Four lion cubs were born at the Virginia Zoo on May 2, 2009. You can see them in person from 10am to 1pm daily.
This is the second litter for female Zola and male Mramba. Zookeepers selected African names for the three males and one female. They are:
- Ajani (male) – which means “he fights for possession”
- Razi (male) – which means “secret”
- Dakari (male) – which means “happiness”
- Zarina (female) – which means “golden”
At this time, keepers report that Ajani and Zarina show the most distinct personalities:
- Keepers nicknamed Ajani “A-jumbo” because he is the plumpest cub. They say he is perfectly named (“he fights for possession”) because he is the biggest cub and always wins when they play.
- Zarina is the quietest of the cubs and sticks out her tongue a lot. Of all the cubs, she had the hardest time learning how to climb onto a ledge in their den. She was determined to do it, however, and now it’s one of her favorite places to sit.
- All four cubs like to growl, hiss and swat. They tumble and rough house with each other and try to swat at their father’s tail and feet when they are together.
This birth is only the second large carnivore birth at the Virginia Zoo in over 35 years. The first was the birth of lion cubs Granby and Neka in August 2007. The gestation period for a lion is 110 days. Lions may have up to five cubs at a time, although litters of two to three cubs are more common.