Moxy, The Honolulu Zoo’s female lioness, gave birth to three lively cubs on Saturday evening, December 15. Mammal Specialist Robert Porec said, "The birth went smoothly. The lioness and her cubs will remain in their birthing quarters for the near future."
Although Moxy is proving to be a very good mom, the family is being closely monitored by the zoo's veterinary staff -- and the babies are thriving. Last week, keepers were able to separate Moxy from her cubs so they could clean the pen, weigh the cubs and determine their sex -- a process which mom accepted calmly.
The cubs’ weights were 7.36 lbs. (3.34 kg) for the first born, a female, 8.11 lbs. (3.68 kg) for the male, and 6.92 lbs. (3.14 kg) for the third born, another female. They will receive their first set of vaccinations at 4 weeks of age, then again at 6 and 12 weeks. After completing their inoculations and upon the approval of Dr Ben Okimoto, Zoo Veterinarian, they will be introduced to their exhibit (estimated to be in Mid-March).
These are Transvaal Lions (Panthera leo krugeri), also known as the Southeast Lion, a subspecies named after the Transvaal region in South Africa where they can be found. Ekundu, the father, was born at the San Diego Safari Park in California, and Moxy was born at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The parents are at the Honolulu Zoo on a breeding loan.
Here is a video of the cubs nursing, taken on January 9, from the Zoo's closed circuit camera behind the scenes.