It was a Christmas present years in the making. The Detroit Zoo has announced the birth of its first lion cub in 40 years.

The lion cub is named Binti, meaning “daughter” in Swahili, was born September 10, 2020 according to the Detroit zoo press release just before Christmas. She is the first lion born at the Detroit Zoo since 1980. Binti’s mother, 4-year-old lioness Asha. 

The cub was born via cesarean section, but unfortunately three of Asha’s other cubs were stillborn. According to the press release it was a tough delivery for both mom and baby. 

The Detroit Zoo’s new addition was under the constant care by DZS for the first weeks of her life, when she lived in an incubator and was given daily bottle feedings from 6 a.m. to midnight. because of the tough surgical delivery and mom Asha’s life-saving surgery and recovery meant that the normal bonding process between mother and baby could not occur, but the cub was able to form a  strong bond with her aunt, Amirah. 

“She has grown so much, has a lot of energy, and is very curious and playful,” said Elizabeth Arbaugh, DZS curator of mammals. “She is learning to live with other lions, starting with her aunt, Amirah. We expect that she will eventually live with her entire family as a member of the Detroit Zoo pride.” The new cub was under the constant care of DZS staff for the first several weeks of her life, when she lived in an incubator and was given daily bottle feedings from 6 a.m. to midnight. Because of the tough surgical delivery.

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The Detroit Zoo is thrilled with their latest family member's arrival waiting years for the right time arrive. Over the past few decades the Detroit Zoo has focused mainly on rescuing lions from bad situations and hasn’t attempted breeding. 

Guests to the Detroit Zoo may be able to catch a glimpse of Binti and the other lions once temperatures warm up a little. According to DZS lions are normally seen outside unless temperatures are below freezing so she not be visible to guests when temperatures are below 40 degrees. 

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