An African lion cub was born on July 25 to mom Neliah and dad Tobias, Denver Zoo officials announced Wednesday.
The cub’s gender is still unknown, but animal care staff say that both mom and cub are healthy and alert. The cub will make its debut later this summer after bonding with Neliah and meeting the rest of the pride behind the scenes, says the Denver Zoo.
In the meantime, mom and cub will be spending most of their time in a den box to provide Neliah with a sense of security and privacy for the next six to eight weeks. Neliah will still have access to other areas of Predator Ridge.
“This is Neliah’s second time around as a mom, so we were confident she’d show all the correct behaviors with her new cub,” said Assistant Curator of Predators Matt Lenyo. “She immediately started grooming and nursing the cub, which is exactly what we hoped she would do.”
“Tobias hasn’t fathered any cubs previously, which makes his genetics important to the AZA lion population,” said Hollie Colahan, who serves as the program leader for the African Lion SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) Program. “The fact that he’s already successfully mated with one of our females speaks to the work our lion team put in to make Tobias feel comfortable in his new home in such a short period of time.”
Guests will be able to catch glimpses of the pair on TV Screens in Pahali Ya Simba in Benson Predator ridge before their debut.