The National Zoo welcomed new furry residents last week as lioness Nababiep (pronounced naa-baa-bee-EP) gave birth to her third litter, zoo officials announced Monday.
Nababiep, who is 10 years old, delivered three cubs, but one of them died before it was born. The other two cubs are active and healthy, according to zookeepers. Mom and cubs were in a small den, and as of Monday zookeepers had not examined the cubs.
Lion cubs, both in the wild and in captivity, are fragile in the first weeks of life.
More lions may be arriving at the zoo this year as Shera, who is Nababiep’s sister, may be pregnant, zoo officials said.
Luke, 8, is the father of Nababiep’s cubs and any cubs Shera produces in the next few months. He is also the dad to Nababiep’s three cubs and Shera’s four that were born in 2010. Those cubs are now in zoos as far away as Calgary, Canada, and Santa Barbara, California.
The new cubs, who do not have names, are scheduled to go on public view in late spring.