lioncubsoutside CINCINNATI (April 1, 2015) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s three female lion cubs showed off their grrl power this morning during their first public play date. Born November 13, 2014, to three-year-old mother “Imani” and four-year-old father “John,” the cubs have been bonding with mom and dad behind the scenes and waiting for warmer weather.  There is no set “on exhibit” schedule for the cubs yet, but they will continue to make appearances and have some outside access.

NOTE: Video of the cubs first time out is available here.

  “The cubs were relatively fearless this morning when they were given access to their great big exhibit.  They explored the yard and even got within feet of the visitor viewing window. Their mom was a little more cautious and tried to rein them in. John the Lion, the cubs’ dad, peeked his head out a few times but Imani blocked him from coming out,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo.

“African lions in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. These cubs will be great ambassadors for their species and inspire people to act for wildlife,” said Maynard.

Lions are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the result of climate change, hunting and habitat loss. Following a review of the best available scientific information, on October 27, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency’s analysis found that lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

Look for updates on #CZBGLionCubs “Huruma” (aka “Uma”), “Kya,” and “Willa,” on Facebook and Twitter.