Naples Zoo celebrates its first lion birth in 30 years

13-year-old Shani with her three African lion cubs at the Naples Zoo
Posted at 7:01 AM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 11:53:57-04

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — A zoo in Southwest Florida is celebrating the birth of three African lion cubs.

The Naples Daily News reports this is the first time in 30 years that the Naples Zoo has had lion cubs. The zoo announced the birth of the cubs on Thursday; one was born May 13 and two were born May 14.

The cubs and their mother, 13-year-old Shani, may be exhibited late this summer. The zoo says it will host a contest to name the cubs. It says zoo workers haven't gotten close enough to the cubs to know their genders or weights, but the cubs are being monitored through video feeds.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies African lions as vulnerable to extinction. They're endangered by illegal hunting, declining prey populations and habitat loss.