Brooks Announces Birth of Two Lion Cubs At Seneca Park Zoo
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks welcomed two lion cubs born on March 7 at the Seneca Park Zoo and will soon reside in the A Step Into Africa Exhibit. The cubs, one male and one female, born to first-time parents Asha and Chester who have lived at the Zoo since the lion exhibit opened last year. Their initial litter numbered four cubs, two of which failed to thrive and did not live past the first two weeks.
“This is an amazing day not only for the Zoo but also for children and families across our entire community,” said Brooks. “Last year, we welcomed record crowds to the Zoo as a result of the new A Step Into Africa Exhibit. Today, I am very excited to announce that after nearly two months of excellent care by our zoo staff, we can officially announce that these two lion cubs will soon re-join their parents for our entire community to see.”
While the exact timing of when the cubs will be able to be reunited with their parents and when visitors can see them is unknown, local residents will be able to stay up-to-date with the developments through a variety of sources. County Executive Brooks will continue to regularly share videos, pictures and updates on her Twitter feed @Maggie__Brooks and Facebook page as will the Seneca Park Zoo on their Facebook page.
Brooks also announced that a community wide naming contest will be held and information about the contest will be available in the coming weeks.
“The opening of A Step Into Africa drew the highest attendance the Zoo has seen since 1998, welcoming more than 428,000 visitors,” said Rachel Baker August, Executive Director of the Seneca Park Zoo Society. “We know our supporters are eager to receive news regarding the cubs so the Zoo’s Facebook page will be updated regularly.”
Soon after their birth, in consultation with the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, the Seneca Park Zoo’s animal care staff was forced to make the difficult decision to separate the cubs from their mother and began hand-raising them. This decision became necessary when the mother stopped nursing and caring for her babies. The SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions.
“It was a difficult decision to remove the cubs but it was the right thing to do because Asha wasn’t showing signs of being able to care for her cubs,” said Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director. “Because our lions’ genetics are so valuable to lions in conservation care, it was important we do everything we could to ensure their survival.”
The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Once on grounds, visitors may stay until 5 p.m. Rates are $11 for adults (12 to 62); $10 for seniors (63+); $8 for youth (3 to 11) and free for children 2 and younger and Zoo members.