Three more lion cubs born at the zoo
Officials at the National Zoo announced that three lion cubs were born Wednesday morning -- just three weeks after another female lion at the zoo gave birth to a litter of four cubs.
The cubs were born to 6-year-old Nababiep, the older sister of Shera, who gave birth to four cubs last month. Because it is not unusual for the intervals between births to be several hours long, keepers are continuing to monitor Nababiep in case additional cubs are on their way.
Zoo officials said Nababiep appeared to go into labor at 1:20 a.m. Wednesday morning. The first cub was born about 8:04 a.m., the second at around 9:15 a.m. and the third about 10:30 a.m. Since then, all three cubs have been active and at least two appear to have nursed so far. (A short video clip of the newest cubs is available on the zoo’s YouTube page.)
The father of both sets of cubs is Luke, the zoo’s 4-year-old male lion. Zoo officials said Luke is also the "most genetically valuable lion" in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for African lions (Panthera leo).
“I am thrilled that everyone can watch the cubs in the very early days of their lives via our webcam,'' said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. "I know visitors to the National Zoo will be excited to follow the cubs as they interact with the adults, play with one another and grow up.”
Nababiep gave birth earlier this year to a single male cub, but it died just two days later after a straw seed became lodged in its lung, which led to pneumonia.
The zoo's lion cub webcam, which featured Shera and her four cubs, is not broadcasting images of the family because Shera and her cubs have been moved to a different den.
We don't yet have photos of the cubs, but thought you'd enjoy this photo of their
three four cousins.
(Photo: Mehgan Murphy)
More photos of the new cubs' cousins are here.
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