Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$20 adults, $15 children

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Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
$20 adults, $15 children

View All Rates ›

Lion Cub Update

December 13, 2017

Lion Cub Update and Naming Opportunity Announcement

Pictures and video (updated with new video and pictures):

For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (December 13, 2017) – The lion cubs are continuing to grow and Blank Park Zoo veterinarians have upgraded the male cub from ‘guarded’ condition to ‘fair.’

“He is continuing to gain weight and we haven’t needed to supplement his diet for several days,” said Dr. June Olds, chief veterinary programs officer. “He is ‘keeping up’ with his sisters despite the fact he is smaller.”

Blank Park Zoo is announcing the opportunity for public input on the name of the new lion cubs. Between now and January 9, for a donation of $50 or more, you can suggest a name for one of the cubs. For a donation of $100 or more, you can suggest up to three names. On January 11, Blank Park Zoo will release the list of the names that are finalists for a public vote on the zoo’s website, The names will be announced on January 19. It is strongly encouraged the names submitted be in an African language.

“The non-profit Blank Park Zoo relies on donations by many individuals, groups and organizations for support. We wanted the public to have an opportunity to suggest names for the cubs while supporting the work of Blank Park Zoo,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO.

The lion cubs were born at Blank Park Zoo on November 14.

About African Lions
The African lion lives in savannas and semi-arid regions of east and south Africa. It is a carnivorous animal and diet in its natural habitat includes buffalo, zebra, antelope, giraffe and more. At Blank Park Zoo, they eat up to eight pounds of beef a day. Lions are the only social cat and live in groups called prides. Males are larger, have big manes for protection, while females are smaller, faster and excellent hunters. Unlike tigers, lions conserve energy and will sleep/rest up to 20 hours a day.

The IUCN lists the African lion as ‘vulnerable’ and populations are declining. Threats include loss of habitat because of human encroachment and poaching. Wild lions have seen a 42% decrease in the last 21 years, with approximately 20,000 – 30,000 remaining in natural areas and are regionally extinct in seven African countries.

Blank Park Zoo supports The Ruaha Carnivore Project which helps decrease lion/human conflict. The organization works with communities to build livestock enclosures and helps raise livestock guarding dogs that live alongside and bond with livestock, fiercely protecting them from carnivores. This protects the carnivores from retaliation from farmers. They also are researching lions to create more effective conservation efforts. Finally, they work with Massai tribes to host competitive sporting events for coming-of-age ceremonies that replace traditional lion hunts.

Pictures and Videos, located here:

About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. everyday this winter. (Hours are 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. on the Saturdays & Sundays of Night Eyes. The Zoo will be closed Dec. 24, 25, & Jan. 1.  Admission rates are $14 for adults, $8 for children under 12, and $11 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.


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