The Oklahoma City Zoo is asking the public to help choose names for new African lion cubs.
Lioness Dunia, Swahili for the Earth, gave birth to three females and one male on September 26 in the zoo’s Lion Overlook habitat. “The mother and her cubs are in good health and will remain in the indoor arenas at the Lion Overlook while they spend time bonding together,” the zoo said in a statement on its website.
The cubs are the first African lion cubs at the facility in 15 years, a zoo representative told CNN. Before the cubs are old enough to be put on public display, they will need names.
“Animal births are very exciting and often meaningful like the birth of our African lion cubs…and we love offering our guests and wildlife enthusiasts around the world the opportunity to help name these animals,” the representative said.
The zoo gave three groups of names to vote for:
- Group 1 is inspired by African names: Neema (Grace), Zahara (Flower), Makena (Happiness) and Mshango (Surprise).
- Cluster 2 includes options honoring the mother’s name: Nyasi (grass), Mlima (mountain or hill), Mti (tree or wood) and Mwamba (rock).
- Group 3 is Oklahoma-inspired names: Ada, Alva, Talimena, and Shawnee.
The public can vote on the OKC Zoo’s website until Monday, November 7th. The zoo officials will announce the names of the winners on November 9.
“We are thrilled with the responses and votes we have received so far and encourage everyone to continue voting every day to name our lion cubs and be a part of this meaningful event,” said the zoo representative.
African lions are considered “vulnerable” because wild populations are declining due to illegal hunting and habitat loss, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.