Four lion cubs born at the National Zoo in Washington

Four lion cubs were born at the National Zoo in Washington on Sunday, less than two weeks after the first lion cubs born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore made their public debut.

The cubs, who have not yet been named, were born to 9-year-old African lion Shera after a seven-hour delivery, National Zoo officials said. The cubs and their mother appear to be healthy, and zoo staff are giving them space to bond.

The litter was Shera's second and the fifth for the cubs' father, 8-year-old Luke. Zoo officials said that in the wild, it can take up to six weeks for a mother to introduce her cubs to the rest of the pride, and that the cubs will likely be presented to the public in early summer. With the birth of the litter, the National Zoo now has nine lions.

Zoo staff watched the birth on a closed-circuit camera. The first cub was born at 8:27 a.m., the second at 9:03 a.m., the third at 11:09 a.m. and the fourth at 3:17 p.m.

Thousands flocked to the Maryland Zoo last month to get a glimpse of Luke and Leia, the first lion cubs to be born there. Their mother, Badu, died from complications a few days after giving birth in October, and two more cubs in the litter were stillborn. The Maryland Zoo also has another lion cub, Zuri, from the zoo in Miami, and adult lions Cuma and Hassan.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad