More lion cubs born at National Zoo

Shera the lion gave birth to four cubs on Aug. 30 and 31. Her sister, Naba, gave birth to three more on Sept. 22. The father of both litters is Luke.
By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 25, 2010; 2:29 AM

Born: the second litter of African lion cubs in less than three weeks at the National Zoo.

The mother, Nababiep, who is 6 years old, gave birth to three cubs between 8:04 a.m and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The mother and cubs are "doing well," the zoo said Friday in a statement.

The father was identified as Luke, who is 4 years old.

It was the first surviving litter for Nababiep, the zoo said.

It was the second for Luke, who was identified as the father of the litter of four born at the end of August.

Lions are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Animals, the zoo said.

Lion births are welcome events in zoos.

"We're stoked," curator Craig Saffoe said after the birth of the first litter. "We couldn't be happier right now."

Shortly after the August births, he noted that much can go wrong in lion births, and some of it is beyond the power of keepers to set right. "There's this huge weight that gets lifted off your shoulders when you see . . . the cubs are born alive."

The zoo said that Nababiep and her newborns can be seen on the zoo's webcam.

The four cubs born last month were on camera for about two weeks, the zoo said.

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