KEEPERS at West Midland Safari Park have let the cat out of the bag by announcing the arrival of seven African lion cubs.

After a gestation period of around four months, ten-year-old Scar gave birth to three cubs on August 27, the second litter of four cubs following three weeks later on September 17, for seven-year-old Amber.

Now, with both sets of cubs around four months old, the furry friends are almost ready to meet the public.

Keepers suspected that the two females might be expecting after witnessing mating behaviour with dominant male, five-year-old Tsavo, who arrived at the Park with his two brothers in 2016.

Tsavo is dad to both sets of cubs, making the seven adorable youngsters half-siblings.

As with all animals born at the Park last year, keepers have chosen names for the cubs beginning with the letter ‘H’.

Scar’s cubs have been called Hunter, Hercules and Hernatty - two males and a female - whilst Amber’s are named Harabi, Hodge, Havoc and Hira - three males and a female.

Head keeper of carnivores, Chris Hodgkins, said: “We are so excited to share our news about our latest arrivals. As both Scar and Amber are first-time mums, we wanted to disturb them as little as possible, so this has meant keeping them away from the rest of the pride in a special area of our lion house.

"Now both sets of cubs have had all their vaccinations and have been introduced to each other, as well as some of the pride, they are almost ready to meet the public, from February half term.”

He added: “Both mums gave birth to their litters with no struggles and have proven to be excellent mothers. We left them alone for the first few days, checking on them occasionally from a distance to make sure they were moving around and feeding well.

"Once the cubs became a bit more active, we started to introduce them to the different areas of the lion house, whilst the rest of the pride were out on the Safari.

"This gets them used to the different textures, sights and smells and it was great fun watching them tentatively take their first steps in the new areas.

“Once both sets of cubs had their vaccinations and health checks at eight weeks and twelve weeks old, we mixed the mothers and cubs together.

"The cubs instantly started playing together, chasing each other around and jumping all over both mums. They have been inseparable ever since and we often find them all cosied up together or playing.”

Over the next few weeks, keepers will start to introduce the cubs to the rest of the pride, including dad, Tsavo and uncles Jilani and Jengo. From February half term, guests will be able to get their first glimpses of the fearsome felines, on the drive-through safari.

West Midland Safari Park is open every weekend during the winter and opens daily for the summer season from February 15.