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Shera, a 5-year-old lioness at the National Zoological Park


On Aug, 31, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo welcomed this year’s second litter of African lion (Panthera leo) cubs. Five-year-old Shera (shown at right) gave birth to four cubs. It was Shera’s first litter and the first surviving litter for 4-year-old male Luke. Although the Zoo has managed lions in the past, it has been many years since it had the right combination of animals by age and gender to develop a pride. Doing so successfully has required extensive planning, knowledge of the species’ natural history and an understanding of the individual animals involved.


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