Lion cubs born in Chile after world first veterinary procedure

In a world first, two lion cubs are born in a Chile zoo after a successful reversed vasectomy. PHOTO: REUTERS

SANTIAGO (REUTERS) - Two baby lion cubs were presented to the public at a zoo in Chile on Thursday (May 4), born after a pioneering veterinary procedure that involved a reversed vasectomy of their father.

The cubs' mother Masai became pregnant after the father Maucho underwent the procedure, which vets at Buin Zoo in the suburbs of Santiago said took months of planning and a five-hour operation.

Maucho the lion, Masai the lioness and their two cubs. PHOTO: AFP

Both parents had been rescued from circuses.

"This is the first successful reversal of a lion vasectomy reported in the world," said urology specialist Marcelo Marconi, who joined the zoo vet team to lead the procedure.

"It gives a way of preserving and maintaining a species in a zoo."

The procedure could be copied by other places around the world that have lions in captivity, the zoo said.

Maucho greeting one of his cubs in the Buin zoo, 40 km south of Santiago, Chile. PHOTO: AFP

One of the cubs, which was born around three months ago, is named Niara, and the other is yet to be named. Both are female.