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It’s a strange feeling looking at the cute lion cubs as they run about and explore their new home, all the while knowing a protective (if not overprotective) mother is never far away.

“Mum’s always keeping an eye on them,” zookeeper Chad Staples said.

“They’re very curious about people, so you find them doing a lot of people-watching and interacting with visitors to the zoo.

“People are just loving that!”

Born in January, Baako and Evelyn’s clubs are among the key attractions at Mogo Wildlife Park on the NSW South Coast, which is also home to gorillas, rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras, meerkats, tigers and more animals native to Australia and from far-away lands.

Like young children, two young lion cubs are finding their feet and busy exploring the world around them under the watchful eye of mum and dad.

Hunter Valley Wildlife Park zookeeper Chad Staples has a clear favourite when it comes to the creatures in his care.

Despite there being anywhere between 300 and 600 at the Nulkaba address at any given season, the park boss has a particular fondness for Maji, the four-year-old lioness.

Chad hand-reared Maji when her mum didn’t survive the birth.

Since then, the pair have formed a unique bond that visitors to the park are sure to pick up on.

Maji is one of four lions in residence at the popular, picturesque park.

Spanning more than 10-acres, the park that is so much more than a zoo, is home to a number of iconic species from around the world, some notable Australian creatures and diverse birdlife.

Move over Taylor Swift, Australia is going gaga over a new celebrity that has captured hearts after a traumatic birth led to him being adopted by his furry aunt.

Step aside Taylor Swift, Australia has a new celebrity who is stealing everyone’s hearts.

Swift famously put Sydney Zoo in the spotlight during her recent stay, but now it’s Mogo Zoo’s newest attraction, baby gorilla Kaius, grabbing all the headlines.

Thousands of eager fans have come through the gates in recent months just to get a glimpse, some visitors even shedding a few tears at the sight of the 17 month old primate.

The cute gorilla has made his mark at Mogo Zoo on the NSW south coast, since moving in with the other gorillas in August last year.

The latest addition to the zebra herd at a New South Wales zoo is settling in well after a “perfect birth”, a keeper says.

Subira was born to mother Katali late last month at Mogo Wildlife Park, on the state’s South Coast.

He is the first foal sired by a stallion introduced at the park 18 months ago and zookeeper Chad Staples says the park’s population is starting to resemble what can be seen in the wilds of Africa.

“There aren’t that many zebras in Australia,” he said.

Mr Staples said Subira – a Swahili word for “patience” – was born without human assistance in the manner that would be expected in a zebra’s natural habitat.

“Mares give birth at night,” he said.

“We get the real excitement in the morning seeing this beautiful foal with mum, already.

“It’s a very secretive process.

Not only are they the tallest animal in Africa, they’re the tallest in the world and now a new experience offers the chance to get up close and personal with the magnificent giraffe, right here in the Hunter

Just in time for the school holidays, Hunter Valley Wildlife Park has launched a brand new Wildlife Sunrise experience, where guests have a chance to hand feed one of the park’s three giraffes; Sophie, Shingo or Kebibi.

Armed with their favourite food; acacia leaves or pellets, guests will be face-to-face with a giraffe and probably get their hand slobbered on in the feeding process, but that’s all part of the fun.

The experience also includes a guided keeper tour, a delicious breakfast (for the humans), animal feed bags and a picture of the giraffe encounter.

Australian Wildlife Parks marketing director Sara Ang said she’s thrilled to bring this experience to the Hunter.

Mogo Wildlife Park director Chad Staples watched on like a proud parent on the first day of school as the young gorilla he has hand-raised for 11 months was finally reintroduced to his primate family.

Mr Staples became the surrogate father of Kaius the gorilla after complications with the mother at birth at the wildlife park in south-east NSW.

Neonatal caregivers, nurses, midwives, and doctors were rushed in to save Kaius after the young gorilla developed sepsis pneumonia just hours after being born.

Kaius moved into Mr Staples’ bedroom while on life support, and the pair were inseparable for the next seven months.

“It’s been stressful, rewarding, amazing, it was all encompassing. He absolutely took over my life,” Mr Staples said.

The wildlife director, who has previously hand-raised a young lion cub, became a fill-in parent, bottle-feeding Kaius every two hours and changing his nappies.

Mr Staples said this process was more difficult than with human toddlers because Kaius used his hands and feet to pull off the nappy.

Together they ticked off important milestones like progressing to solid food and learning to crawl, then walk, then climb.

Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank say they are ‘honoured’ to have had two koala joeys named after them at a Sydney wildlife park.

The two joeys, whose names were announced as Eugenie and Jack today, were born at Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park at the start of the year to first time dad Archer and mum Brooklyn.

Sharing a ‘cheeky’ video of Eugenie the koala winking to her Instagram page, the Princess wrote: ‘These two little baby koalas are living safely at Featherdale Wildlife Park in a wonderful habitat after the devastating bushfires earlier this year and we are honoured that they have been named after Jack and I.’

The royal added: ‘So proud to be a part of rebuilding and supporting these sanctuaries.’

A 19-year-old Princess Eugenie visited the wildlife park in 2009 during her gap year and she’s said to have been a ‘huge supporter ever since’.

A team of neonatal caregivers on the New South Wales South Coast has taken time out from treating human patients to save the life of a baby gorilla born 10 days ago at the Mogo Wildlife Park

Broulee GP Lisa Hyde said that it was “the experience of a lifetime” to help care for the infant after she received the call for help last Sunday.

“It was excitement, disbelief and sadness that the little fella was in that situation,” she said.

“But after a few minutes we sort of kicked into gear and went, ‘we’ll do this how we normally do, run it how we would normally run it’.”

Zookeeper Chad Staples said the baby boy and his mum were stable after surviving a traumatic first few days.

“It’s been very emotional. He’s such an amazing, beautiful little creature,” he said.

Over the past two decades, Australia’s koala population has almost halved – with the species now being classified as endangered.

But while the furry marsupial is one of the main drawcards for people who holiday Down Under, many don’t realise just how close they are to extinction.

Today is ‘Save the Koala Day’ and Featherdale Wildlife Park’s Chad Staples said habitat is one of the main reasons the koala population is struggling to survive.

“Unfortunately koalas are primarily found on the east coast which is where we all want to live and we haven’t quite figured out how to have population growth yet still maintain habitat,” Chad told Today Extra.

With the bushfires of the past couple of years on top of urban development, some might suggest just re-homing impacted koalas elsewhere.

But Chad said people don’t realise this can be just as dangerous for them.

“You can’t just move a koala from one section to another,” he said.