NEW DELHI: in a world first achievement, the University of Pretoria (UP) has said a lioness at the Ukutula Conservation Center and Biobank in South Africa’s North West province has given birth to two cubs conceived via non-surgical artificial insemination.
The two cubs, a male and female, born on August 25 are healthy and normal, said Andre Ganswindt, the director of the University of Pretoria’s mammal research institute. The African lion population is estimated to have decreased from 1.2 million individuals in 1800 to about 25,000 in 2016, and 18,000 in 2018, a reduction of more than 98 percent over 220 years and more than 60 percent in the last 25 years.
Having the first lion cubs ever born from artificial insemination in their natural range country, and not in a zoo overseas, is an important milestone for South Africa. The African lion is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.