Denver Zoo Announces Birth of Lion Cubs


Two African Lion cubs were born, at Denver Zoo, on September 10 to lioness Neliah. The brother and sister are currently with their mother, behind the scenes, in the Zoo's Benson Predator Ridge exhibit. Zookeepers are monitoring the family via a closed circuit camera and giving them space during this critical bonding period. They will remain off exhibit during this time.

"This is the first time we've had lion cubs at Denver Zoo since 2006, and we are thrilled," says Denver Zoo Vice President of Animal Care Hollie Colahan. 


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4_Father 'Sango'_oPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo (Image 3: Mom 'Neliah'; Image 4: Dad 'Sango')

The cubs were born in the early morning to parents Neliah and Sango, and, so far, mother and cubs are doing great. Zookeepers say they are precocious, moving around frequently, vocalizing and naturally competing when trying to nurse at the same time. Neliah, a first-time mother, has done a wonderful job. Keepers say she is very calm and attentive, regularly grooming the two and allowing them to nurse.

Neliah arrived from Florida's Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in November of last year. The 3-year-old joined the Zoo's young lion pride, with male Sango and female Sabi, both also 3-years-old. Neliah was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on June 30, 2012 and arrived at Denver Zoo through a recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Sango, the Zoo's only adult male lion, was born on July 28, 2012 at Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas, and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2013. The cubs are his first offspring, as well.

African Lion cubs are born after a relatively short gestation period of between 100 and 110 days, and they come into the world with spotted coats and their eyes closed. Lionesses normally give birth to between two and four cubs. For the first two months, the cubs drink only their mother's milk and are fully weaned by the time they are seven months old.

The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. The commonly used term African Lion collectively denotes the several subspecies found in Africa. With some males exceeding 550 lbs. (250 kg) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. The lion is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, having seen a major population decline in its African range of 30-50% per two decades during the second half of the 20th century.

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Lion Cubs Are the ‘Pride’ of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


Three African Lion cubs are the “pride” of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado! The two boys and their sister were born June 25 to mom, Lomela, and dad, Abuto. 

The Zoo recently held a naming contest, for the furry trio, and asked for help from their fans and supporters. Names were submitted via facebook and the Zoo’s website. The Zoo will soon make a formal announcement on the decided-upon names. 

Keepers say "Boy #1" (Image 1) takes after his grandfather, Elson. He’s the darkest in color, and he’s the biggest of the cubs. "Boy #2" (Image 2) is described as being 'really laid back'. Keepers say the Girl is the bravest (Image 3) and takes after her daddy, Abuto. She’s said to be the first to explore new toys and spaces.


3_11224555_10153647446386019_5729344708408349311_oPhoto Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

ZooBorns helped spread the Zoo’s excitement over the cub’s births and featured the trio in early July:

There was much anticipation at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, prior to the arrival of the healthy trio of cubs. Lions are pregnant for an average of 110 days. Zoo staff set up a camera system weeks prior to the birth, so they could monitor Lomela in two different nesting locations. Animal Keepers were able to observe the birth and keep close tabs on mom and cubs without disturbing them. The Zoo set up a second video camera monitor above the Lion Relaxation Room window, so guests could see the new additions to the Lion pride.

Abuto was specifically chosen to breed with Lomela because of their genetic compatibility. The breeding program is known within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as a Species Survival Plan, or SSP. The breeding of the Zoo’s Lions is important to the SSP and to the zoo. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s hope is that guests will fall in love with their pride and fight to help save their wild counterparts.

“These cubs are truly miracle babies,” Amy Schilz, Lead Giraffe/Lion Keeper, said. “We weren’t sure whether Lomela would be able to conceive.”

African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 42%, in the last 21 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.


The cub's mother, Lomela:


The father of the trio, Abuto:


Three New Boys for Zoo Basel’s Lion Pride

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The pride of African Lions, at Zoo Basel, has increased by three this summer. On May 28, Okoa gave birth to two male cubs, and on June 15, Uma delivered another male cub. The two lionesses’ gave birth to their young in the same area and are raising them together. Mbali is father to all three boys and has proven a playful participant in their upbringing. 



4_11411892_892164597487948_7789860505042479653_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Basel

African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 30-50%, in the last 20 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.

Zoo Basel supports the Big Life Foundation, which works in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem in Kenya to protect the Lions. The Zoo is also a participant in the EAZA Endangered Species Breeding Programme for African Lions.

More incredible pics, below the fold!

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Lion Cubs Show Their Playful Side

11705136_10153476435870908_2892998893198656213_nFour Lion cubs born June 8 at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari are showing off their playful side!

