Lioness and two cubs die at Mogo Wildlife Park

Hannah Sparks 29 January 2021 53
Lioness Zuri lying in her pen with two suckling cubs.

Zuri feeding her two healthy cubs 12 hours before she died. Photo: Supplied.

Mogo Wildlife Park’s treasured lioness, Zuri, has tragically died three days after giving birth to her first cubs.

The seven-year-old lioness had given birth to two healthy cubs on 8 December, however a third cub was born deceased and a fourth was unable to be birthed. It was Zuri’s first pregnancy and there had been complications with the death of the two cubs, and sadly she died on 11 December.

Zoo staff carried out an emergency caesarian to try and save one of the cub, however it had already died and caused severe internal rupturing to Zuri due to its size and positioning.

The blessing was that Zuri was able to return to her den after the mammoth procedure and let the two healthy cubs suckle for 12 hours, which will give them the best start to life.

Lioness Zuri lying in the sun at Mogo Wildlife Park.

Zuri had a huge personality and will be missed by the staff at Mogo Wildlife Park. Photo: Supplied.

“She was so strong and showed real signs she would recover, but after three long days of around-the-clock care, pain relief, antibiotics and prayer, unfortunately the damage was just too much for her body and she passed,” says Mogo Wildlife Park director Chad Staples.

Now it’s up to zookeeper Chad to play mum, which requires feeding the yet-to-be-named cubs every two hours, even throughout the night.


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“It’s more than a full-time job,” says Chad. “However, they’re an absolute blessing and I’m loving every moment.”

Zuri was born at Mogo Wildlife Park and her mother, father and sister are still at the zoo.

Chad says she had a huge personality and was a beautiful lioness. He and Zuri had formed a strong bond during her pregnancy.

“We’d gone through the process of pairing her up with a male and doing ultrasounds during the pregnancy, to then having the absolute joy of the birth taking place,” he says. “It’s just so cruel it took this turn.”

However, there was nothing Chad or his team could have done to prevent it.

“Unfortunately, if this had happened in the wild, she wouldn’t have even lasted as long because there would have been no possibility of intervention,” he says. “We’ll never know why or what happened internally; it’s just the complications of pregnancy. The one real positive is that two cubs were born well.”


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The cubs won’t be able to be reared by another lioness, especially since being handled by humans. However, when they’re older, Chad will find them a suitable male and they’ll be able to start their own pride.

Chad says he’ll be a protective parent because it’s really important the cubs survive.

“Lions are a huge icon for the world,” he says. “They’re one of those species that fascinate and amaze everyone. They’re also a species that’s dwindling in the wild so every individual is crucial and every birth is a huge thing.”

For now, the cubs are in Chad’s capable care and will carry on Zuri’s legacy at Mogo Wildlife Park. Visitors can also look forward to seeing the cubs out and about when they’re older.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.


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53 Responses to Lioness and two cubs die at Mogo Wildlife Park
Valerie Kilgallon Valerie Kilgallon 10:17 pm 27 Dec 20

That is so sad

Dawn Pearce Dawn Pearce 5:23 pm 26 Dec 20

So sorry to hear the loss to mogo zoo. Hope the two surviving cubs go ok xoxo

Lucy Curtis Lucy Curtis 1:40 pm 26 Dec 20

Sad news😥

Jenny Syphers Jenny Syphers 12:58 pm 26 Dec 20

So sorry

Veronica Westover Veronica Westover 9:45 am 26 Dec 20

So so sad

Matt Astolfi Matt Astolfi 9:10 am 26 Dec 20

Good luck to Chad and the team rearing the remaining Cubs. Very sad for Mogo’s loss.

Denise Beckett Denise Beckett 9:06 am 26 Dec 20

Oh no. This is awful. Sorry to hear this Mogo Wildlife Park.

Anthony Colin Edmunds Anthony Colin Edmunds 7:43 pm 25 Dec 20

Very sad end to a dreadful year,saw her when in Canberra this time last year.

David Jesshope David Jesshope 11:30 am 25 Dec 20

Sad so sad for your loss.

Beth Moores Beth Moores 6:42 pm 24 Dec 20

Jen O'Shea looks like your friend Chad will be busy over the summer. 😉

Jill Carolyn Greenhalgh Jill Carolyn Greenhalgh 2:59 am 24 Dec 20

So very sad.

Stephanie Duncan Stephanie Duncan 8:30 pm 23 Dec 20

Oh that’s terribly sad...

Sue Wood Sue Wood 7:55 pm 23 Dec 20

Thats sad

Joyce Dirkzwager-vanslee Joyce Dirkzwager-vanslee 7:42 pm 23 Dec 20

Ooooh how very very sad

Illyria Tyers Illyria Tyers 7:29 pm 23 Dec 20

on no :(

Cynthia Plahn Cynthia Plahn 5:06 pm 23 Dec 20

That is so sad...

Sarah Elizabeth Cobb Sarah Elizabeth Cobb 3:31 pm 23 Dec 20

I read this last night 😢😭

Dave Parks Dave Parks 1:48 pm 23 Dec 20

That’s soo sad 😢

Sammy Brooke Sammy Brooke 12:46 pm 23 Dec 20

Katrina Wykes Nathan Gombach 😭😭😭 my heart 💔💔

Teagan Wells Teagan Wells 12:09 pm 23 Dec 20

Tia Austin NOOOOO!!!

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