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Lion cubs tumble into Reid Park
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Lion cubs tumble into Reid Park

Triplets make public debut

  • Reid Park's lion cubs Ayotunde, Abuto and Azizi, with their mother, Kaya.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comReid Park's lion cubs Ayotunde, Abuto and Azizi, with their mother, Kaya.
  • Reid Park's lion cubs Ayotunde, Abuto and Azizi.
    Reid Park ZooReid Park's lion cubs Ayotunde, Abuto and Azizi.
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com
  • Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com

A trio of lion cubs born in July made their public debut at the Reid Park Zoo on Tuesday morning.

The triplets, born to mom Kaya on July 28, had their first romp in the zoo’s lion exhibit as an invited group of zoo boosters oohed and aahed as the cubs sniffed out their new surroundings.

"They just came out onto to the exhibit for the first time for the public this morning," said zookeeper Alisha Brewer.

"It's been a phenomenal show," she said, as the 20-pound stars wrestled with each other and chewed on the scenery.

The two males: Ayotunde, meaning “joy has returned” in Yoruba; Abuto, meaning “I have hidden;” and the lone female, Azizi, or “precious” in Swahili, will be viewable during the mornings.

The proud father of the pride, three-year-old Shombay, will take over the exhibit in the afternoons, while the cubs rest and are cared for by four-year-old Kaya.

Because the cubs tire easily, the best chances of being able to see them are when the zoo opens, 9 a.m. daily, zoo staffers said.

"Kaya has been a fantastic mother," Brewer said. "She has just nailed it from the get-go."

"We're going to keep these cubs here until they're about two years old," said Brewer. "After that, they'll find homes in other zoos where they'll be able to have their own families."

Zoo members can view the cubs from 8-9 a.m. through Friday.

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