Simba becomes Singapore’s first lion cub to be born through artificial insemination

Singapore Zoo has welcomed a lion cub named Simba to its animal kingdom after artificial insemination, which officials said on Tuesday was a first for the city-state.

It is rare for lions to become pregnant through artificial insemination, with the procedure first successfully carried out in 2018 – resulting in two cubs in South Africa.

Lion populations in the wild have fallen more than 40 percent in the past two decades, with about 23,000 to 39,000 mature animals left, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

It lists lions as vulnerable.

Singapore’s new cub, named after the main character in Disney’s “The Lion King”, was conceived with semen from an older African lion.

Father Mufasa, who also takes his name from the animated film, was in poor health and did not survive the procedure, the zoo said.

Simba, who was born in October, is cared for by her mother Kayla and animal keeper and is “healthy and curious”, officials say.

A video showed Simba being fed from a bottle and playing with a ball.

(AFP)