Singapore Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its first lion cub born via artificial insemination.
But baby Simba will never get to meet his father Mufasa, because the geriatric lion was not revived after the insemination procedure.
Simba is the late Mufasa’s only son, as the older cat’s aggression meant he never successfully mated. Instead, the zoo decided to try to continue his bloodline through the rarely-used process.
According to a spokesman, his semen was collected by what the zoo described as “electro-ejaculation” for artificial insemination.
After that, frail Mufasa – who, at 20, had outlived his wild siblings by six to 10 years – had to be euthanized. According to the zoo, Mufasa’s genes – now passed on to Simba – will be of “high value in contributing to the genetic diversity and sustainability of African lion populations in zoological institutions.”
The species is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.