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.
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.