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

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

The Naples zoo in Florida is celebrating the birth of three African lion cubs.

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.

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“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:

MORE BABY NEWS: We are absolutely thrilled to share that African lion Shani has given birth to three cubs! The first cub was born on May 13, with the other two born the next day on May 14! The cubs and mom won't be on exhibit until later this summer as they bond behind-the-scenes. 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. This is the first time lion cubs have been born at Naples Zoo in over 30 years. Learn more: http://napleszoo.org/news/posts/lioncubs

Posted by Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens on Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Associated Press contributed to this report.