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Lion cub images courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo
Lion cub images courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo

'Fab Four' in Buffalo: Zoo welcomes 4 lion cubs


Thu, Jun 22nd 2023 07:30 pm

Submitted by the Buffalo Zoo

Say hello to Buffalo Zoo's new “Fab Four”!

On June 2-3, the Buffalo Zoo’s African lion pride grew when it welcomed the birth of four active lion cubs. All cubs were born to their mother, Lusaka, and father, Tiberius.

The Buffalo Zoo’s animal care team began monitoring Lusaka closely in the days before her giving birth and were watching via remote cameras when she went into labor. Three cubs were born late evening on June 2, and one cub was born in the early hours of June 3.

Having multiple cubs over the course of several hours is normal for the species. All cubs are nursing well and are currently showing all signs of good health.

Last week, our veterinary team got their first look at the cubs, and they are healthy, growing, and currently weigh around 7 pounds each. The cubs are yet to be named, but appear to be two female and two male cubs. For the time being, the cubs will remain off-exhibit and behind the scenes, becoming more mobile while bonding and nursing with mom.

Lusaka and Tiberius were paired following a breeding recommendation from The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African Lions, which is designed to help maintain a healthy, genetically diverse assurance population of this species.

This is the pair's third litter. In 2016, Lusaka gave birth to three cubs – Asha, Amirah and Roary – who have since gone off to other zoos. Their second liter came in 2021 with two cubs, Zahra and Khari, who can still be seen in the Buffalo Zoo’s lion habitat with the other pride members.

Over the coming weeks, the cubs and mom will continue to bond behind the scenes until they are big and strong enough to be introduced to other pride members and go outside.

Stay tuned to our social media channels and sign-up for email alerts so you don’t miss updates on their public debut and names.

Lion cub images courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo


Interim Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Lisa Smith said, “The birth of any animal is exciting, and lion cubs are especially heartwarming because, well, they are adorable! We are honored to care for Lusaka, the cubs, and all the members of their pride, while recognizing that they also represent the future and hope for the conservation of their species, reminding us of the importance of a sustained commitment to work to save lions in the wild.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species lists the African lion as a vulnerable species, with a total population that is likely less than 40,000. IUCN estimates that there are only 23,000 to 39,000 mature individuals. African lion populations are declining largely due to habitat loss, issues that threaten human-wildlife coexistence, poaching, and wildlife trafficking (illegal wildlife trade).

African lions have a long history of being an iconic species at the Buffalo Zoo, and the venue actively supports lion conservation efforts to protect these iconic big cats. Collaborative partnerships with other zoos through AZA’s Lion SAFE Program and related conservation organizations, the Buffalo Zoo contributes to research, anti-poaching initiatives, and community engagement programs. By raising awareness and connecting the Buffalo community to African lions, the Buffalo Zoo plays a vital role in safeguarding lions and their natural habitats for future generations.

The Buffalo Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Grounds remain open for one hour after admission gates close. Every visit to the Buffalo Zoo helps the site take another step toward achieving its mission of saving wildlife.

Visit www.buffalozoo.org to learn more.

Lion cub images courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo

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