The Philadelphia Zoo today announced the birth of four African lion cubs, born June 26th to four-year-old Tajiri. The cubs are the first born at the zoo since 1996. It’s an expansion of the pride at the zoo’s Big Cat Falls, and is the first litter born to Tajiri and 6-year-old Makini.
“We’re very excited to welcome Tajiri’s new cubs, the first lions born at Philadelphia Zoo in 18 years,” Kevin Murphy, the Philadelphia Zoo’s General Curator, said in a release. “This birth, Tajiri’s first, is a significant contribution to the lion population in the U.S., and we are cautiously optimistic as Tajiri continues to be a fantastic mother.”
"Like newborn humans," the Philadelphia zoo helpfully adds in its release, "lion cubs are essentially helpless, relying on their mother for care."
To further this success story, just last year Tajiri was treated for a fungal infection she picked up before coming to the Philadelphia Zoo. She made a full recovery — the infection came from the Wisconsin soil, and was not transmissible to other zoo animals or humans. The Zoo sounds optimistic for more cubs from Tajiri in the future. “We will continue to be vigilant for any signs of a relapse, but we are very optimistic that this illness will not resurface in the future,” Dr. Keith Hinshaw, Philadelphia Zoo’s Director of Animal Health, said in a statement.
Tajiri came to the Zoo in 2012 from the Racine Zoo. Makini also came in early 2012. The zoo had cubs on the mind then, but noted that “matchmaking can be dicey among big cats.” Looks like the Philadelphia Zoo’s version of Tinder worked.
No word when the cubs will be put on display. The zoo is currently monitoring Tajiri and her cubs on video.
Photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Zoo