An 8-year-old German shepherd can be the perfect mom for two lion cubs, offering her milk to the babies after their mother rejected them
Sirona the lioness shocked zookeepers at the White Lion Park in Vladivostok, and her postpartum behavior. The young mother was biting her cubs, and one of the babies even had a small wound on the body.
Keepers had to remove the cubs from their mother. But, they had to be nursed. A German shepherd named Sandra accepted the role without hesitation.
The newborn cubs were “emaciated and dehydrated.” Zookeepers were worried about their health.
“What the mother lion is doing is not quite normal,” said park director Viktor Agafonov. “She is biting them… One cub seems even to have a little wound. This is completely abnormal.”
Sirona was a first-time mother, and she was “very introverted, reserved, and secretive.” Zookeepers were worried about her behavior. She failed to care properly for the babies.
Sandra had no problems with that. She had given birth to a puppy in that period so she had enough milk for the cubs.
“It is interesting that this dog doesn’t like cats, yet she decided to accept the little African lions into her family,” explained Agafonov. “She has a puppy, smaller than lion cubs. But the dog has enough milk because in the past she has fed eight puppies.”
The eight-year-old German shepherd did an incredible job. Sandra was the best foster mum these cubs could ever ask for.
“This dog helped us a lot, obviously, and she will help the cubs to survive because their mum, Sirona, didn’t come close to them. The male cub is already sucking milk carefully. And the girl cub is taking it too.”
According to the park director, this is an unusual case of interspecies foster care. Let’s not forget that lions are wild animals.
“The dog’s milk is very appropriate for the cubs, it has all necessary nutrients for normal development,” Agafonov said.
Sandra is an incredible mom, and zookeepers are grateful for everything she did for the cubs. Her mom instinct was of great help in this case. The lion didn’t even want to come any near her babies. It’s too early to say anything, but zookeepers are positive about this.