TEXAS – The Dallas Zoo has announced three African lion cubs were born at the zoo in mid-August.

What You Need To Know

  • Cubs were born August 17

  • Won't make public debut for another 4-6 weeks

  • Mother was also born at the Dallas zoo

The three cubs, two females and one male, are named: Izwi (IS-we), which means “vocal” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, Ilola (ee-LOH-la), meaning “to become strong” in the Sesotho language of South Africa, and Tadala (ta-DAH-la), which means “we have been blessed” in the southeast-African Chewa language.

According to the zoo, the names were picked out by carnivore zoologists who researched names that would fit the personality of each animal.

Originally the zoo thought there were only two cubs when they conducted an ultrasound. The cubs are the offspring of two lions named Bahati and Kijani.


“We are overjoyed to see Bahati, who was our first lion cub in 43 years, become a mother and play a crucial role in protecting her species from extinction,” said Gregg Hudson, the Dallas Zoo’s president & CEO in a written statement. “These three cubs are the embodiment of resiliency, strength, and hope, which we hope can be a bright spot in our community right now.”

The cubs were delivered by Caesarian section after zoo officials.

“The cubs were not positioned correctly in Bahati’s birth canal, meaning that a natural birth would likely have had a negative impact on her health as well as the cubs’,” said Harrison Edell, the Zoo’s executive vice president of animal care and conservation, in a written statement. “Thanks to our veterinarians’ thorough preparation and decisive decision-making from our animal management team, all three cubs arrived without incident and are able to thrive under the close watch of our team and, of course, mom Bahati.”

Cub Ilola was born smaller than the other two cubs and Edell says she was having trouble walking and keeping up her glucose levels but after several weeks is improving.