Meet the Lincoln Park Zoo’s new lion cubs

The Lincoln Park Zoo has new information about, and almost as importantly, new photos of the African lion cubs born in the zoo’s Pepper Family Wildlife Center. The cubs received their six-week veterinary assessment this week and their first vaccinations, and the zoo announced all three are male.

Each also had a portion of the hair on their forearm shaved for easier identification. Names have yet to be chosen, and the cubs will remain behind the scenes for a few more weeks as they continue to grow.

Weighing roughly two pounds at birth, the Thursday announcement stated, the cubs now all weigh between 15 and 18 pounds. The zoo has kept contact between human caregivers and the cubs to a minimum, said director of veterinary medicine Kathryn Gamble. “The goal is not to intervene with the cubs unless medically necessary.”

The cubs were born Jan. 9 and have otherwise stayed close to their mother Zari. Caregivers are relying on Zari’s behavior to indicate when she is ready to introduce them to the rest of the pride and the outdoor habitat. (The pride includes the cubs’ father Jabari, as well as brother Pilipili, and aunts Hasira and Cleo.)

The Pepper Family Wildlife Center opened in 2021, a $41 million renovation, update and expansion for the zoo’s lion house that includes sweeping outdoor spaces and vertical levels for its feline residents, as well as a viewing tunnel for visitors.