Changing Planet

Bronx Zoo Introduces African Lion Cub to New York Public

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Moxie, the African lion cub in this picture, made her public debut at the Bronx Zoo in New York yesterday.

“An adult male named M’wasi and young adult female, Sukari, were introduced to each other in 2008 as part of a cooperative zoo breeding effort,” said a news statement by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the conservation charity that manages the zoo. “After the courtship, Moxie was born on November 6, 2008, weighing about 3 pounds at birth. Moxie could grow to be 350 pounds as an adult.”

WCS photo by Julie Larsen Maher

“We have waited a long time for this birth,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Director of the Bronx Zoo, in the statement. “She is definitely a scene-stealer with a spunky and playful personality. We are pleased to debut her on Earth Day. We are certain that Bronx Zoo-goers who are coming out for our WCS Run for the Wild this Saturday and the last weekend of our Earth Month celebration will enjoy seeing our new cub.”

Lions live in grasslands and open woodlands across much of sub-Sahara Africa. Their Lion Island home at the Bronx Zoo’s African Plains depicts this habitat. “This popular exhibit opened in 1941 to record crowds and is still an emblematic home for this icon species,” WCS said. The exhibit showcases African wildlife in a predator-prey setting with a moat separating them.

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WCS photo by Julie Larsen Maher

Across Africa, lions and other great predators are disappearing, according to WCS. “Until recently scientists believed there were 100,000-200,000 lions living in Africa, but a recent survey has found that the number has dropped dramatically to approximately 29,000 (IUCN 2006,) and most of these are living in protected national parks and reserves.

“Outside of these protected areas lions are being slaughtered at an alarming rate by people who kill them to protect their livestock,” WCS added. “Ever-expanding human populations push people and livestock into the remaining lion range, causing habitat destruction and bushmeat poaching, which decimates wild prey and forces lions to depend on livestock for food. Unless urgent action is taken, lions may be completely wiped out from these unprotected areas.”

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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