As zoo reopens, lion cubs enjoy some winter sports

February 11, 2014 - 2:34pm

Neka's cubs spend the morning romping in their snow-filled habitat

The Oregon Zoo opened to visitors for the first time in four days this morning, and those who sloshed their way through the gates early got a rare treat: the chance to see three 5-month-old lion cubs romping in the snow. Like many youngsters in the region, Neka's cubs couldn't wait to get out and play in the white stuff.

"When we opened the door this morning, they just bolted out," said Laura Weiner, senior keeper for the zoo's Africa section. "They've been going nonstop — running, chasing each other, rolling in the snow, pouncing on each other, swatting at the adult lions, Neka and Kya. They have access to their indoor space too, but they refuse to stop moving, so they're not getting cold."

Weiner, who's been following the Sochi games, said Neka's 5-month-old cubs may have come up with a new winter sport: "snow wrestling."

They've also been developing their balance and strength, Weiner said, by hopping onto the large boulders in their habitat, which are modeled after African kopjes (natural rock formations commonly found on the Serengeti plains).