Wildlife fans are encouraged to vote on names for the OKC Zoo’s four African lion cubs.



Be part of Oklahoma City Zoo history and help name our little litter of African lion cubs. The OKC Zoo is thrilled to invite wildlife fans near and far to participate in an online naming contest for its newest arrivals, four African lion cubs, born to first-time mom, Dunia, 7.

OKC Zoo hosted a naming contest for the last litter of African lion cubs born at the Zoo in 2007 and decided to keep the tradition going! The Zoo’s carnivore care team selected three groups of name options inspired by themes related to our lion pride for voters to choose from. Participants will have an opportunity to vote daily at www.okczoo.org/lion-names. Voting is open now through Monday, November 7. The winning names will be announced on the Zoo’s social channels on Wednesday, November 9. 



The OKC Zoo’s Vote 4 Our Lion Cubs’ Names contest will be held from Wednesday, November 2 through Monday, November 7. Voters can choose from three groups of name choices listed on the Zoo’s website at www.okczoo.org/lion-names. Individuals of all ages are welcome to vote. The winning names will be announced on Wednesday, November 9, on the Zoo’s Facebook page.



The OKC Zoo’s African lioness, Dunia, 7, gave birth to her first litter of cubs, three females and a male, on Monday, September 26 at the Zoo’s Lion Overlook habitat. This is an incredibly significant event as it has been 15 years since the last litter of African lion cubs was born at the OKC Zoo. Mom and her cubs are all in good health and the little ones are becoming more mobile each day. The family group will remain behind-the-scenes in their indoor dens at Lion Overlook to allow them time to bond.  


Vote 4 Our Lion Cubs’ Names Contest Choices


GROUP #1: African Inspired Names

  • Female Cubs’ Names: Neema (NEE-mah) “grace”, Zahara (Za-HA-ra) “flower” and Makena (muh-KEN-na) “happiness”
  • Male Cub Name: Mshango “surprise”


GROUP #2: Names honoring mom Dunia which is Swahili for “the Earth”

  • Female Cubs’ Names: Nyasi (nee-asi) “grass”, Mlima (m-lima) “mountain/hill” and Mti “tree/wood”
  • Male Cub Name: Mwamba (mwam-ba) “rock”


GROUP #3: Oklahoma Inspired Names

  • Female Cubs’ Names: Ada, Alva and Talimena (for Talimena State Park near Talihina, OK!)
  • Male Cub Name: Shawnee


The OKC Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan®(SSP) for African lions which made the recommendation for Dunia to breed with the OKC Zoo’s male lion, Hubert, 10. This is the first litter born to this breeding pair. SSP programs oversee the population management of select species within AZA member zoos and aquariums. 

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, African lions are classified as vulnerable with wild populations decreasing due to illegal hunting, habitat loss, loss of food sources and conflict with humans. Lions are found throughout most ecoregions of Africa – forest, savanna, shrubland, grassland and desert – and are the most social of all cats. They live in groups called prides that average about 15 members, but can range from 3 to 40. Females usually live with the same pride for life, but males often leave when they are a few years old.   

Show your love “four” our little lions and support our $15 for 15 giving opportunity. Celebrate the exciting birth of our African lion cubs at the OKC Zoo after 15 years by donating $15 to the Zoo! To give, text LionCubs to 41444 or visit www.ozsgiving.org/15for15. To learn more about the Zoo’s lion cubs click here.

2022 brought a baby boom to the OKC Zoo. Fall in love with our little lion cubs plus Asian elephant calf, Rama; beaded lizard hatchlings; cownose stingray, Jensen; Sumatran tiger twins, Luna and Bob; Nzadi our okapi calf and chimpanzee infant, Kiazi! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. The Zoo will be closed to the public during the daytime on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between December 6 and February 8, 2023. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular daytime admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

Stay connected with the Zoo  on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.