S'pore Zoo welcomes male lion cub 'Simba', only son of 20-year-old lion 'Mufasa'

The new king has arrived.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 26, 2021, 11:38 AM

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The song "Circle of Life" can be played out loud now.

A male lion cub was born at the Singapore Zoo last October -- Oct. 23 -- to be precise.

His name is Simba.

His father? A 20-year-old resident lion named Mufasa.

Simba is the only son of Mufasa

Simba was conceived through assisted reproduction at the Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre in Singapore Zoo.

Photo by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Keepers and veterinarians worked to collect semen from Mufasa, a geriatric lion, using the process of electro-ejaculation.

Sadly, Simba will never get to meet Mufasa as the latter was humanely euthanised after the procedure.

In memory of Mufasa. Photo by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

His deteriorating health was a key factor, according to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

Simba is Mufasa's only offspring as the latter's aggressive behaviour has deterred him from pairing with any female.

Simba is said to have the same beautiful eyes as Mufasa.

Photo by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Well taken care of by lioness, Kayla

Simba has been cared for by a lioness named Kayla.

However, the keepers observed that Simba was having a challenging time suckling as Kayla might be suffering from inflammation of her mammary glands.

While Kayla continues to care for Simba, the keepers decided to supplement Simba's nutrition with bottle feeding.

Photo by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The human intervention fortunately did not affect the relationship between Kayla and Simba.

Kayla is described to be a protective mum. She plays with Simba and shares her feed with him.

Little Simba is always tailing behind Kayla, the keepers observed.

Started eating meat

At around three months old, Simba is described to be a healthy, inquisitive and energetic lion.

Keepers have also started incorporating raw meat into Simba's diet at this age.

Here he relishes small cubes of meat, on top of his milk feeds.

Photo by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

You will not be able to see Simba for now as he's still housed at an off-exhibit area to bond with Kayla privately.

He will be introduced to other adult lions subsequently.

Simba is one of the two remaining male lions at the Singapore Zoo. The other being a seven-year-old named Timba.

In the wild, the average lifespan of African lions is up to 14 years.

African lions are listed as a "Vulnerable" species under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Mufasa's genes passed down to Simba will contribute to the genetic diversity and sustainability of the African lion populations, WRS said.

All photos courtesy of WRS