Lion cub born at Blackpool Zoo

Kahri the lion cub, born May 31 2015, at Blackpool Zoo.
Kahri the lion cub, born May 31 2015, at Blackpool Zoo.

Keepers at Blackpool Zoo are full of pride, as a new lion cub has joined the family.

Tiny Khari - which means ‘like a king’ - will make his first public appearance any day, after being born on Sunday, May 31.

Since then he’s been kept in the Big Cat House, under the watchful eye of mum Rachel.

But now the house has been opened up, and it will be up to mum and the ‘already vocal and active’ cub when he will be introduced to visitors at the Stanley Park attraction.

Sadly, Khari was one of two cubs for lioness Rachel and father Wallace, with the smaller of the pair having to be put down due to a ‘serious developmental problem’ found during initial health checks.

Khari, though, is said to be making excellent progress, to the delight of zoo staff and the veterinary team.

Thirteen-year-old Rachel will be aided by Khari’s ‘aunty’ Gillian in his care, with Wallace stepping to the fore as the cub matures.

Adam Kenyon, head of mammals at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce the birth of a healthy lion cub.

“We had prepared the cubbing den because we knew the birth was imminent and our keepers waited with baited breath for them to arrive.

“New babies are always a cause for real celebration here at Blackpool Zoo as it means the group is content with their surroundings, which is testament to the fantastic job our keepers do.

“It’s very sad that we lost one of the cubs, but these decisions are never taken lightly.

“As we approach our busiest time of the year it will be wonderful to see the new cub exploring his home.

“He already has a distinct personality and takes after his aunty Gillian – very vocal and active.”

It is the first time Blackpool Zoo has celebrated the birth of lion cubs since 2009, when Rachel’s half sister Gillian, gave birth to female triplets.

The cubs, who were called Luna, Kimya and Nikita, left Blackpool in 2011 to begin an exciting life together as the foundation of a brand new pride at Longleat Safari Park, where they now have cubs of their own.

Rachel was born in Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland and came to Blackpool in 2007, joined by the then two-year-old Wallace, from Longleat, a year later.

Last summer the zoo celebrated the arrival of fellow big cat cubs, Radzi and Barney the amur tigers, who recently marked their first birthdays.