Surprise! Racine Zoo announces third lion cub is born hours after first two

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RACINE (WITI) -- After just officially announcing the birth of two lion cubs on Monday, Azizi, the Zoo’s female lion, gave birth to a third cub about five hours after its siblings.

The announcement of the third cub was delayed until Zoo staff felt more comfortable about its condition. As of Tuesday morning, all three cubs are nursing and doing well.

FOX6 News learned cubs are usually born one-and-a-half to two hours apart. That's why the third cub came as such a surprise -- it was well outside the normal birthing window. And with lions, unlike humans, ultrasounds aren't very practical -- which means you really never know how many cubs to expect.

"For ultrasounds for a large cat like this, the only way we really would be able to do that is to sedate the lion to be able to really confirm the pregnancy with a large cat. We don't want to sedate them any more than we have to and so we just really go by the observations," said Theresa Donarski, Curator of Conservation and Animal Care, Racine Zoo.

While Aslan, the father of the cubs, has access to his outdoor exhibit, he prefers to be inside with his new family, proving that once again, he’s a phenomenal dad. The cubs will remain quarantined for about six weeks before being officially introduced to their public exhibit and to ensure they are healthy and well-adjusted around people.

The two adult lions continue to be separated after the birth but Aslan, the father, is able to view Azizi and the cubs while he continues to have access to the outdoor exhibit in Great Cat Canyon. The “Pride of Racine” will be reunited when the cubs reach an appropriate age.


The Racine Zoo is open year round.  Current hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Admission rates are: Members and children two and under: FREE, children two to 15: $6, seniors: $7, and adults: $8. Racine County residents take $1 off with valid photo I.D. For more information on the Racine Zoo, its programs and events, visit, call 262.636.9189 and find them on Facebook and Twitter.


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