- The previous known highest number of cubs in one litter was recorded in China only in July this year when a lioness gave birth to six cubs
- Named Pasha, she gave birth on November 4 on the outskirts of Harare
PUBLISHED: 13:56 GMT, 11 December 2012 | UPDATED: 21:26 GMT, 11 December 2012
Named Pasha, she gave birth on November 4 at the Lion and Cheetah Park on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe.
She had already given birth to two cubs earlier this year, and had been immediately put on the pill to control her breeding, so the arrival of eight cubs was a surprise to staff.
Lionesses are known to give birth to two cubs at a time and occasionally four and vets are now wondering if the contraceptive administered backfired.
Now after giving birth to such a sizeable brood Pasha is now receiving some extra nutrition to boost her health, reported New Zimbabwe.
Parks officials only announced the extraordinary birth this week and the young cubs are being looked after by staff at the zoo.
One zoo worker said: ‘We are suckling them from the bottle each time they wake up from sleep. They still need a lot of milk and warmth and we are keeping an eye on them every minute.’
Dr Hillary Madzikanda, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s head of scientific services said: ‘This has never happened in the history of lions, the world over. It is actually a world record.
‘Normally, you get two cubs per litter and getting four is even very lucky. This one is a record. It is an achievement for this lioness.
It is not rare for wildlife sanctuaries to administer contraceptive pills or injections as a birth control method.
In July, a lioness at a zoo in northeast China gave birth to a litter of six cubs, in what was hailed as a national record.