The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s African lion pride has grown by five cubs! African lioness Dunia, 8, gave birth to five healthy cubs on Monday, May 20, 2024 at the OKC Zoo’s Lion Overlook at Expedition Africa presented by Inasmuch Foundation. This is Dunia’s second litter of cubs with male, Hubert “Huey”, 12. The birth of her first offspring in September 2022 was monumental as it had been 15 years since the OKC Zoo had welcomed a litter of African lion cubs. Dunia and her newborn cubs will be spending time together behind the scenes bonding and resting, and are being monitored by the Zoo’s expert carnivore caretakers. According to the Zoo’s Curator of Carnivores, Tyler Boyd, “Dunia and her cubs are doing great. Soon after their birth, the cubs were scooting around and began nursing, both good signs that they are thriving.”

Dunia was in labor approximately between 4:30 and 11:30 a.m. on May 20 and birthed her first four cubs. Dunia surprised caretakers by giving birth to a fifth cub during the later hours of May 20! During labor, the carnivore care team was observing Dunia closely through den cameras, monitoring her progress and that the cubs were stable. African lionesses have a gestation period of approximately 100 days. Dunia had health checks and screenings, including participating in cooperative ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, until she was ready to give birth. The rest of the pride including Hubert, Dunia’s sister, Moto, 8, and Dunia’s older cubs, females, Neema, Zahara, and Makena and male, Mshango, will remain on public view at Lion Overlook. The Zoo’s lion pride now consists of 12 individuals including the cubs!

“We are excited to welcome the cubs to the Zoo and look forward to watching our pride grow! Seeing Dunia become a mom again is an incredible experience that we are grateful to be able to witness a second time,” added Boyd. “This birth is significant to not only the OKC Zoo but lion populations globally. African lions are classified as vulnerable through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and we are excited to be able to increase the lion population globally. We look forward to sharing more about the cubs soon.”

The OKC Zoo is a program partner for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)’s Lion SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction and participates in the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for African lions which made the recommendation for Dunia to breed with Huey. SSP programs oversee the population management of select species within AZA member zoos and aquariums. Since the opening of Lion Overlook in 1997, the Zoo has proudly celebrated the births of 21 lions.

African lions are classified as vulnerable according to the IUCN with wild populations decreasing due to illegal hunting, habitat loss, loss of food sources and conflict with humans. It is estimated that the total population of lions in Africa is less than 40,000 mature individuals. Lions can be found in African ecoregions such as the forest, savanna, shrubland, grassland, and desert. Lions are extremely social and live in family groups called prides that can have between 10-30 members. Female lions frequently live with their mother’s pride for life but it is common for male lions to leave their pride when they are a few years old.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is an active participant in conservation efforts that focus on mitigating human-wildlife conflict by providing farmers with resources such as predator-deterrent enclosures and livestock guard dogs which reduces conflict with lions, African painted dogs, cheetahs, and other predators. The Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation Fund supports organizations that help humans and wildlife thrive, as well as helping conserve our wild places. Guests at the Zoo can contribute to these conservation efforts by rounding up their purchases with the Round Up for Conservation Fund. Through this easy contribution, Zoo guests can make a big difference for wildlife in Oklahoma and around the world.

OKC Zoo fans can show their pride for African lions and other wildlife by supporting the Zoo’s conservation mission through their purchase of ZOObrew tickets this September. This annual event is one with purpose as the Zoo will be donating a portion of proceeds from ZOObrew ticket sales to the support of African lion and habitat conservation. More information on ZOObrew will be announced soon!

More feline fun will be happening at the Zoo on International Cat Day, Saturday, July 6, 2024. Pad on down to Lion Overlook and Cat Forest to learn more about the Zoo’s purr-fect felids. Enjoy caretaker chats, wild cat trivia, and more. On Saturday, Zoo guests will receive a free water bottle courtesy of Shape Your Future, a program of TSET, while supplies last. Water bottles will be given away beginning at 9 a.m. as guests enter the park. International Cat Day activities are free with regular admission.

Follow the OKC Zoo’s socials @okczoo for news and updates on these little lions and all Zoo happenings.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Beginning Saturday, May 25 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, the Zoo is open daily at 8:30 a.m. for ZOOfriends with current memberships. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at 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, and Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Zoo admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Membership has its perks! As a ZOOfriends member of the Oklahoma City Zoo, enjoy free admission all year-long, plus many additional benefits and discounts. You will also be supporting the Zoo’s animal family, education programming and conservation initiatives both locally and globally. Join or renew today at

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