Lion cub making 'brilliant progress'

JUST days after he was born Riziki the lion cub was rejected by his mother Tamby when her supply of milk ran dry.Weakened and malnourished, the future looked far from bright for the vulnerable cub as his brothers and sisters failed to respond to the care of their keepers and died.

JUST days after he was born Riziki the lion cub was rejected by his mother Tamby when her supply of milk ran dry.

Weakened and malnourished, the future looked far from bright for the vulnerable cub as his brothers and sisters failed to respond to the care of their keepers and died.

But after spending three days hooked up to a drip and receiving antibiotic treatment at the vets, Riziki is now a happy, healthy 12lbs, and has become the pride of the pack at his new home on the Suffolk border.

At around three weeks old, the cuddly cub was transferred to Linton Zoo from Woburn Safari Park, where he was born on July 5.


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In the four weeks since he arrived in Cambridgeshire, Riziki has more than doubled his weight thanks to the dedication of the zoo's staff, who meticulously feed the demanding diner by hand every four hours.

Although Riziki, which is Swahili for 'Lucky', is not yet on permanent show at the zoo, officials say he is making such good progress that he may well begin making regular public appearances within the next few weeks.

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"Occasionally we have taken Riziki out to meet visitors, as it is important he starts to learn what people are all about," said Kim Simmons, co-owner at Linton, where baby tiger cub Anastasia, and zebra foal Zola, are also new arrivals.

"But he was quite vulnerable initially, and we didn't want him to come into contact with any germs people might be carrying.

"When he came to us, he weighed just 5lbs, but he has now put on a lot of weight so we have been able to stop the night feeds."

Riziki, who is still being bottle-fed but has also started eating mincemeat mixed with milk, could weigh as much as 650lbs, eating up to five chickens every day.

Staff at Linton, near Haverhill, who were left without lions for the first time in 30 years when Lilly, the last of their pride, died in June 2002, now hope to build up a new collection with Riziki as its head.

"It is really nice to have lions back at the zoo, as it seemed very strange not having any lions around," added Kim,

She said two lionesses could soon be moving to Linton from Woburn.

"But we didn't expect to reintroduce them in these circumstances, when a cub was rejected by his mum. It has been very demanding hand rearing Riziki, but also really rewarding. He is doing very well, and making brilliant progress.

"When he is old enough he will be housed in the main enclosure where he will head our new lion pride," she added.

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