Zoo's lion cubs get first exam, all three are girls

Zoo's lion cubs get first exam, all three are girls
A 12-day-old African lion cub in its den box at the Oregon Zoo. (Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham)

PORTLAND, Ore. – It’s a girl. Well, three girls, to be accurate.

Veterinarians on Thursday were finally able to examine the three newest lion cubs at the Oregon Zoo and determine their genders.

Zookeepers had scheduled the first examination for Friday, but decided to take them in early when one of the cubs wasn’t interacting with the other two.

“This morning keepers noticed one cub seemed lethargic and wasn’t active with the other two. We reviewed our surveillance tapes, and saw that she hadn’t nursed at any of the overnight feedings, so we decided to move the exam to today,” said zoo curator Jennifer Davis.

Zookeepers distracted mother Neka with a bone to chew on then entered the den. They weighed the cubs, which came in between 2.5-4.5 pounds.

“The one we are concerned about was dehydrated and had low body temperature and blood-sugar levels,” Davis said. “We warmed her up and gave her some supplemental food and fluids. The other two appear to be robust and healthy. They’ve been nursing regularly, and they’re moving around a lot and vocalizing. One is definitely larger and more ‘outspoken’ than the others — we’ve nicknamed her Feisty.”

Veterinarians are still concerned about the smallest cub but are hopeful she’ll start nursing again soon.

In addition to photos of the cubs, the zoo also sent along this YouTube video of them during the first exam: