National Zoo Welcomes 4 Lion Cubs

Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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The National Zoo is now home to a half-dozen lion cubs following the birth of four cubs over the weekend.

The zoo's 9-year-old African lion Shera gave birth to the cubs on Sunday.

The cubs were born over a seven-hour period, the zoo announced Tuesday. Both mom and babies appear to be in good health. Zoo officials say the cubs are "nursing, moving and vocalizing well."

The zoo's Great Cat exhibit has been home to a recent baby boom. Back in Janunary, Shera's sister Nababiep gave birth to three cubs; two survived.

Both sisters also had litters within a month of each other back in 2010. Those seven cubs memorably celebrated their first birthday with "bloodsicles."

The zoo's 8-year-old male lion Luke sired all the cubs.

Both Shera and Nababiep have separate den spaces to bond with their new cubs. The zoo said in the wild it can take up to six weeks for a lioness to introduce her cubs to the rest of the pride.

The public won't be able to see Shera's cubs in-person until early summer; Nababiep's cubs may be introduced in the spring.

In the meantime, Nababiep and her cubs can be watched on the zoo's Lion Cam.

The Great Cat exhibit is also home to the zoo's Sumatran tiger cubs, Bandar and Sukacita, who made their public debut last November.

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