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Lincoln Park Zoo Welcome First Lion Cub in 20 Years

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: March 20, 2022 6:41 pm

Lincoln Park Zoo Lion Cubs

An African lion cub born on March 15th 2022 to female Zari at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo have welcomed their first African lion cub to be born in over 20 years. Lions roared back in to Lincoln Park Zoo last year at the newly opened Pepper Family Wildlife Center where they have clearly settled in quickly.


Three year old female Zari gave birth to the cub on March 15th 2022.


The birth is part of the African Lion Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative population management effort across Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited institutions.


At present keepers have been unable to determine the gender of the cub. At present the cub is being in a den with mom. Young lions are blind for the first few days of life and over coming weeks will become more mobile.


“It’s exciting to welcome the new addition to Pepper Family Wildlife Center, as the cub marks the first offspring born at this new state-of-art habitat as well as the first cub born at Lincoln Park Zoo in 20 years,” said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray.


“The pride was formed as part of the African Lion Species Survival Plan® with anticipation that breeding could occur. This cub’s arrival signifies the lion pride, which arrived at the zoo this past fall, feel at home in their new habitat and are receiving the best possible care.”

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The cub will live behind the scenes for a few months as it grows in strength and size. To allow for bonding with mother Zuri the cub will not be visible to the public. Keepers will monitor the new family through cameras.

“First-time mother Zari has been very attentive and is showing the necessary maternal instincts to care for the cub, including nursing and grooming,” said Murray. “With all births at the zoo, especially with a first-time mom, we remain cautiously optimistic and hope the cub will continue to pass critical milestones.”

Murray continued, “We look forward to welcoming guests this summer to celebrate the cub’s arrival when the youngster will be visible at Pepper Family Wildlife Center.”

The father of the cub is -year-old male African lion Jabari (Ja-bar-ee). Both he and Zuri are first time parents. Zari was born at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in 2018, and Jabari was born in 2017 at Blank Park Zoo. Both arrived at Lincoln Park Zoo in fall 2021 for the opening of Pepper Family Wildlife Center.

At Lincoln Park Zoo the lion pride live in the Pepper Family Wildlife Center, opened in 2021. This state of the art habitat is focused around animal choice and control. 

Learn more about African Lions here – African Lion Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Lincoln Park Zoo on their website – Lincoln Park Zoo

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