Zari’s three cubs, born on Monday at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, are doing well! The cubs are enthusiastically nursing, one of many first big milestones. Watch along as Zari nurtures her cubs, providing all the nourishment they need to grow into strong lions!
Zari’s maternal instincts kicked right in with the arrival of cubs! Here, she grooms her precious newborns to keep them clean and healthy and promotes bonding.
Let's talk about dens! In the wild, female lions separate from the pride to give birth in small hidden dens, usually in vegetation, caves, or other secluded areas. This is a natural instinct to protect the cubs. Pepper Family Wildlife Center, which opened in 2021, has several spaces behind the scenes including one area with a den box.
Before she gave birth, Zari separated herself from the pride and went straight to the den box. Zari has access to several other areas of the habitat and continues to choose to be in the den box with the cubs. Zari can also choose to see the rest of the pride. As the cubs become more independent in the coming days and weeks, we suspect Zari may choose to start spending more time coming and going from the den.