Born just a week ago, Denver Zoo announced on Wednesday that a healthy male African lion cub has joined the ever-growing zoo family.

On Thursday, July 25, the Denver Zoo welcomed a healthy African lion cub. The male cub was born to mom Neliah, 7, and dad Tobias, 3, and has yet to be named.

Already up with his eyes open and checking out his surroundings, the week-old cub is spending most of his time with mom in the den box. This is a space that zoo staff built to mimic a lion’s natural birthing and nursing space. The baby lion will stay with mom for now and is not up for visitors just yet, but zoo staff said he will debut in a month or two when he has had time to bond with mom and other lions in the pride.

For now, zoo visitors can see the adorable cub hanging with mom on the TV screens in Pahali Ya Simba in Benson Predator Ridge. 

The zoo also released this video with a glimpse of Neliah and her new baby boy:

"This is Neliah’s second time around as a mom, so we were confident she’d show all the correct behaviors with her new cub," said Assistant Curator of Predators Matt Lenyo in a press release. "She immediately started grooming and nursing the cub, which is exactly what we hoped she would do."

Back in January 2019, Tobias was added to the lion population at the Denver Zoo in the hopes of new cubs, and the plan worked. The cub’s birth is a big success for the zoo as well as the Lion Species Survival Plan, which works to keep the lion populations healthy and diverse among the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities. The African lion population has been decreasing for the last few decades and zoo staff hopes the new cub will spark interest and awareness in more people and inspire more efforts for preserving and growing the lion population. 

This is the first cub for Tobas; the birth of a cub so soon after his arrival is good news for Denver Zoo and the AZA lion population.

We can’t wait to see this little guy in person when the time is right! Are you excited about Denver’s newest zoo baby? Let us know just how cute you think this furball is in the comments!