Animal sanctuary surprised by birth of 2 lion cubs

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(SADDLEBROOKE, Mo., AP) — The birth of two lion cubs was a surprise for an animal sanctuary in southwest Missouri after their suspected father underwent a vasectomy.

The male cubs each weighed around two pounds when they were born in March at the National Tiger Sanctuary in Saddlebrooke. Now, at 11 weeks old, they weigh more than 20 pounds each.
Abbie Knudsen, the sanctuary’s executive director, estimates the cubs will weigh around 100 pounds by their first birthday. They’ll probably grow to weigh between 400 and 450 pounds like Leo, the lion believed to be their father, she said.
The sanctuary doesn’t breed the large animals, which is why the two males in a group of five lions rescued about a year and a half ago underwent vasectomies, The Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/1JHtlI6) reported.
“We wanted the family to be able to stay together. In order to do that and not produce cubs, we did a vasectomy on both males on the day we moved them,” Knudsen said. “Just like with humans, there is always a chance that it didn’t take. That is obviously what has happened here.”
The two cubs are the first to be born at the National Tiger Sanctuary since it was founded in 2000 near St. Louis.
There are now 32 big cats, including the cubs, living at the sanctuary’s current site on 100 acres of land about 10 miles north of Branson.
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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com