DENVER — About six months after Denver Zoo keepers welcomed a new male African lion in hopes it would lead to cubs, their wishes came true.
On July 25, a 7-year-old African lion named Neliah gave birth to a healthy cub, the zoo said. The father is 3-year-old Tobias, who arrived at the zoo in January . The Denver Zoo made the announcement Wednesday morning.
The zoo’s animal care staff said both Neliah and the cub are healthy, active and alert. They are spending most of their time in their den box, which zoo keepers built to mimic the kind of space Neliah would seek in the wild to give birth and nurse.
The cub will make his or her — staff haven’t been able to confirm its gender — debut later this summer after meeting the rest of the pride out of public view. However, guests can catch a glimpse of mother and cub on the TV screens in Pahali Ya Simba in Benson Predator Ridge.The Denver Zoo released the below video as a sneak peek of this new addition to the lion pride.
This cub’s birth is a major success for the Lion Species Survival Plan, the zoo said. This plan works to ensure lion populations are healthy and genetically diverse within Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions. The Lion Species Survival Plan recommended to move Tobias to Denver in late 2018 as a potential mate for the female lions.
To learn more about the Denver Zoo's lion pride, click here.