Can't Get Enough? More Lion Cubs Born at Zoo

Three More Born This Morning

More "Circle of Life" news from the National Zoo -- and it's on the happy end of the circle. Three more lion cubs were born early this morning, bringing the zoo's total to seven.

Mom Nababiep gave birth between 8 and 10:30 a.m. this morning, and all three cubs have been active, say Zoo officials.

The cubs join four half-siblings on dad Luke's side... or cousins, depending on how you look at it, since their half-siblings' mom Shera is also their aunt. Got that? OK, good.

The babies aren't the first for Nababiep; on May 18, she gave birth to a single male cub. However, the newborn died two days later, after a straw seed became lodged in his lung and led to pneumonia.

Zoo staff says the mortality rate for lion cubs under a year old in captivity was about 30 percent in 2009, compared to 67 percent in the wild.

"Because the first few days of life are the most fragile, animal care staff are cautiously optimistic that the cubs will thrive and are giving both mothers the peace and quiet they need to care for their new families," the Zoo said in a release.

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