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Pride of Jerusalem

Jerusalem zoo welcomes second litter of rare Asiatic lions

Cubs are 3rd and 4th born to Gir and Yasha, bred as part of the European endangered species program

Two newborn lion cubs (right) next to their mother, at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, November 3, 2022. (Guy Kashi/ Jerusalem Biblical Zoo)
Two newborn lion cubs (right) next to their mother, at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, November 3, 2022. (Guy Kashi/ Jerusalem Biblical Zoo)

Two Asiatic lion cubs were born at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo a month ago, the zoo announced on Thursday.

The park said that the cubs — the second litter to be born at the site to resident lions Gir and Yasha — have begun taking their “first steps” around their enclosure and invited the public to visit them. They are estimated to weigh between one to two kilograms.

The cubs have not yet been named.

“The cubs are part of a joint project with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to rescue the Asiatic lion, which until the Crusaders period roamed throughout the Land of Israel,” the zoo said.

As part of the program, Gir, a male lion, came to the Jerusalem zoo in January 2014 from a zoo in Sweden when he was three years old.

Yasha joined him in Jerusalem later that year after being donated by a zoo in Germany. The couple first became the proud parents of two lion cubs in 2020.

There are only around 500 Asian lions left in the wild throughout the world, most of them in the Gir National Park in Gujarat, in western India.

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