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Super cute lion cub set to become mane attraction

ZOOKEEPERS are beaming with pride after announcing the birth of a super cute lion cub.

The tiny big cat was filmed taking some uneasy first steps before toppling over in front of mum Neliah.

The cub, who is yet to be named, was pictured practising its roar behind the scenes at Denver Zoo in the US.

The pair are being kept in a specially made den box which aims to mimic the space Neliah would seek out to give birth in the wild.

But footage shows the youngster was keen to explore as it tries to claw itself over a wooden plank in the den before mum drags the youngster back into place.

Zoo staff said mum and cub are both healthy and active, and bonding ahead of their public debut later this summer.

It is the second cub for mum Neliah but the first for dad Tobais.

Three-year-old Tobias moved to Denver in 2018 as a potential mate for Neliah, seven.

The birth on July 25 was particularly important for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) lion species survival plan, which promotes healthy, genetically-diverse lion populations in zoos across the US.

Assistant curator of predators at Denver Zoo, Matt Lenyo, said: ‘Tobias hasn’t fathered any cubs previously, which makes his genetics important to the AZA lion population.

‘The fact that he’s already successfully mated with one of our females speaks to the work our lion team put in to make Tobias feel comfortable in his new home in such a short period of time.’

Matt added: ‘This is Neliah’s second time around as a mum, so we were confident she’d show all the correct behaviours with her new cub.

‘She immediately started grooming and nursing the cub, which is exactly what we hoped she would do.’

Neliah and the cub will stay behind the scenes for at least a month to give them time to bond and gradually introduce the cub to the rest of the pride.