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It’s The Mane Event: Lion Cubs Debut At Taronga Zoo Sydney!

Taronga Zoo Sydney is brimming with pride to announce the public debut of five beautiful Lion cubs at its iconic African Savannah. The cubs, who are now 12 weeks old, have well and truly found their paws and are ready for a summer of fun as they grow in confidence.

The five cubs were born to experienced mum Maya and first-time dad Ato in August and are now weighing in between 11-13kg each. The youngsters have now been named, with the public coming onboard to name one male cub Khari meaning ‘like a king’ in Swahili while the other was named Luzuko, meaning ‘glory’ which is of South African origin and was picked by Taronga’s carnivore keepers.

The Swahili names of Malika, Zuri and Ayanna were selected for the three female cubs and were chosen by generous Zoo supporters. Malika means ‘like a queen’, Zuri means ‘beautiful’ and Ayanna means ‘beautiful flower’. All three names were chosen in recognition of the African Lion’s native homeland.

Carnivore Unit Supervisor Louise Ginman said like all youngsters, the cubs are growing at a rapid rate: “It’s been such an honour to watch these five precious Lion cubs as they develop their own unique personalities. It has been over 18 years since we’ve heard the pitter-patter of Lion cub paws at Taronga Zoo and it the first time ever we have had a full pride in the new African Savannah,” said Ginman.

“The cubs have changed so much over the course of their little lives. Our guests are going to be in for a real treat every time they come to visit and see the cubs – with so many milestones on the horizon, no two visits will be the same,” said Ginman.

Just like any newborns, the cubs have bursts of activity followed by napping, cuddling up with one another, and staying close to mum until they find their confidence. For this reason, mum and cubs will only have access to this exhibit for certain periods of the day, which may differ daily to allow for rest and family bonding.

In preparation for their move into the main exhibit, the cubs have been spending more time in their holding yard, where they have learnt important Lion behaviours like climbing and foraging, which the public has been able to watch from afar via Taronga TV’s cub cam.   

Taronga CEO Cam Kerr AO said: “Cub Cam was such an incredible initiative and gave our community a sneak peek into the lives of the cubs from the very beginning and importantly, an opportunity to support lions in the wild.

“Now that Sydney has reopened, we’re so excited to welcome back our guests and Zoo Friends to meet these new arrivals and to connect with wildlife. As Sydney’s only not-for-profit zoo, every time you visit, you support us to deliver vital conservation work both here in Australia and around the globe,” said Kerr.  

With a brand-new pride taking their place, it’s the perfect time to sign up for an all-new Zoo Friends Family Flex membership. With 365 days of unlimited Zoo entry, Zoo Friends will be able to keep up the cubs all year long as they grow, play, tumble, find their paws and even learn to climb. Just like the cubs who keep their mum and dad in check, the all-new Zoo Friends Family Flex membership means the kids are in charge.

The Zoo Friends Family Flex membership allows any nominated adult to accompany the kids on their adventures, which means whether it's mum, dad, grandparents, aunts or uncles, everyone gets a chance to explore!

Taronga Zoo proudly accepts Dine and Discover NSW vouchers, which can be used for a discount of $25 on day tickets and Zoo Friends memberships.

Zoo Friends Annual Membership starts at $99 for individuals, or $130 for the all-new Family Flex that permits entry for 1 adult and kids under 16 from their household. For more information or to register please visit