Female lion dies after giving birth at Maryland Zoo

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A lion at the Maryland Zoo has died, just days after giving birth to two healthy cubs, officials said Thursday.

Badu, a 3½-year-old lioness, died on Monday, a zoo spokeswoman said. The cause of death has not been determined, but a necropsy — or inspection of each organ — has been ordered.

“This is a tremendous loss for the Zoo, Maryland Zoo President Don Hutchinson said. “But despite losing Badu, we should also remember that she left behind two new additions to our zoo family.”

Badu gave birth to two cubs on Oct. 3. Veterinarians watching her noticed Friday she was having complications and operated on her. They removed another two cubs from but neither lived.

The two surviving cubs, one male and one female, are the first cubs to be born at the zoo. Officials said the zoo’s two adult lions, Cuma, and Hassan — the father of the two cubs — will be on exhibit while the newborns are raised by handlers in a den.

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