It’s a girl! All 3 of them! First look at zoo’s baby lions - KPTV - FOX 12

It's a girl! All 3 of them! First up-close look at Oregon Zoo's baby lions

Posted: Updated: Sep 20, 2013 06:26 AM
Photo: Oregon Zoo Photo: Oregon Zoo
Photo: Oregon Zoo Photo: Oregon Zoo

It's a girl! And another girl! And another girl! Oregon Zoo veterinarians got their first up-close look at three newborn baby lions Thursday, and finally found out they're all girls.

Neka, a 6-year-old African lioness, gave birth to the three cubs on Sept. 7. The little lions were given their first veterinarian examinations Thursday.

Before then, zoo workers had no idea if the cubs were boys or girls. It turns out, Neka has three daughters.

Veterinarians bumped the exams up by a day when they noticed, through surveillance cameras in the lions' den, that one of the cubs wasn't interacting 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 curator Jennifer Davis, who oversees the zoo's Africa and primate areas.

Davis said animal-care staffers first separated Neka from the cubs by offering a treat, in the form of a "nice hearty bone."

With mom occupied, the zoo's animal-care staff entered the private maternity den and conducted a complete physical exam on all three cubs, confirming that all are female, with weights ranging from about 2.5 to 4.5 pounds.

The cub that caused some worry was dehydrated and had low body temperature. It was warmed up and given supplemental food and fluids. The other two have been nursing regularly and appear to be "robust and healthy."

Animal-care staff provided an additional supplemental feeding for the smallest cub Thursday, and they will continue monitoring the lions.

"We're still very concerned about her," Davis said. "We're just trying to give her every chance possible, and we're all hopeful that she just needs a little boost and can soon get back to nursing alongside her sisters."

Keepers report that Neka continues to be an excellent mom, which they consider especially good news since this is her first experience raising a litter.

"After the exams, we put all the cubs back together and allowed Neka back in with them," Davis said. "She checked on her babies like a good mom, but then she went right back to her bone."

For the time being, Neka and her cubs will remain off exhibit in their private maternity den to allow the new family a comfortable place to bond. In another month or two, if the cubs are healthy and the weather is warm enough, animal-care staff will evaluate whether they are ready for a public debut.

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