DENVER — Denver Zoo is celebrating the arrival of two African lion cubs born there last week.
The pair of baby lions were born at the zoo on April 23 to mom, Kamara, 4, and dad, Tobias, 4. Animal care staff said both mom and her cubs are healthy and bonding behind the scenes in Benson Predator Ridge.
The cubs join the rest of the zoo's pride, which includes unrelated female Sabi, 7, Kamara's mom, Neilah, 7, and their half-brother Tatu who was born at the zoo last July.
The zoo said the gender of the cubs has not yet been determined.
“We are watching Kamara closely to make sure she’s showing appropriate maternal behaviors, like nursing and grooming,” said Assistant Curator of Predators Matt Lenyo, “She learned a lot by watching Neliah and interacting with Tatu last year, which really prepared her to be a mom. We’re seeing a lot of positive signs that things are going well, and will continue to keep a close eye on her and the cubs in these critical first days and weeks.”
Kamara and her cubs will keep a low profile over the next two months to give them time to bond before they are gradually introduced to the rest of the pride, Denver Zoo said.
During that time, the cubs will primarily stay in their den box, which zoo staff created to mimic the space Kamara would seek out to give birth in the wild.
The zoo said Kamara will still have access to other holding areas behind the scenes, but that the den box gives her a sense of security between her and her cubs.
According to Denver Zoo, half of Africa's lions have disappeared in the past 25 years as the species faces growing threats from poaching, loss of prey and habitat destruction.
“Kamara and Tobias were a very genetically-valuable match,” said General Curator Emily Insalaco. “And these cubs are an important contribution to the species’ population in AZA facilities, and will help inspire visitors to learn more about their wild cousins.”
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