On 23 October 2020, Singapore welcomed its very own Simba, the first lion cub to be conceived through assisted reproduction at the Singapore Zoo.
Lion Cub Conceived by Artificial Insemination
Simba is the offspring of male lion Mufasa and lioness Kayla. He was conceived using the semen from 20-year-old Mufasa. The semen was collected by the process of elecro-ejaculation but, unfortunately, Mufasa was not revived following the procedure with his deteriorating health being a key factor. On average, lions have an average lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
Lioness Kayla was identified as a candidate for assisted pregnancy and artificially inseminated. Simba’s birth continues Mufasa’s bloodline and the lion cub has his father’s eyes.
Simba the Lion Cub
In his first month, keepers found him to be having a challenging time suckling. It appeared that Kayla was suffering from inflammation of her mammary glands. This led keepers to intervene and supplement his milk intake with bottle feeding.
Three months since his birth, Simba is a healthy and inquisitive little lion cub. He has started to enjoy a mixed diet consisting of small amounts of raw meat together with his milk. His days are spent playing with enrichment devices such as a rattan ball prepared by his keepers to nurture his development.
Mum Kayla has also exhibited good maternal instincts nurturing Simba. A protective mum, she is often observed to be playing with Simba and sharing her feed with him. On his part, he tails her wherever she roams.
At the moment, Kayla and Simba are housed in an off-exhibit area. This is to allow them to bond privately. Eventually, Simba will be introduced to the rest of his family—his half-sister Shani and his aunt Kiara.