Bear Path Acres gets lion cubs

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Debbie Jeter, chief executive officer and founder of Bear Path Acres, holds lion cubs Noah and Havannah at a recent viewing at East Pavilion. ANDREW FAISON/TIDEWATER NEWS



FRANKLIN—Debbie Jeter has fulfilled a promise to her mother, who passed in 2007.

“My mother’s two favorite animals were the elephant and a male lion,” said Jeter, chief executive officer and founder of Bear Path Acres in Southampton County. “I told her I could not get an elephant but one day I would get a male lion.”

She recently received two 5-week-old African lion cubs for the Route 258 animal education center. Named Noah and Havannah, the cubs were born in Maine on Sept. 17 and bred specifically for Jeter and Bear Path acres. They will grow to be 265 to 420 pounds.

Saturday, Nov. 10, the non-profit will open its doors out of season for to introduce the cubs. The event will be known as Meet Mufasa’s Pride.

Family membership holders can see the cubs from 10 a.m. to noon before the general public will be allowed in from 2 to 5 p.m.

“I don’t think it’s really come to full perspective yet,” said Jeter. “They are so little and delicate. Watching them learn to take their first steps and cutting their first teeth, it’s just been amazing.”

The lion is the only big cat that will form a lifetime bond, Jeter said.

“I look forward to knowing that for the rest of my life they will always consider me their mom,” said Jeter.

Bear Path was recently named as an environmental education leader and asked to present at the 2012 Virginian Environmental Education Conference on the topic of Wildlife Biodiversity and Reaching Today’s Children.

“I think it’s fantastic, to be up there teaching other environmental educators,” Jeter said. “It’s a high honor for the state to recognize you as a leader in environmental education.”