A litter of lion cubs came into the world at the Dallas Zoo for the first time in 46 years.

The three cubs, one male and two females, were born via C-section on Aug. 17.

The 3-year-old lioness Bahati is their mother, and they are expected to make their public debut in the next few weeks.

The male cub is Izwi, the Shona word for “vocal.” The two females are Ilola, meaning “to become strong” in Sesotho, and Tadala, which means “we have been blessed” in Chewa.

The middle cub, Ilola, was norn with developmental problems with her legs, and she’s had physical therapy to correct it. Tadala, the third cub, was a surprise as she did not show up on ultrasounds.

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THE BEST NEWS YOU’LL SEE ALL DAY: We are overjoyed to share that our “baby” Bahati now has babies of her own! For the first time since 1974, we are welcoming a litter of THREE adorable African lions! The cubs – one male and two females – were born on August 17 via C-section and are all eating well, gaining weight, and spending time bonding with their mom behind the scenes. Bahati and her cubs will remain behind the scenes in their den for another few weeks before making their official public debut, and will gradually be introduced to their aunt Jasiri, grandmother Lina, and their father Kijani. Our zoologists researched names for each cub that perfectly match their personalities and unique circumstances. The first cub, a male, will be called Izwi (IS-we), which means “vocal” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe. Izwi came into this world with a strong personality and a lot to say! The second cub has been named Ilola (ee-LOH-la), meaning “to become strong” in the Sesotho language of South Africa. Ilola has overcome significant challenges to become strong; including weeks of physical therapy to correct developmental issues in her legs (we’ll share all the details on this incredible story later!). Bahati’s third cub will be called Tadala (ta-DAH-la), which means “we have been blessed” in the southeast-African Chewa language. During Bahati’s initial ultrasounds, it was clear that two cubs were developing, but during the birth, we were thrilled to find three cubs instead! Welcome to the Zoo family, Izwi, Ilola, and Tadala! These three have captured our hearts already, and we can’t wait to share more about them with you soon!

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