WASHINGTON (AP) - A 9-year-old African lion has given birth to four cubs in the Great Cats exhibit at the National Zoo.
Officials say the lion mother, named Shera, delivered the cubs over seven hours on Sunday. This is Shera's second litter of cubs and the fifth for 8-year-old father, Luke. He is also the father of 10-year-old Nababiep's two female cubs born Jan. 24.
Animal keepers say Shera's cubs appear to be nursing, moving and vocalizing well. The keepers are monitoring the mother and cubs through a video feed. The zoo says Shera successfully raised her previous litter of four cubs in 2010.
African lions are considered a vulnerable species. Their population in the wild has dwindled by 30 percent over the past 20 years due to poaching, disease and habitat loss.