© 2022 Cincinnati Public Radio
Connecting You to a World of Ideas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Find out the names of the Cincinnati Zoo's new lion cubs


Three lion cubs born at the Cincinnati Zoo have been referred to as “1, 2 and 3” since their birth last November.  But now they have proper names. 

The cub formerly known as 1 is now Huruma, which means compassion in in Swahili.  Cincinnati Zoo keepers picked that name to honor a colleague from the St. Louis Zoo who recently died.  Becky Wanner helped raise the cubs’ mother, Imani.  Huruma is also being referred to as Uma.

The second cub was named via social media.  In a press release, the Cincinnati Zoo says it received more than 2,000 suggestions through Twitter and Facebook.  Those potential names were then put up for a vote.  Kya received 32 percent of the vote.  The name means “diamond in the sky” and was suggested by seven people.

Western & Southern donated the funds for the lion exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and its employees chose the name of the third lion cub.  Willa was named to honor the former chair and CEO, William J. Williams. 

The cubs have been out of the public eye bonding with their mother since their birth on November 13, 2014.   Curator of Mammals Josh Charlton says they will soon be introduced to their father, John.  “The introduction process has already begun.  John and the cubs have had positive interactions during several nose-to-nose “howdy mesh” sessions. We’ll continue to monitor their behavior and will put the pride together when the time is right.”

This is the first litter for Imani and John. 

In October 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said African lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future and recommended they be added to the list of threatened animals on the Endangered Species Act.  

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.