The Lincoln Park Zoo is bursting with pride over the arrival of a healthy African lion cub, born March 15.
The little one doesn’t have a name yet, and its sex is still unknown, according to zoo officials.
The cub is the first African lion born at the zoo in 20 years. Its parents, mom Zari and dad Jabari, have only been at the zoo since fall 2021 when the new Pepper Family Wildlife Center opened.
“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 Mike Murray, curator of mammals, in a statement. “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.”
Mom and cub will stick close to their den for the next six weeks, and the little one will remain behind the scenes and away from the public’s view at least until summer.
Zari and Jabari came to Lincoln Park from separate zoos as part of a collaborative population management effort, with the hopes they would breed.
Lion populations have declined for the past 100 years, with fewer than 20,000 lions remaining, according to the zoo. Lincoln Park partners with the KopeLion Project, based in Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania, to foster human-lion coexistence.