News & Politics

National Zoo Lion Gives Birth to Cubs

The newborn cubs won’t go on display until late spring, but there’s already a lion cam.

Lions! Photograph courtesy National Zoo.

Believe it or not, the National Zoo actually has news about some of the non-panda species under its protection. The zoo welcomed two African lion cubs on Friday morning when Nababiep, a ten-year-old lioness, went into labor.

Nababiep delivered three cubs, although the middle one was stillborn, the zoo says. “The first few days of a lion cub’s life are very fragile,” Rebecca Stiles, an animal keeper in the zoo’s Great Cats exhibit, says in a Smithsonian press release. African lions have a mortality rate of about 30 percent in captivity, compared with 67 percent in the wild.

The zoo took little time in switching on two live camera feeds for animal lovers to gawk at Nababiep and the newborn litter. The lions won’t go back on public display until late spring, but already the cubs can be seen scampering about their den and playing with each other.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.