The babies of the N.Y.C. zoo’s pride do nothing but play everyday

By Helin Jung
Updated May 03, 2010 10:11 PM

What’s in a name? For the three new lion cubs at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, a lot is at stake.

Thousands of submissions in the zoo’s naming contest for the cubs, which debuted last week, have come in from around the world. New York City-area entrants have subsequently betrayed their loyalty to their borough of residence (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx); their baseball team of choice (Jeter, Rivera, Posada); or their favorite TV New Yorkers (Lucy, Ethel, Ricky).

The cubs, whose names will be determined in a public vote after May 16, have no idea that their names are causing such a stir among humans. The two female and one male siblings, born Jan. 27, have just been kicking back in their enclosure in the zoo’s African Plains exhibit, doing what lion babies do. Like the kids they are, they’re “doing nothing but playing every day,” according to WCS spokesperson Mary Dixon.

The birth of the three cubs has doubled the zoo’s lion pride, which also includes Mom and Dad, Sukari and M’wasi, and 1-year-old big sister Moxie.

“The cubs are just roly-poly, rolling all over each other,” Dixon tells “They chase the tails of their mom and dad, or try to jump on them if they’re sitting down.”

The two baby sisters stick together and are more focused than their brother, who tends to explore on his own or stay near his mother. Their designated keepers can already tell the three apart thanks to their distinctive coloring and physical features. (The brother is the lightest, and has the biggest head.)

To see the three lions in their playful cub state, head to the Bronx Zoo in the mornings, when they’re still full of energy and not resting in the shade. And to throw your hat into the naming ring, enter the zoo’s contest by May 8.