Lioness Dunia, Swahili for the Earth, gave birth to three female and one male on September 26 at the zoo’s Lion Overlook habitat. “Mom and her cubs are in good health and will remain behind-the-scenes in their indoor dens at Lion Overlook as they spend time together bonding,” the zoo said in a statement on its website.
The cubs are the facility’s first litter of African lions in 15 years, a zoo representative told CNN. Before the cubs are old enough to be put on public display, they’ll need names.
“Animal births are very exciting and often significant occasions like the birth of our African lion cubs … and we like to provide an opportunity for our guests and wildlife fans around the world to get involved and help name these animals,” the representative said.
The zoo provided three name groups to vote on:
- Group 1 is inspired by African names: Neema (Grace), Zahara (Flower), Makena (Happiness) and Mshango (Surprise).
- Group 2 includes options that honor their mother’s name: Nyasi (Grass), Mlima (Mountain or Hill), Mti (Tree or Wood) and Mwamba (Rock)
- Group 3 are names inspired by Oklahoma: Ada, Alva, Talimena and Shawnee.
The public can vote on OKC Zoo’s website through Monday, November 7. Zoo officials swill announce the winning names on November 9.
“We are thrilled by the responses and votes we have gotten thus far and encourage everyone to continue voting daily to name our lion cubs and be part of this significant event,” the zoo representative said.
African lions are considered “vulnerable” with wild populations decreasing due to illegal hunting and habitat loss, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.