Parents are supposed to take care of their children and help them grow. They are responsible for making sure that their children are protected and safe. This also applies to the animal kingdom. However, this is not the case with Kigali, a lioness and a first-time mother.
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Last August, Kigali gave birth to two cubs at Leipzig Zoo in Germany. They were the first lions to be born there in 15 years. Kigali had been behaving normally up until Monday night. The Daily Mail, a British daily middle-market newspaper published in London in a tabloid format, reported that the lioness suddenly swallowed the pair whole while grooming them. The staff was shocked and astounded.
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Maria Saegebarth, the spokesperson of Leipzig Zoo, stated that Kigali displayed no unusual behavior before eating her cubs. She had also been eating normally throughout the day. Unfortunately, it now cannot be determined whether the cubs were ill or not, which may have triggered her actions, through an autopsy because the lioness ate them in their entirety. In a Facebook post, the zoo announced the deaths of the cubs. According to them, Kigali would soon be returned from a maternal area and be reunited with the cubs’ father, Majo.
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According to CNN, an American news-based pay television channel, Maren Huck, a lecturer in animal behavioral ecology at the University of Derby in the UK, stated that situations like this usually happen in captivity. First-time mothers in the animal kingdom are more likely to eat their infants. "If the cubs themselves behave strangely, that might be a reason for animals to eat their offspring. If their infant doesn't respond as an infant should do, it's not recognized as an infant and therefore the maternal instinct doesn't kick in."
Huck also explained that the death of the cubs does not necessarily indicate animal welfare issues at Leipzig Zoo.