The Maryland Zoo’s twin lion cubs six days after they were born. They were the first lions born at the zoo. (Maryland Zoo/Via Associated Press)

There was both happy and sad news from the Maryland Zoo last week. Two lions were born, but a few days later, the cubs’ mother died, zoo officials announced Thursday.

Badu, a 31 / 2-year-old lion, gave birth to the cubs October 3. But veterinarians noticed the next day that she was having complications. Zoo veterinarians performed surgery on Badu to deliver two more cubs, but neither one survived, zoo officials said. Badu continued to have medical problems after the surgery and was having trouble caring for the cubs. She died October 7.

“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of this spirited cat, we now must turn our attention to caring for her young cubs. They are only six days old and are just beginning to open their eyes,” zoo Senior Veterinarian Ellen Bronson said in a statement.

The zoo said the cubs, a male and a female, appear healthy. They are the first lion cubs to be born at the Maryland Zoo, which was created in 1876 as the Baltimore Zoo. The zoo’s name was changed nine years ago.

The cubs’ father, 6-year-old Hassan, and Cuma, a 16-year-old female lion, are on exhibit for the public to see. The cubs are not being exhibited now.

“Ideally, they will be able to be introduced to the other lions, but that will be sometime in the future,” assistant zoo curator Margie Rose-Innes said in a statement. “For now, their continued health and well-being will be our focus.”

The cubs’ mother came to the Maryland Zoo in July 2012 from the Racine Zoo in Racine, Wisconsin.

From staff and wire reports