#LionWatch: Lincoln Park Zoo Welcomes Three Lion Cubs

New Arrivals Zoo News

January 10, 2023

Lincoln Park Zoo is happy to report that the African lion pride continues to grow at Pepper Family Wildlife Center. Four-and-a-half-year-old Zari gave birth to three cubs on January 9.

Zari’s pregnancy was first publicly announced in early December. Over the course of the next few weeks, #LionWatch went into effect. If you’ve been following along, you know that zoo staff:

  • Highlighted the science that goes into breeding recommendations through P for Populations, an episode of ABCs of the Zoo.
  • Uploaded a video of Zari’s voluntary ultrasound training taken by high-resolution cameras at Pepper Family Wildlife Center.
  • Posted a photo showing a tired mama lion with a giant growing belly.
  • Shared a video of Zari’s latest ultrasound just hours before she gave birth, which showed that she would be having at least two cubs.

The cubs have not yet been sexed or named, but appear healthy and have met their first milestone; they started nursing within the first few hours after birth. Over the next few days, they will become more mobile and open their eyes. They should continue to gain strength over the coming weeks.

Zari and mate Jabari, who is 5 years old, were recommended for breeding by the African Lion Species Survival Plan®. Zari gave birth to Pilipili on March 15, 2022, who will now become a big brother.

The second-time mom and her cubs will stay behind the scenes for the next several weeks, but Pilipili and the other lions will still be viewable in their habitat. However, the other lions, including lionesses Cleo and Hasira, may choose to stay close to Zari and the new cubs.

Check out the video of the births here: