National Zoo Welcomes Lion Cubs

The National Zoo welcomed the tiny roars of African lion cubs Friday, continuing their recent baby boom.

The zoo's 10-year-old lioness Nababiep gave birth to three cubs over an eight hour period Jan. 24. The second cub Nababiep delivered was stillborn.

Zoo officials say it's not uncommon for animals to deliver healthy and stillborn cubs in the same litter. This is Nababiep's third litter, and the fourth for 8-year-old dad, Luke.

Nababiep and her cubs have been under close observation since Friday. The surviving cubs appear to be "nursing, moving and vocalizing well," zoo officials said.

“Naba continues to prove that she has great maternal instincts, so the best course of action is for us to allow her to care for and bond with her cubs," said Rebecca Stites, an animal keeper at the Great Cats exhibit.

The lion cubs are the zoo's first in four years. A cub born to Nababiep in 2010 died days after its birth in a freak accident.

The gender of the new cubs has not been released.

Unfortunately, it'll be late spring before the public can get a peek of the new cubs. Until then, the zoo hopes to have a lion cub cam up by Monday afternoon to satisfy your cub-viewing fix.

The zoo's other famous cubs have also been in the spotlight in recent weeks.

Five-month-old panda cub Bao Bao was ready for her close-up earlier this month, meeting her adoring public for the first time. And after adorably passing a swim test, the zoo's Sumatran tiger cubs, Bandar and Sukacita, made their public debut back in Nov.

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