Bristol

Rare Asiatic lion cubs born at Bristol Zoo

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Media captionMother and cubs are said to be making good progress

A pair of rare Asiatic lion cubs have been born at Bristol Zoo.

The birth of the male and female on Christmas Eve to first-time mother Shiva and father Kamal was captured on video by zoo staff.

There are about 400 Asiatic lions remaining in the wild, in Gir Forest in Gujarat, India. The species is critically endangered.

Staff have been monitoring the new arrivals, now 10 weeks old, in their special den via a CCTV system.

There are thought to be fewer than 100 Asiatic lions in captivity.

A zoo spokeswoman said the cubs were hard to spot since they spent a lot of time in the den or hiding in undergrowth.

She said capturing the moment of their birth on video had been "extremely rare".

Mel Bacon, assistant curator of mammals, said: "Asiatic lions are critically endangered and on the brink of extinction, so every birth is extremely valuable for the captive breeding programme for this species."

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