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Meet Lion Cubs Mtai and Serafina


Female African lion “Cabara,” age 6, gave birth to four cubs on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2012, at the Saint Louis Zoo. Unfortunately, two of the cubs born did not survive because Cabara was unable to produce milk to feed them. Zoo staff intervened, and the two surviving female cubs are currently being hand-reared by staff in a behind-the-scenes nursery at the Children’s Zoo.

“In the wild, it is not uncommon for lion mothers to rear fewer than fifty percent of the cubs born in a litter,” says Steve Bircher, curator of mammals/carnivores at the Saint Louis Zoo. “The cubs are growing rapidly and appear to be healthy.”



Photo credits: Rachael Macy/Saint Louis Zoo

The cubs’ names are “Mtai” (pronounced Muh-TIE), after a village in Tanzania, and “Serafina,” which means “angel” in African Swahili. At six weeks, they are eating some meat and drinking formula from bottles.