Denver Zoo welcomes two African lion cubs at Benson Predator Ridge.

Denver Zoo is closed to the public during the stay-at-home order, but that doesn't mean some exciting events haven't occurred. On Thursday, April 23, the zoo celebrated the birth of two tiny African lion clubs—the newest members of the pride.

According to a press release by Denver Zoo on Tuesday, the cubs are healthy and bonding with their mother, 4-year-old Kamara. The newborns will stay with their mother for the next two months, separated from the rest of the pride until they are gradually introduced to the other lions.

“We are watching Kamara closely to make sure she’s showing appropriate maternal behaviors, like nursing and grooming,” said Matt Lenyo, assistant curator of predators.“We’re seeing a lot of positive signs that things are going well, and will continue to keep a close eye on her and the cubs in these critical first days and weeks.”

The mother and her cubs will spend the majority of their time in their den box, which is made to mimic the space Kamara would seek out in the wild to give birth. Kamara will still have access to other holding areas behind the scenes. However, access to a den box provides a sense of security for her and her cubs.

The sex of the cubs has not been determined yet. The birth of the cubs comes 10 months after the birth of another cub in the zoo, Tatu, in July 2019. Tatu is a half-brother to the two new cubs, all fathered by 4-year-old Tobias, who moved into the zoo in 2019 in the hopes that he would breed with the female lions, like Kamara and Neliah.

“Kamara and Tobias were a very genetically-valuable match,” said General Curator Emily Insalaco. “And these cubs are an important contribution to the species’ population in [Association of Zoos and Aquariuams] (AZA) facilities, and will help inspire visitors to learn more about their wild cousins.”

The number of African lions in the wild was decreased significantly in the past 25 years. The species faces a growing threat from poaching, loss of prey, and habitat destruction. Programs like Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) oversee the population management and conservation of species in the wild. The birth of the cubs is a success for SSP and the restoration of the African lion population.

For more information on Kamara and her new cubs, visit the official website of Denver Zoo.

The Denver Zoo also recently welcomed two Komodo dragon hatchlings.