African lion cubs make their debut at the Safari Park
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Four African lion cubs born in June at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park left their den and went out to their exhibit for the first time Thursday.
Animal keepers said the cubs generally followed their mother, Oshana, around their new home but veered off occasionally to play in tall grass or climb logs and rocks.
The young lions, one male and three females, were born June 22. They’ve stayed out of public view since then while Oshana bonded and cared for them.
Animal care staff said Oshana has been extremely protective and attentive to Ernest, Evelyn, Marion and Miss Ellen. They’re named after benefactors Ernest and Evelyn Rady and Marion Wilson, and in memory of Ellen Browning Scripps, who the zoo described as their first major financial supporter.
The cubs are very active, vocal, curious and feisty, each with their own distinctive personalities, according to their keepers, who tell them apart by shaving a small patch of hair in a different place on each animal.
Weighing about 3 1/2 pounds at birth, the cubs are healthy and currently weigh 22 pounds each. When full grown around 3 years of age, female lions can weigh around 300 pounds and male lions around 500 pounds.
The Safari Park’s lion pride consists of Oshana and the four new cubs; the cub’s father, Izu; adult female Mina; and two of Oshana’s older offspring, Ken and Dixie. The cubs have been visually introduced to their father, Izu, and keepers will introduce them physically in the near future.
Visitors to the Lion Camp exhibit can see Oshana and her cubs daily from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., when keepers will rotate mom and cubs inside and bring out either Ken and Dixie, or Izu and Mina for the remainder of the day.