BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The cat’s out of the bags- the Buffalo Zoo’s new African lion cubs have made their public debut!
The two cubs, who were born to Lusaka and Tiberius on March 7, share a birthday with their father.
Their names are Khari and Zahra- the winning names from the Buffalo Zoo’s naming contest. “Khari” means “kingly”, and “Zahra” means flower.
The contest was $1 per vote, and it raised almost $4,000 for lion conservation and the lions at the Buffalo Zoo.
“We got a ton of interest from our naming contest- it’s all been positive and exciting,” said Buffalo Zoo communications manager Christian Dobosiewicz.
Both cubs are doing well, Buffalo Zoo general curator Lisa Smith said.
“These guys are putting on a few pounds a week- every time you come, they’ll be a little bigger and bigger,” Smith said. “The kids are very precocious- they think tails are very fun toys.”
Zahra, the female cub, is particulary curious, Smith added.
“She’s most likely following mom around,” Smith said. “She has a little bit of a dark spot on her side that looks like a star.”
The cubs will be spending at least a year at the Buffalo Zoo.
If you plan on making a visit to the zoo to see the cubs, zoo officials just ask that you are considerate of other patrons while at the lion’s exhibit.
“We do have a line set up here to minimize crowds,” Dobosiewicz said. “We just ask that everyone be courteous and respectful of their fellow zoo-goers when they’re here- we know everyone wants to see them, and we’re still doing social distancing.”
Those who are fully vaccinated can now go maskless outside at the Buffalo Zoo, but all guests are still asked to wear a mask in indoor parts of the zoo.
Reservations with an arrival timeframe are required. You can reserve your timeslot here.
VIDEO | To see a video of the cubs from Thursday morning, click/tap here.
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.