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Dublin's real Lion King romances zoo's sisters

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REPRO FREE 19/04/2013
Dublin Zoo is proud to welcome Kumar, an Asian male lion who is almost seven years old, weighs 140 kilos and came from Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. Ciaran McMahon, team leader of the big cats at Dublin Zoo, said, Kumar is a stunning animal with an amazing mane. To put his impressive size into context, he is about 35 times heavier than a domestic cat. Kumar possesses the usual characteristics of a big cat including strength, power and prowess. He also has a really laid back attitude. With only 350 Asian lions remaining Kumars arrival is particularly significant for Dublin Zoo and an important boost to the international breeding programme for this highly endangered species. Visitors can see Kumar and the two Asian lionesses Zuri and Sita at Dublin Zoo, today.  
?Patrick Bolger Photography

REPRO FREE 19/04/2013 Dublin Zoo is proud to welcome Kumar, an Asian male lion who is almost seven years old, weighs 140 kilos and came from Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. Ciaran McMahon, team leader of the big cats at Dublin Zoo, said, Kumar is a stunning animal with an amazing mane. To put his impressive size into context, he is about 35 times heavier than a domestic cat. Kumar possesses the usual characteristics of a big cat including strength, power and prowess. He also has a really laid back attitude. With only 350 Asian lions remaining Kumars arrival is particularly significant for Dublin Zoo and an important boost to the international breeding programme for this highly endangered species. Visitors can see Kumar and the two Asian lionesses Zuri and Sita at Dublin Zoo, today. ?Patrick Bolger Photography

REPRO FREE 19/04/2013 Dublin Zoo is proud to welcome Kumar, an Asian male lion who is almost seven years old, weighs 140 kilos and came from Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. Ciaran McMahon, team leader of the big cats at Dublin Zoo, said, Kumar is a stunning animal with an amazing mane. To put his impressive size into context, he is about 35 times heavier than a domestic cat. Kumar possesses the usual characteristics of a big cat including strength, power and prowess. He also has a really laid back attitude. With only 350 Asian lions remaining Kumars arrival is particularly significant for Dublin Zoo and an important boost to the international breeding programme for this highly endangered species. Visitors can see Kumar and the two Asian lionesses Zuri and Sita at Dublin Zoo, today. ?Patrick Bolger Photography

DUBLIN Zoo's new Asian lion Kumar showed everyone who is king by mating with two sisters.

The seven-year-old didn't take too long to get down to business with Zuri and Sita, whom he joined after his much-anticipated arrival at Dublin Zoo.

Asian lions are an endangered species, with only 350-400 remaining in the wild.

However it's too early to say if either of the three-year-old lionesses is pregnant.

Ciaran McMahon, who is responsible for the big cats at the zoo, said: "The fact he has mated doesn't mean the female is pregnant. We will watch for signs."

The gestation period for an Asian lioness is just over three months.

Mr McMahon said a great deal of time and effort went in to creating the ideal conditions for Kumar and his new female friends.

"You never know what you are going to get when you introduce new cats," he said.

The introduction took ten weeks of watching, planning and looking at body language. When the animals were put together, it was "textbook", said Mr McMahon.

Kumar mated first with Zuri in mid-April and then with Sita later in the month.

"He has settled very well into the new habitat we built. We are delighted with him. He is a beautiful lion," said Ciaran, who is team leader of the west side section of Dublin zoo.

Zuri and Sita both came from Mulhouse, France last year, and Kumar came from Rotterdam. An international breeding programme for the highly endangered species is under way in zoos worldwide.

In the wild, they are found only in the Gir Forest in India.

fdillon@herald.ie


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