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Meet Binti! African Lion Cub Born at the Detroit Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 24, 2020 1:00 am

lion cub detroit zoo

Binti the African lion sits on a log at Detroit Zoo

Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo is celebrating the birth of their first lion in cub in four decades. Mother Asha underwent an emergency caesarean which allowed for the safe delivery of the female cub which has been named Binti. Binti is a Swahili word meaning ‘daughter.’


Asha required the caesarean after she was observed going in to labor but failed to give birth. While Binti could be delivered safely another three cubs were unfortunately stillborn.


Following this emergency delivery Binti required the constant care of zookeepers at Detroit Zoo. She lived in an incubator and received regular bottle feedings between 6am and midnight. While in the incubator Binti was played sounds from her pride and sprayed their scent to make her familiar with the family she will live in as a grown up.


Since then she has graduated to a larger play pen and then to living inside the lion’s indoor habitat where she is near the adult lions. She has since been given visual contact with the adults so they can see, hear and smell one another.


Socialization with other lions is an important part of a lions development and Binti has formed a strong bond with her aunt Amirah.

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“She has grown so much, has a lot of energy, and is very curious and playful,” said Elizabeth Arbaugh, DZS curator of mammals. “She is learning to live with other lions, starting with her aunt, Amirah. We expect that she will eventually live with her entire family as a member of the Detroit Zoo pride.”


Mother Asha and her sister Amirah came to Detroit Zoo from Buffalo Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP). These cooperative breeding programs aim to ensure a genetically diverse lion population in accredited zoos.


Binti’s father started life as a pet owned by the Royal family of Qatar. They decided to relinquish him and he found sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo during 2013.


Recently Binti has started having access to the lion habitat at Detroit Zoo which is supported by Kroger.

lion cub detroit zoo

Binti the African lion sits on a log at Detroit Zoo

Photo Credit: Detroit Zoo

Learn more about African lions here – African Lion Fact File | The Animal Facts


Learn more about Detroit Zoo on their website – Detroit Zoo

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