Early this morning our zoo vet Henk Luten applied vasectomy to an 11-year-old male lion. The lion had fathered five healthy cubs in 2020 (twins with one lioness, and triplets with an other lioness), so its genetic material is well-spread with regard to the European population of lions in zoos.
Five healthy cubs at Royal Burgers' Zoo
On 27th July 2020, one of the lionesses in Arnhem gave birth to twins. On 26th November 2020, an other lioness was blessed with triplets. The adult male fathered all five cubs (one male and four females). The cubs will remain in the Arnhem lion pride for the years to come. In total, eight lions roam the vast outdoor enclosure at Royal Burgers' Zoo
No castration, but vasectomy
The zoo vet did not choose for castration, but favoured vasectomy. In case of castration, both testes are removed. In case of vasectomy, vas deferens are interrupted. When a male lion is castrated, very often it loses its manes as well.
Successfull breeding in zoos, decline in the wild
Lions breed very successfully in European zoos, whereas in nature, the number of lions drop quite dramatically. WWF states that the lion population in the wild most likely decreased by as much as fourthy percent in the last decades. Loss of habitat, poaching, illegal hunting and the use of lion body parts in traditional Asian medicines all play a role in this decline.