German Shepherd Steps In To Raise Two Lion Cubs After Their Mother Rejected Them
A German Shepherd at a wildlife park in Russia welcomed two little lion cubs into her family after their mother rejected them.
The two kittens were born to first-time mum Sirona, but staff at the White Lion Park in the city of Vladivostok became concerned when they realised she was failing to care properly for her babies.
The lioness has been described as ‘very introverted, reserved and secretive’, and her kittens became ’emaciated and dehydrated’ while in her care. To make sure their situation didn’t turn fatal, keepers decided to give the puppies to a German Shepherd named Sandra.
Check out footage of the new family below:
Park director Viktor Agafonov said Sirona’s behaviour around the newborns was ‘completely abnormal’, so much so that she even appeared to lash out at them.
Per the MailOnline, he explained:
What the mother lion is doing is not quite normal. She is biting them…
One cub seems even to have a little wound.
Footage shared on White Lion Park’s Instagram page showed Sirona biting one of the newborns:
Agafonov said Sandra doesn’t usually like cats, but thankfully she was more than happy to step in as foster mum and grow her family even more after recently welcoming a pup of her own. The dog has been given to the wildlife park ‘for a while’ from a family from the city of Artem after keepers put out a request.
The park director said:
She decided to accept the little African lions into her family. She has a puppy, smaller than lion cubs.
But the dog has enough milk because in the past she has fed eight puppies.
Agafonov made clear that the dog helped the cubs survive as they were able to take milk from Sandra when their own mum ‘didn’t come close to them’. He assured that Sandra’s milk was acceptable for the lions, saying that it has ‘all necessary nutrients for normal development.’
Keepers acknowledged that it is ‘very early to think that everything will be perfect in the future’, but they expressed their hopes that Sandra would continue to be a good mum to her foster cubs.
Sandra’s decision to care for the cubs was described as an ‘unusual case’, with Agafonov acknowledging that it is suprising when one animal species fosters the cubs of another, especially when they are wild animals.
The caring dog looks to be doing a great job with the cubs so far, so hopefully their bond will only continue to grow!
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CreditsWhite Lion Park/Instagram and 1 other
White Lion Park/Instagram