Cubs remain in Oklahoma City Zoo's pride

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: November 5, 2008
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Four lion cubs were born at the Oklahoma City Zoo one year ago this week, and they’re still drawing crowds.

The lions — Malaika, Zari, Kalliope and Xerxes — are playful, healthy and popular with zoo visitors, said Brian Aucone, the zoo’s director of animal management.


The cubs weighed about 3 pounds at birth, Aucone said, and now they’re each about 115 pounds.

The cubs have the same father but come from two mothers. Two were born Nov. 4 last year. The other two were born two days later. Aside from being close to one another, the lions also are more interested in their zookeepers than other lions in captivity, Aucone said. All four lions were delivered by Caesarean section, and keepers hand-fed them for several months. Now even as they get older, the cubs like to see their keepers and become excited when they hear their keys jingle.

The fate of the cubs is still up in the air, Aucone said. They may be moved to another zoo as part of a national breeding plan, but they may stay at the Oklahoma City Zoo.


Oklahoma City Zoo’s lion cubs

Zari

Gender: Female

Full sibling: Malaika

Birthday: Nov. 4 to mother Tia

Weight: 112 pounds

Appearance: She has light fur and looks like mother Tia.

Personality: She’s the instigator who plays by stalking the others and pouncing.

Malaika

Gender: Female

Full sibling: Zari

Birthday: Nov. 4 to mother Tia

Weight: 115 pounds

Appearance: Her long nose makes her look the most like father Aslan.

Personality: She likes to run and play with her sister.

Kalliope

Gender: Female

Full sibling: Xerxes

Birthday: Nov. 6 to mother Bridget

Weight: 113 pounds

Appearance: She has the most spots and has a prominent spot on her nose.

Personality: She is the dominant female, and her siblings usually follow her.

Xerxes

Gender: Male

Full sibling: Kalliope

Birthday: Nov. 6 to mother Bridget

Weight: 120 pounds

Appearance: He was the smallest of the cubs, but he’s outpaced his sisters. Long hair is starting to grow around his face and chest.

Personality: He usually spends time by himself, and he is the only cub that can challenge Kalliope.

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