Cameron Park Zoo welcomes baby lion

Posted at 2:07 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 16:57:43-05

The Cameron Park Zoo announced the birth of a baby lion.

Baby Rey was born to mother Leia on Oct. 5, one day after her mother's fourth birthday. 

Rey is the first baby of Leia and her mate, 5-year-old Kaikane. Rey has been named by zoo staff, keeping with the Star Wars themed name of her mother. 

The baby has been inside the lion night house bonding with her mother but is now able to navigate the exhibit yard.

You can see her daily from 3 p.m to 4 p.m., weather permitting. The temperature must be 60 degrees or above with no precipitation in order for Rey to roam the exhibit.

Zoo staff says this is a very important birth as African lions are listed as "Vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This means the species is facing a high risk of extinction. The West African subpopulation has been listed as "Critically Endangered." 

The population of African lions has decreased by at least 43 percent since Cameron Park Zoo opened in 1993. 

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