A TINY Asiatic lion cub that has been enthralling visitors at Chester Zoo finally has a name.
Keepers at the 110-acre zoo have had a long wait to discover if the little cub, born in September after a three and a half month pregnancy, was male or female.
Mum Asha has been so protective of her new charge that keepers have only just been able to confirm its sex.
Now that the mystery has been revealed, keepers named the two-month old male cub Chakra, which means symbol of sun.
Team leader Alan Woodward, who hand-reared Asha’s last cub Tejas, expressed his relief that the team did not have to intervene this time.
He said: “It has been a long wait for us to determine the sex of our latest addition but it’s been worth the wait.
“Asha’s confidence and protectiveness towards her newborn means, fortunately, we have not had to interfere with the raising of the cub and we have been happy to let her get on with it. The downside though is that, although we had an inkling, we couldn’t work out for sure whether the cub was male or female. Now all has been revealed.
“Chakra is gaining strength and confidence everyday and he is remaining close to his mum as they continue to bond. Asha is proving to be a great mum and we are delighted with their progress.”
Asiatic lions can now only be found in India’s Gir Forest. With the numbers plummeting, Chester’s new cub will eventually play a major part in a breeding programme for his species, ensuring it continues.
With between 300-350 Asiatic lions left in the wild, the new addition will make a big difference to the conservation of the species.
Chakra’s brother Tejas, now just over one year old, was transferred to a zoo in Besancon, France, in January as part of an international breeding programme.