• Beaming with pride: Naples Zoo celebrates its first lion birth in 30 years

    By: Kelly Healey


    NAPLES, Fla. - The Naples Zoo is beaming with pride. It's celebrating the birth of three African lion cubs, making it the first time in 30 years that the zoo has had lion cubs.

    The zoo announced the birth of the cubs Thursday; one was born May 13 and two were born May 14.

    The cubs and their mother, 13-year-old Shani, will be on exhibit later this summer, allowing them to bond behind the scenes, officials said. 

    “Although 13-year-old Shani is older than the average first-time lion mother, the cubs are all doing well and it's wonderful to see her being such a good mom,” the zoo posted on Facebook.

    The zoo said it will host a contest to name the cubs.

    Zoo employees haven't gotten close enough to the cubs to know their genders or weights, but the cubs are being monitored through video feeds, officials said.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies African lions as vulnerable to extinction. They're endangered by illegal hunting, declining prey populations and habitat loss.

    Watch Naples Zoo video feed below:

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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