OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is welcoming four adorable new additions.
On Friday, the zoo announced the birth of four African lion cubs.
Organizers say Oklahoma City Zoo’s lioness Dunia gave birth to her first litter of cubs; three females and one male.
The zoo says it has been 15 years since the last litter of African lion cubs was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
“We are incredibly excited to share the news about the recent additions to our African lion pride,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “Throughout her pregnancy, birth and now care of these four cubs, Dunia has been amazing and is showing excellent maternal care. This birth is vital to the African lion population and has been a culmination of years of hard work, dedication and commitment by the Oklahoma City Zoo and its supporters, the African Lion SSP and the Zoo’s carnivore care team. We cannot wait to watch these cubs grow up and become fan favorites for years to come.”
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for African lions made the recommendation for Dunia to breed with male lion, Hubert.
The zoo’s veterinary care team performed wellness exams on the cubs. Each cub currently weighs 2 to 2.5 pounds and they have opened their eyes.
The quadruplets will remain away from public view until they are old enough to receive their first round of vaccinations and can safely navigate the outdoor habitat.
African lions are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with wild populations decreasing due to illegal hunting, habitat loss, loss of food sources, and conflict with humans.
It is estimated that the total population of lions in Africa is less than 40,000 mature individuals.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, at $12 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over, and free for children under 3.