In what officials at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore called a "bittersweet twist," the zoo is welcoming two lion cubs while mourning the loss of their mother.
The lioness Badu went into labor last Thursday. Two cubs—a male and a female—were delivered naturally, while two others had to be surgically removed and did not survive, according to a zoo release.
"While we are deeply saddened by the loss of this spirited cat, we now must turn our attention to caring for her young cubs," senior veterinarian Dr. Ellen Bronson said in the release. "They are only six days old, and are just beginning to open their eyes.”
Badu was attentive to the two surviving cubs, but had difficulty caring for them as she suffered suffered "complications" and died Monday afternoon, Bronson said.
“This is a tremendous loss for the zoo—Badu was a young cat, wonderful to watch on exhibit, and a good mate to Hassan,” zoo president and CEO Don Hutchinson said in the release. “But despite losing Badu, we should also remember that she left behind two new additions to our Zoo family. They are the first lion cubs born here in the history of this Zoo and are being cared for around the clock by our amazing staff.”
The two cubs will be cared for off-exhibit, according to the release, but the cubs' father Hassan will remain in the zoo's lion exhibit.