11754235_10153476435930908_4057571369824301940_nPhoto Credit:  Wildlife Safari

The cubs, three male and one female, have already more than doubled their birth weight, a sign that they are being well cared for by their one-year-old mother, Serafina.

Zoo keepers expect the cubs to emerge from their den in a few weeks, and the public will get a chance to see them in person at that time.

Once widespread across much of Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, Lions now live in fragmented populations in eastern and southern Africa.  Currently listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Lion populations are rapidly decreasing, with losses estimated at 30-50% every 20 years in the latter half of the 20th century. 

Conservation organizations are using a variety of tactics to support the world’s wild Lions, including managed zoo breeding through the Species Survival Plan, protection of livestock to reduce retaliatory killings, and working with local people to protect lions through ecotourism.  

Lion Cubs' First Adventure at Lee Richardson Zoo


Five African Lion cubs were born, May 17, at Lee Richardson Zoo, in Garden City, Kansas.

The cubs (four boys and one girl) are the second litter for mom, Amali, and dad, Razi.  Amali was born at Lee Richardson Zoo on August 24, 2005. Razi arrived in Garden City in December 2007, at 16 months of age, from the Denver Zoo.



4_IMG_5696Photo Credits: Lee Richardson Zoo

Recently, on July 7, the five cubs were allowed out for their first adventures into their enclosure with the adoring public present.  Momma lioness, Amali, scanned the area with a watchful eye before letting them venture too far from the barn.  If they journeyed someplace in their habitat that she didn’t want them to go, she would give a quick snarl which brought them in line.  A train of cubs, that was quite adorable, formed as Amali guided her cubs around, while zoo guests watched the cubs’ antics from the viewing area. 

Not only did the cubs get to go exploring for all to see, but they also received their names.  Garden City residents and Lee Richardson Zoo fans put in a total of 581 votes towards the naming of the male cubs. The winning names were Kito, Bahati, Usiku, and Jasiri. 

Dad, Razi, chose the female’s name.  Three boxes were put out for him to select from.  Each held the same treat to remove any bias.  Between the red, green, and blue boxes, Razi chose the red--thereby dubbing his daughter Lulu.

Lee Richardson Zoo is proud to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to help maintain genetically diverse populations of vulnerable and endangered species in zoos.  Zoo lions serve as ambassadors for their counterparts, drawing attention to their issues in the wild.  Wild lion populations are dropping in numbers due to loss of habitat and introduced diseases such as canine distemper.  As part of the Species Survival Plan some of these cubs may eventually find homes at other facilities in the future. 











Three Lion Cubs Snuggle Up at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado is thrilled to welcome three roly-poly African Lion cubs! The cubs were born on June 25 to first-time parents Lomela, a seven-year-old female, and Abuto, a three-year-old male. Mom and the cubs—two males and one female—appear to be healthy and doing well.

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6 lionPhoto credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo



“Lomela and her babies are currently off-exhibit in the Lion building to give them time to bond and the cubs time to grow,” Dina Bredahl, animal care manager, said. “The cubs are nursing and are quite active for being less than a week old.”

Lions are pregnant for an average of 110 days. Zoo staff set up a camera system weeks prior to the birth, so they could monitor Lomela in two different nesting locations. Animal keepers were able to observe the birth, and can now keep close tabs on mom and cubs without disturbing them. The zoo set up a second video camera monitor above the Lion relaxation room window, so zoo guests can see the new additions to the lion pride.

Bredahl says, “If they remain healthy, as they appear to be now, we will take a hands-off approach and let Lomela take care of her babies without intervention.” In keeping with zoo tradition, the Lion cubs will not be named until they are at least 30 days old.

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First Vet Visit for Taronga's Lion Cub Trio

Lion cubs vaccination_SM_7.4.15 (38)Three Lion cubs born at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo on February 28 had their first veterinary visit this week, and all were pronounced healthy and strong.

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Lion cubs vaccination_SM_7.4.15 (30)Photo Credit:  Taronga Western Plains Zoo

The cubs, a male and two females, are the first Lion cubs ever born at the zoo, so the staff is especially thrilled with the new arrivals.  The cubs have not yet been named.  This is the first litter for mother Maya and father Lazarus.    

Maya and Lazarus were introduced in 2014 and breeding behavior was observed almost immediately after the introduction.  Staff monitored Maya carefully throughout her pregnancy, and keepers have been monitoring Maya and her cubs via a video camera in their den since birth, allowing them time to bond together on their own. 

The staff is taking a hands-off approach, allowing Maya to use her natural mothering instincts.

