A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


4 lion cubs born at Woodland Park Zoo

November 10th, 2012 · Comments

Four lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo Thursday night, the first lions born at the zoo in more than 20 years.

The lion’s den as seen from a surveillance camera above.

The mother is 3-year-old Adia; the father is 13-year-old Hubert. The genders of the cubs have not been determined.

The mom and cubs are off public exhibit in a maternity den to allow the new family to bond in a hushed, comfortable environment. Animal management staff are closely monitoring the litter via a web cam to ensure the mom is providing excellent maternal care and the cubs are properly nursing.

According to Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo, average litter size for lions is two to three, so this is a large litter, especially for a first-time mother. “The first 48 hours are critical, and animal care staff will be monitoring each of the cubs closely for signs of normal behavior and development over the next several weeks.”

Woodland Park Zoo’s lions belong to the South African subspecies, Panthera leo krugeri. A 13-year-old female lion, named Kalisa, also lives at the zoo’s award-winning African Savanna. Known as the Transvaal lion, it ranges in Southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands. These lions range in weight from 260 to 400 pounds.

To minimize disturbance to the newborns, the other two adult lions are indoors and may not be on public exhibit throughout the weekend.

Cubs typically weigh about 3 pounds at birth. They are born blind and open their eyes within a week or two after birth.

Approximately 199 South African lions currently live in 100 AZA-accredited zoos in North America.

Adia nursing her cubs.

You can see video and photos of the cubs here.

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  1. Stupid hippie says:

    Free the lions!

  2. Ann says:

    Congrats WPZ! They look adorable!

  3. brock o'hama says:

    Why do people use the word “gender” when they really mean sex? Is it because the word sex makes them nervous? Sex is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s part of God’s creation.

  4. anotherneighbor says:

    brock – “gender” refers to what’s between someone’s legs. “Sex” refers to what someone does with those parts.

  5. brock o'hama says:

    I am afraid that anotherneighbor is rather confused here. Gender is a concept that comes from language. In Romance languages there are “masculine” and “feminine” nouns. Gender is not sex. Nouns have gender. Human beings and animals have sex. I don’t have gender between my legs and I don’t think animals do either.

  6. shopdog says:

    When I hit the link for photos and videos, I get some language/response that seems like I might mess up my computer. Doree, could you please assure us that following the instructions is okay?

  7. i heart greenwood says:


  8. justin2020 says:

    Let’s hope their gender is all female. The future of male lion cubs is poor in the zoo world. Not so good for the females either. There are lots of “excess” African lions in captivity worldwide, and they unfortunately can end up in less than optimal situations. Let’s please keep a close eye on what happens to this litter as they mature.

  9. Doree says:

    Sorry about that, shopdog. Looks like the last part of the link got cut off. I fixed it. Thanks.

  10. Propa Randa says:

    I hope the the sexes of the lion cubs include both males and females. I believe in sexual diversity.