In late August and early September, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s two lionesses each gave birth to a litter of cubs. The zoo is now holding a contest to name two of the seven cubs—one female and one male—and Defenders has names in the running for both of them!
Watch the videos below explaining the names we’ve submitted and then visit the Zoo’s website to cast your vote! The deadline for voting is 12 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15th.
Female Cub: Nasera
Nasera means “leader” in the Maasai language. It is also the name of a courageous conservationist in Kenya fighting to save the lives of lions. Watch Defenders President Rodger Schlickeisen explain why he chose Nasera’s name to represent the female cub.
Male Cub: Metiaki
Metiaki means “courageous” and is also the name of a Maasai conservationist fighting to save lions in Kenya. Watch Caroline Kennedy, Senior Director of Field Conservation Programs at Defenders, explain her choice.
The lion is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable symbols of the African landscape. But you may not be aware that this majestic icon’s very survival is being threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, conflicts with humans, poisons and unsustainable international trophy hunting. African lion numbers have declined significantly over the last century and today as few as 16,000-23,000 remain in all of Africa.
African lion numbers have declined significantly over the last century and today as few as 16,000-23,000 remain in all of Africa.
Defenders is contributing funding to the innovative—and highly successful—Lion Guardians program developed by Living With Lions. The program employs Maasai warriors—who traditionally kill lions to demonstrate their bravery—as Lion Guardians, who now monitor and protect lions instead of killing them.
Vote for Nasera and Metiaki today!
The lion cub names submitted by Defenders came out of our work with these wildlife heroes.
Your vote will help honor the work they’re doing every day to save African lions. Please vote for Nasera and Metiaki today!