New lion cub 'Pilipili' makes debut at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo

The cub is the 1st African lion born at the zoo in 20 years, zoo says
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Lincoln Park Zoo's new African lion is making his public debut this weekend.

Pilipili, which means pepper in Swahili, is exploring the outdoor habitat for the first time under the watchful eye of his mom.

The cub was born on March 15 and is the offspring of 3-year-old female Zari and 4-year-old male Jabari, zoo officials said. He is the first African lion cub born at the zoo in 20 years, according to the zoo.

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The zoo released a video of the cub with its mother Zari.

"As the cub grows, he has become more curious and active and has been surpassing critical milestones such as leaving the den box and eating solid foods," said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray. "Zari, a first-time mom, has provided incredible maternal care to the cub from nursing to grooming."

His caretakers say he has continuously surpassed critical milestones and call him a curious cub.

"It was exciting to see him explore his outdoor habitat for the first time and see his inquisitive-nature in action. As he grows bigger and stronger, he'll have the chance to explore all of the unique features his habitat offers," Murray said.

The cub's name honors the Pepper family, whose donation enabled the zoo to transform its historic lion house into the Pepper Family Wildlife Center.

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The Lincoln Park Zoo cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the-art lion habitat Thursday morning.

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