With great “pride,” the Santa Barbara Zoo announced the birth of an African Lion Cub on Thursday, the first African lion born at the Zoo since 2005.
The Zoo’s African lion, Felicia, gave birth to the cub on Nov. 5, and the two are currently bonding together behind the scenes.
Felicia and Ralph, the cub’s father, arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo just six months prior.
At its first medical examination, the cub weighed 3.9 lbs., and the sex will be determined at its next examination.
Felicia and the cub won’t make their public debut for another eight weeks and the cub’s name will be announced in the coming weeks.
Lion pregnancies only last approximately 110 days, and zoo staff members were strongly suspicious Felicia was pregnant based on her physical changes and fecal hormone analysis.
These hormone levels cannot be determined until 60 days after mating due to the possibility of a pseudo-pregnancy, but if the hormone levels are still elevated 60 to 70 days after mating, then the pregnancy can be confirmed.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommended the pairing of Felicia and Ralph as part of its Species Survival Plan to maintain a sustainable population of lions in North America.
The Zoo invites the public to donate to become a Foster Feeder sponsor of the African lion. New Foster Feeders at all levels will receive a personalized digital Foster Feeder certificate including the honoree’s name and lion photo, and recognition on the Foster Feeder board at the zoo.
For more information or to become a Foster Feeder, visit https://sbzoo.pivvit.com/african-lion.