At their veterinary check-up this week, the cubs each weighed about 11 pounds, more than doubling their birth weights.  In the coming weeks, the cubs will begin to eat solid food and explore their surroundings. 

Wild African Lions are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with populations decreasing due to human-animal conflict, depleted prey base, and habitat loss.  

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Sacramento Zoo’s Lion Cubs Join Their Pride

Photos by Erik Bowker (2)ZooBorns introduced our readers to a trio of Lion Cubs, at the Sacramento Zoo, in November 2014.  In January, we provided a follow-up, with pictures from their first days on public exhibit. The cubs and their parents are back, and we have awesome new pics of their life as a family unit. 

Photos by Erik Bowker (3)

Photos by Erik Bowker

Photos by Erik Bowker (5)Photo Credits: Erik Bowker (Images 1,2,3,4,5); Andrys Basten (Images 6,7,8,9,10)

The African Lion family of five has been together for a month now, and the interactions between the cubs and parents are amazing to watch. Lions are different from other cat species, living in prides instead of being solitary in their behavior. The 16-week-old trio of cubs are learning from their parents, testing boundaries and sometimes being scolded by mom and dad. They are learning how to be one of the pride, what their roles are and the hierarchy between the cubs themselves.

The cubs also learn specific behaviors from the same sex parent. The male cub pays close attention to how his sire acts, and you'll often see them spending time alone together as the cub learns how to be a male lion. The same goes for the pair of female cubs and time with their mom.

Along with chewing on grass, sticks and sometimes each other, the cubs are nursing less and starting to eat whole food following mom's example at mealtime. This switch will help the cubs get the nutrition they need during their rapid growth spurts. 

The extra barrier in front of the lion exhibit, at the Zoo, has now been removed so visitors can enjoy a better view of the pride.

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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Omaha's Lion Cubs Play All Day

10865875_10152984218455851_3848871017403495324_oThree Lion cubs born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on November 21 recently showed off their playful side for the cameras. The two male cubs and one female cub were born to first-time mother Ahadi, who is providing good maternal care.   

10339467_10152984218105851_2433573802110591640_oPhoto Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Like all young Lions, the cubs spend their days nipping, pouncing, and practicing their hunting skills, to the delight of zoo visitors.  The cubs are artists, too – zoo keepers brushed blue and pink paint on the cubs’ feet, and the cubs walked across canvas boards to create one-of-a-kind paintings, which are sold in the zoo’s gift shop.

The cubs began life weighing just three to four pounds, but are growing fast.  Their 6-year-old mother Ahadi weighs 335 pounds, and their father, Mr. Big, is 15 years old and weighs 560 pounds.   

The breeding of Ahadi and Mr. Big was recommended by the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums as part of a nationwide effort to breed Lions of known lineage.

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Over the last 20 years the Lion population is estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African Lions live in sub-Saharan Africa with the majority living in eastern and southern Africa.

See more photos of the playful cubs below.

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It's a Girl, a Girl, and Another Girl for Cincinnati's Lion Family

Lioncubs-2_loThe Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s three lion cubs, born November 13 to three-year-old mother Imani and four-year-old father John, got their first health checkup last week.  The zoo’s veterinary staff and animal care team weighed the feisty felines, administered vaccines, and determined that all cubs are female!

10896179_10152957413230479_622878698910617856_oPhoto Credit:  Cinncinnati Zoo

Now that genders are known, the zoo is inviting fans to suggest names on the zoo’s Facebook and Twitter accounts using the tag #CZBGLionCubs. 

“The three cubs behaved just as you would expect during their first wellness physical.  Being handled by strange two-legged creatures who poked and examined them, all the while being separated from the safety and security of mom, the cubs hissed and tried to get away,” said Josh Charlton, Curator of Mammals.

According to vet staff, the cubs are healthy and right on track with each weighing about 20 pounds. The next big step will be to introduce John to Imani and the cubs.  “The introduction process has already begun.  John and the cubs have had positive interactions during several nose-to-nose ‘howdy mesh’ sessions in the past two weeks. We’ll continue to monitor their behavior and will put the pride together when the time is right,” said Charlton.

“African Lions in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. These cubs will be great ambassadors for their species and inspire people to act for wildlife,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “We look forward to seeing the whole Lion family out in the Africa exhibit together this spring.”

Imani was born at the Saint Louis Zoo and came to the Cincinnati Zoo as the result of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Lion Species Survival Program (SSP).  She was introduced to John earlier this year, and this is the first litter for both of them.

Lions are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the result of climate change, hunting, and habitat loss. Following a review of the best available scientific information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed listing the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency’s analysis found that Lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

See more photos of the female feline trio below.

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