First-time mom Naomi and her three male cubs are all healthy!
It’s a hat trick!
According to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, their lion cub triplets — three males who have yet to be named — successfully completed their first medical checkup.
Naomi the lioness gave birth to the trio on August 16 into August 17. The zoo shared in a Facebook post that the birth was a surprise to keepers, “since the cub’s late sire, Tomo, underwent a vasectomy in 2018 because his genes are strongly represented within the African Lion Species Survival Program (SSP) population. However, while rare, vasectomy procedures can sometimes fail in both humans and animals.”
Tomo mated with Naomi, who is also his daughter, after his vasectomy but before his “rapid health decline due to age-related issues.”
“Since female cubs stay with their birth pride, African lions in their native ranges are known at times to mate with their own offspring if another male has not been able to successfully establish himself as the new leader of the pride,” the zoo added.
Even though Tomo’s genes are strongly represented in the triplets, all of the cubs are healthy, and first-time mom Naomi is doing well too.
The recent checkup was conducted to weigh the little lions — all three are under 5 pounds — and check their joints, mobility, mouths, and abdomens.
During the wellness exams, Naomi rested in an adjacent room. Since keepers share a close, trusting bond with Naomi, the lioness, who is a great first-time mom, stayed calm throughout the triplets’ checkup.
For right now there is no public debut date set for Naomi and her three kids. The zoo says they will let the mother and her sons determine when they are ready to join the exhibit.