Four lion cubs born at National Zoo

Wednesday, September 1, 2010; C12

Zoo welcomes birth of four lion cubs

-- Shera, a 5-year-old lion at the National Zoo, gave birth to her first set of cubs Tuesday. The litter of four cubs gives the zoo another chance to build a pride of lions, an effort that was set back in May, when Shera's sister, Nababiep, gave birth to a male cub that died a few days after birth.

Shera's cubs "symbolize hope for the zoo," said zoo director Dennis Kelly.

It has been many years since the zoo has had the right combination of lions to produce cubs. In the wild, lions live in groups of mostly females and offspring, with a few adult males.

The father of Shera's cubs is 4-year-old Luke, who was also the father of Nababiep's cub. Nababiep appears to be pregnant again as well and could give birth within weeks. If all goes well, the cubs will be introduced to the public in the late fall.

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