PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Zoo staff say they think a 4-day-old lion cub that had to be euthanized was inadvertently injured shortly after birth by its first-time mother.
The zoo said Friday that the injured cub was the first to be born on Monday and its arrival seemed to catch its mother, Kya, by surprise. She was outside her den when it arrived and immediately picked the cub up in her mouth and carried it inside, where three more cubs were born.
Zoo vets say she apparently clamped her jaws too tightly on the cub, severing its left rear thigh muscles and damaging a femoral vein and artery. They say the injured tissue became infected and the attentive mom's grooming of the wound caused more damage.
Staffers monitoring the cubs by surveillance camera didn't notice a problem until Thursday evening when one cub wasn't moving. Vet staff found the injury, determined the wound was untreatable and euthanized the cub.
The other three cubs appear healthy and have been reunited with Kya. The zoo said earlier that the lioness has been an "excellent and attentive" mother so far.