Middle East

Syria war: Lion rescued from Aleppo zoo gives birth in Jordan

Dana the lioness lies next to her cub Hajar at the Al-Mawa wildlife reserve in Jordan (13 August 2017) Image copyright Ahu Savan An | FOUR PAWS
Image caption Hajar's gender is unknown because staff have not been able to examine the cub

A lioness rescued from a zoo in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo has given birth just hours after arriving at a wildlife park in Jordan.

Dana was transported to the Al-Mawa reserve via Turkey along with four other lions, two bears and two tigers in a three-month operation organised by the animal welfare charity Four Paws.

Staff found the cub, who they named Hajar, in her cage on Saturday.

They are now waiting to see whether Dana will give birth to a second cub.

Dr Amir Khalil, a vet who accompanied the animals, told the Associated Press on Sunday that an ultrasound performed in Turkey had shown she was carrying two.

However, he warned that the second cub might already have been born dead and been eaten by Dana.

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Media captionAleppo zoo animals are finally rescued

Its fate will not be known until another ultrasound is carried out on Monday.

Four Paws said its team had initially been very concerned about whether Dana would accept or kill Hajar because of the enormous stress she had endured.

"But luckily that wasn't the case. She cleaned the cub and nursed it," the charity added. "This is a true sign that she feels safe at Al-Mawa."

Hajar's gender is unknown because staff have not been able to examine the cub.

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