First cub for lioness brings joy to Mogo during bushfire disaster

Out of fire mayhem a lion cub is born at Mogo Wildlife Park

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Chitwah's first cub, born on December 23 at Mogo Wildlife Park. Image: Supplied

Chitwah's first cub, born on December 23 at Mogo Wildlife Park. Image: Supplied

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Should this cub be named Phoenix?

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Only a week before bushfire swept through the South Coast, a lioness gave birth to her first cub at Mogo Wildlife Park.

The park's owner and director of life sciences, Chad Staples, said it was the positive news needed during a difficult recovery.

The cub, born on December 23, was not yet named nor sexed.

Mr Staples had praise for the cub's mother, Chitwah, who did not need intervention during the birth.

"It's often, from a zoo keeper's point of view, a scary thing - first pregnancy, first birth," Mr Staples said.

"You just worry that something could go wrong.

"It's not uncommon for big cats to fail on the first attempt."

The cub is still young, but Mr Staples said "it's going to be big", because it has the benefit of "all of mum's milk".

The next stage was introducing the cub to Baako, its father, before it could be seen by the public.

On January 13, Mr Staples said the zoo was beginning to recover from the bushfires that surrounded the facility.

The wildlife park's staff saved the facility from the New Year's Eve blaze, but dealt with no power for nearly two weeks, and no telecommunication.

Staff also cared for wildlife rescued from the bushfire zone.

Mr Staples said public support during the crisis was "phenomenal".

Power returned on January 12 to the park and the donated generator was switched off.

"Day by day, everything's getting back to normal," he said.

He wanted to wait until after the immediate threat of fire was over to share the news about the new cub.

"With everything that has been going on, I have left it until everything calmed down a little to share," he said.

This story first appeared in the Bega District News

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