New cubs spotted in Meru

10 August 2022


Great news on World Lion Day for the Virginia Pride!

A lioness nestled in the grass with a tiny cub

On World Lion Day, we are excited to announce new additions to the Virginia pride, in Born Free’s heartland, Meru. On the 4th of August, 2022 the monitoring team spotted the new cubs that were safely hidden within the safety of thicket along Mutundu River. The cubs were first sighted and reported by Rhino rangers while on patrol in early July and given that the pride is quite elusive, our field team had earlier been unsuccessful to capture any pictures for identification.  

You can imagine their joy when they finally sighted Mugure with her adorable litter of five cubs. The cubs are less than two months old and too cute by far! Growing up in the wild is tough so lion cubs have many lessons to learn before they reach adulthood. At this age the cubs are quite vulnerable and are being hidden under the very watchful eye of the baby-sitting lioness. The cubs are believed to have been sired by Solio T3 coalition (Farid. Faris & Faisal) a coalition of three young males translocated from Solio in 2020. The formidable coalitions were sighted mating with Mugure and Sikio in early March, a clear indication that they have secured mating rights after ousting Moja.

Dr Caroline Ng’weno, Pride of Meru Manager, said: “This is Great news for the Virginia Pride and symbolises a steady incline in the numbers of the Virginia Pride, now bringing their numbers to 13. Although still isolated with their mother in the safety of a birthing den, stay tuned for an update when the cubs join their extended family, enjoying their carefree days full of play and, come the time they’ll learn to hunt and take their place as apex predators.”

Throughout 2022, Born Free has been celebrating our Year of the Lion. A year of action for lions in honour of the 100th birthday year of our charity’s fearless founder and lionheart, Bill Travers MBE. We’re calling on the public to help halt the devastating decline in wild lions and campaign for the welfare of lions exploited in zoos, circuses and as ‘pets’. Our Forever Lions fund, set up in memory of Bill, will raise funds and awareness to address the plight of lions.