DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – African lion cubs — Izwi, Ilola and Tadala — made their first public appearance at the Dallas Zoo yesterday.

Pride And Joy: Ilola and Tadala (credit: Dallas Zoo)

The baby girls, Ilola and Tadala were the first to take the big step out into the habitat. Their brother Izwi wasn’t quite ready for the paparazzi. He hung back and observed for a few minutes before following suite.

They’re the first litter delivered at the zoo since 1974, so yes — it’s kinda a big deal! The cubs were born on Aug. 17 after their mother, Bahati, underwent a cesarean section procedure.

The zoo said  the name of Izwi, a male, means “vocal” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe. Ilola, a female, is said to have undergone weeks of physical therapy to correct developmental issues in her legs, and was named after the phrase “to become strong” in the Sesotho language of South Africa. The name of Tadala, the third cub and also a female, means “we have been blessed” in the southeast-African Chewa language.


There was plenty of running, jumping, chasing, wresting, tail-biting, and of course, cuteness, as they explored and greeted their adoring fans. The cubs will continue spending time in the habitat and will be out for zoo guests to see for a few hours each day between bottle feedings.

Pride And Joy: Izwi, Ilola and Tadala (credit: Dallas Zoo)