The National Zoo announced the birth of two lion cubs on Monday, the first litter born at the zoo in four years.
The cubs’ mother, Nababiep, delivered a third cub that did not survive. Zoo officials said the surviving pair appears to be doing well, nursing and vocalizing since their birth Friday.
“The first few days of a lion cub’s life are very fragile,” said Rebecca Stites, an animal keeper at the Great Cats exhibit. “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. We have every indication that she will successfully raise these cubs just as she did her previous litter.”
Though the cubs will not be on exhibit until late spring, zoo officials expect a web camera showing the mother and her cubs to go live later Monday.
The lion cubs are the latest in a series of births at the zoo, which include the high-profile birth of giant panda Bao Bao as well as a pair of tiger cubs this summer.
But more cubs may soon be on the way. In announcing the birth of the two cubs, the zoo also disclosed that a second lioness, Shera, is also believed to be pregnant.