Noel was born on a cold and blustery day in late December 2011. Since her name is Noel, can you guess which day that was? No, it wasn’t Pan American Airlines Day (although that is a good guess). Noel was born on Christmas Day!
CARE typically does not allow breeding, but certain allowances (such as breeding for the purposes of research that could potentially benefit the entire species) will be made if we feel it is important enough. Noel was specifically bred at CARE from Sampson and Layla as a part of a proposed research project that would potentially determine the cause of the cause of deadly vitamin deficiencies observed in African lions. Noel and her siblings would provide comparative data that could unlock the cause of this debilitating condition. Sadly, the two other baby lions who shared the womb with Noel didn’t survive the birthing process. This rendered the research project, which hinged on comparison and control from birth, impossible to complete. Worse, it left Noel without any of her own kind to grow up with Since lions, by their very nature are social animals, we knew this would prove to be problematic.
The CARE staff was left with a conundrum. We had a new mouth to feed, a research study which had to be abandoned before it could begin, and the very real problem that little Noel would need lion companionship when she rapidly outgrew her human caretakers in a matter of months. Enter a little male lion named Mwali who needed a place to call home!