600 to 700 left in the wild, and due to their reliance on just one habitat, they are particularly vulnerable to an outbreak of disease or a natural disaster. 

Kathryn added: “Their arrival is not only hugely exciting for all of us here at London Zoo, but is a huge boost for the conservation breeding programme for these endangered big cats."

Ham & High: Three tiny lion cubs with mum Ayla opened their eyes just 10 days after they were born at London ZooThree tiny lion cubs with mum Ayla opened their eyes just 10 days after they were born at London Zoo (Image: ZSL)

"When the wild population is thought to be just 600 to 700 individuals, adding three to that number is a significant increase."

As well as keeping a close eye on mum during labour, zookeepers have been observing the three-week-old cubs’ milestones - including watching them take their first wobbly steps - all without interrupting their precious bonding time with mum.

“We expect that the three-week-old cubs will likely stay inside with mum for a little while yet, although as the weather gets warmer, we might see them venturing outside soon," added Kathryn.

“We cannot wait for our visitors to be able to see them when they start to venture outside.”