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Four Little Lion Cubs Born at Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland lion cubs

Three-year-old South African mama Lion Adia gave birth to four cubs at night on November 8 at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, after a gestation period of 109 days. This is big news because it's the zoo's first newborn Lion cubs in 20 years!  This is the first litter for Aida and 13-year-old father Hubert too. 

The babies are with Mom in an off-view maternity den where they can do that important, ealry bonding in a hushed environment. Expert keepers and veterinarian staff are closely monitoring the litter via an internal web cam to ensure Adia is providing excellent maternal care and the cubs are properly nursing.The first 48 to 72 hours after a birth are critical, particularly among mammals. Adia is a first-time mother so naturally there is concern, but we are cautiously optimistic she will instinctively provide attentive maternal care to her cubs. 

Airal view of lion cubs

Photo Credit: Woodland Park Zoo

Lions are born blind and they’ll begin to open their eyes within a week or two after birth. As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the zoo’s thousand-plus animals, zoo veterinarians will perform health checkups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.

The genders of the cubs are not yet known, but look for that news, and more pictures and video in future updates. Until then, watch the first video the zoo has shared with the public below. 

Read more after the fold:

Adia arrived in 2010 from Ohio’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium under a breeding recommendation by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African lions. The complex system of SSPs matches animals in North American zoos based on genetic diversity and demographic stability.

Matchmaking efforts also take into consideration the behavior and personality of animals, and Woodland Park Zoo was very fortunate that there was a mutual attraction between Adia and Hubert. They wouldn’t have hit it off without the many hours of time and care their keepers invested into the match, ensuring a successful introduction between the two.These cubs are a wonderful testament to their dedication.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Lions belong to the South African subspecies (Panthera leo krugeri). A 13-year-old female lion named Kalisa also lives at the zoo’s award-winning African Savanna. Known as the Transvaal lion, it ranges in Southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands. These lions range in weight from 260 to 400 pounds.

To minimize disturbance to the newborns, the other two adult lions are also indoors and may not be on public exhibit throughout the weekend. The cubs will remain off-exhibit with their mother for some time as they grow and bond. They will be out for public viewing when they are a bit older and demonstrate good mobility skills, and when outdoor temperatures reach a minimum of 50 degrees.