The cutest success story is truly making us smile! The world’s first ever test tube lions are a major success. Lion cubs Victor and Isabel were born only five weeks ago in South Africa, and have been deemed as “healthy and normal”.
This test tube phenomenon is creating massive strides in raising hopes that other big cats including species such as tigers and snow leopards could be in fact saved from extinction. A lioness gave birth to cubs Victor and Isabel back in August 2018, after she was artificially impregnated with sperm from a healthy lion. The incredible process was finally successful after 18 grueling months of intensive trials.
Recent photos of Victor and Isabel were released online from the Ukutula Lodge and Conservation Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, where the two cubs are happily spending their time. The two were photographed playing adorably with each other and resting beneath a tree. According to DailyMail, Lions are actually extinct in nearly 26 African countries, all while numbers of these beautiful creatures in the wild of plummeted up to 43 percent over the last two decades, with only 20,000 left!
The University of Pretoria released a statement following the images, saying: “These are the first ever lion cubs to be born by means of artificial insemination – the first such pair anywhere in the world”, they said. The director of the university’s mammal research institute, Andre Ganswindt, claims that this breakthrough process can easily be repeated, and hopes that the technique can be used in order to save countless other endangered big cats. “If we are not doing something about it, they will face extinction”, Ganswindt said.
He also added how this method is more convenient in regards to a lioness getting pregnant. Rather than having to relocate a male lion, they can simply take a sample of their sperm, and now transport it to a lioness in order to begin the process of insemination.
This incredible process is not only saving animals from extinction, but also allowing them to safely reproduce in ways that have never been done before. The research team at the Pretoria Conservation Centre will continue to find easier ways to safely decrease the levels of extinction when it comes to our fluffy friends.