Those who stopped by Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo Saturday got quite the treat: the chance to see one of the zoo’s residents make his debut.
A 10-month-old African Lion Cub named “Pilipili” ventured outdoors for the first time, accompanied by his mother, as zoo members looked on. “Pilipili” means “pepper” in Swahili and is an ode to the Pepper family, which funded the renovation of the zoo’s lion habitat.
“Pilipili has continuously surpassed critical milestones and grows more curious of his surroundings each day,” Mike Murray, the zoo’s curator of animals said in a news release. “This morning, 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, such as climbing trees for vertical complexity and thermal zones for cooling and heating.”
“Pilipili” spent weeks getting to know his pride before his public debut. The young cub was born on March 15 and is the offspring of 3-year-old female “Zari” and 4-year-old male “Jabari.”
As “Pilipili” traversed the outdoor exhibits, his parents were there by his side. All the while, his aunts “Cleo” and “Hasira” remained behind-the-scenes.