Riverbanks Zoo’s lion cubs planned to debut in outside exhibit this week

Photos provided by Riverbanks Zoo.

Riverbanks Zoo announced Tuesday afternoon that the three-month-old lion cubs, born April 10, will soon be available for the public to see. The three cubs are now large enough to explore their outdoor habitat.

The cubs now weigh a little more than 30 pounds each, and took their first steps outside Monday morning under the close supervision of mom Thabisa. According to the announcement, the baby lions quickly adjusted to their new surroundings—spending about 45 minutes frolicking around the habitat before heading back inside to take a nap.

Animal care staff will continue the exhibit introduction process Wednesday morning prior to the zoo’s opening. The first opportunity for guests to see the cubs is planned for Thursday at 9:00am. The cubs will have access to the outdoor habitat at various times each day beginning with shorter periods and gradually increasing their time outside.

Three cubs shortly after birth in April.

The lion cubs were born to Thabisa and dad Zuri following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) African Lion Species Survival Plan® (SSP). For nearly 40 years, SSPs have ensured the continued existence of African lions and other endangered wildlife through breeding and transfer plans among AZA-accredited organizations. Because of the leadership, care and dedication of AZA professionals, the managed African lion population has risen to nearly 400 animals—297 of which are pedigreed.

The public will have an opportunity to help name the cubs. Details will be announced on Riverbanks’ website Thursday morning at 9:00am.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County