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Triple treat: Lion cubs ready for public display at Kumamoto zoo

Three lion cubs are shown to the media at Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Kumamoto's Higashi Ward on June 10, 2019. (Mainichi/Kohei Shimizu)

KUMAMOTO -- Three lion cubs born in May were shown to the media at Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens here in southwestern Japan on June 10, ahead of their public debut the next day.

About three months after their births, the trio is scheduled for a move to a zoo in adjacent Oita Prefecture. Keisuke Kusano, 50, a zookeeper in charge of the animals, said, "I hope people enjoy seeing the cubs, which have recently opened their eyes, toddling about."

The cubs were born on May 9 and have spent much time suckling from their 5-year-old mother Kuria and playing together in their enclosure. According to the zoo, they are growing steadily and their weight has increased by three to four times from about 1 kilogram at birth and they have reached about 50 centimeters in length.

On June 10 in front of the media, the three cubs were at first cautious and didn't stray far from their mother after entering an outdoor exhibition area for the first time. But as time went on, they started to wander around and enjoyed feeling the dirt on their paws.

The zoo plans to put the cubs on display to the public daily from around 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. However, the facility places priority on their health so it may cancel exhibitions due to bad weather or if their condition is not good.

The trio will be named after voting from visitors to the zoo over a 30-day period from June 15.

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