Werribee Open Range Zoo’s precious trio of 10-week-old lion cubs now have names.
The monikers were chosen via an online naming competition where more than 360,000 Zoos Victoria members and donors had the opportunity to cast their vote.
The highest polling names are Mwezi (pronounced: Mw-e-zee), Kianga (pronounced: Kee-ang-uh])and Jango (pronounced: Jan-go).
The name Mwezi – meaning moon in Swahili – has been given to one of the male cubs because the litter was born during the evening of a full moon.
The name Kianga – meaning sunshine in Swahili – has been given to the female cub because she’s very bright and picks things up really quickly.
The name Jango – meaning brave in Xhosa – has been given to the second male cub because he’s extremely confident in exploring on his own.
The cubs are continuing to take opportunities to explore beyond the comforts of their den, venturing into their pride’s habitat.
Like many other newborns, they tire very quickly but the amount of time they explore and play will increase as they build their strength and resilience in the coming weeks and months.
Zoo visitors are encouraged to continue to check Zoos Victoria’s website and social channels, www.zoo.org.au and @zoosvictoria for updates about when the cubs will be visible for extended periods of time.
African lions are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, with their population declining to around only 39,000 in the wild in sub-Saharan Africa. The species is facing threats including human-wildlife conflict, poaching and habitat destruction.