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.