New Lion Cubs
This is the precious moment when a big cat tenderly nuzzles up to her newborn cubs.
These little balls of fur were just one hour old when they were caught on camera at South Africa's leading golf and safari development.
Born in the early hours of this morning, these cute tawny cubs cuddled into their Mum as animal experts watched on at Legend Wildlife & Cultural Centre.
First-time Mum Precious is a 27-month-old lioness and resident on one of the innovative “lion islands” at the Centre, an offshoot of the award-winning Legend Golf & Safari Resort in the Limpopo Province.
Thanks to a revolutionary birthing hut designed by Centre manager Arrie Van Deventer, it was possible to observe the litter of three's first few hours in the world.
The birthing room which houses a surveillance camera was created to allow Precious to mimic the birthing process in the wild. And Mr Van Deventer was delighted with the Centre's newest additions: “Nobody ever gets to see a lioness give birth because no-one yet has had the courage to crawl up to a lioness with her newborn young!
“Normally the lioness will leave the pride and travel kilometres away to give birth to her cubs; she only returns six to eight weeks later to introduce them to the rest of the pride.
“But our birthing room not only gave Precious somewhere safe to go, away from the rest of the pride while she has her young; it also allowed us to learn even more about the birthing process and particularly how a lioness raises her cubs in those first, crucial days.
“Unfortunately there can be complications and it's not uncommon for a lioness to abandon her first set of cubs and simply walk away. However Precious has really taken to motherhood; she's delivered her cubs safely and they're feeding well. She's already a very attentive Mum.”
The cubs' Dad, Lucky, hasn't been introduced to his offspring yet, however he is keeping a watchful eye over them from the other side of the fence along with the island's resident rare male and female white lions.
BLOB Legend Wildlife & Cultural Centre is open to day visitors as well as residents at Legend Golf & Safari Resort. For more details contact reservations on 0117 296 700 or firstname.lastname@example.org