OKC Zoo announces African lioness Dunia is pregnant | Community

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo is roaring with excitement this World Lion Day, an annual occurrence on August 10 that celebrates the majestic African lion, with the thrilling announcement that its African lioness, Dunia, is pregnant!  

Dunia, 6, is due to give birth to her first offspring late September 2022.

The OKC Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan®(SSP) for African lions which made the recommendation for Dunia to breed with the OKC Zoo’s male lion, Hubert, 10.

This will be the first offspring born to this breeding pair.

SSP programs oversee the population management of select species within AZA member zoos and aquarium, the press release states. 



The OKC Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan®(SSP) for African lions which made the recommendation for Dunia to breed with the OKC Zoo’s male lion, Hubert, 10 (pictured). Photo provided.

“This is an incredibly significant and successful breeding recommendation for Dunia and Hubert as it has been 15 years since the last litter of African lion cubs was born at the OKC Zoo,” the release adds. 

“We are extremely excited for this upcoming birth, especially after nearly 15 years since our lion family has grown,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “The opportunity to watch Dunia and the rest of the pride experience this addition is going to be incredibly special for our team members and guests. With African lions listed as a vulnerable species, each birth is vital to the continued success of this species.” 

The OKC Zoo’s veterinary care team confirmed Dunia’s pregnancy through ultrasound monitoring and following an approximately 100-day gestation, she is expected to give birth in September. Carnivore caretakers say Dunia is healthy and her routine will remain the same throughout her pregnancy.

The carnivore care team will continue to work with the Zoo’s veterinary team to monitor Dunia’s pregnancy through ongoing exams and ultrasounds.

Dunia voluntarily participates in her own health care including medical behaviors such as ultrasounds through positive reinforcement training. Because of this successful training program, this process is a stress-free and comfortable experience for Dunia, Boyd stated.  

African lions are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with wild populations decreasing due to illegal hunting, habitat loss, loss of food sources and conflict with humans.

It is estimated that the total population of lions in Africa is less than 40,000 mature individuals.

In 2021, the OKC Zoo provided money from its Round Up for Conservation Fund to help three conservation organizations based in Africa with their efforts to reduce human-predator conflict. These organizations provide local farmers with livestock guard dogs and predator-deterrent enclosures in exchange for commitments from the farmers not to harm predators, including lions, on their land. This keeps both livestock and predators, including lions, cheetahs and African painted dogs safe. Through the Round Up for Conservation Fund, OKC Zoo’s guests are helping protect lions and hundreds of other species around the world. 

Lions are found throughout most ecoregions of Africa – forest, savanna, shrubland, grassland and desert – and are the most social of all cats. They live in groups called prides that average about 15 members, but can range from 3 to 40. Females usually live with the same pride for life, but males often leave when they are a few years old.  

The Zoo’s Lion Overlook habitat is home to its lion pride including Hubert, Dunia and her sister, Moto, 6. Dunia and Moto, arrived at the Zoo in 2018 from AZA accredited Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon as part of a breeding recommendation made by the SSP for African Lions.

Guests will most often see Hubert, Dunia and Moto lounging at their habitat hilltop at Lion Overlook. 

While visiting the OKC Zoo, guests are encouraged to attend a carnivore caretaker chat held at Lion Overlook. These free informal chats occur daily at 10 a.m. and are a great way to learn more about the Zoo’s big cats and other predators from the experts themselves, the carnivore caretakers.  

The Oklahoma City Zoo is in its summer hours and open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the last entry no later than 2 p.m. through Wednesday, August 31.

Purchase advance tickets for general Zoo admission a okczoo.org/tickets. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

To learn more, call 405-424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.  



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