A star is born

Earlier this month,  20th Century Fox and Walden Media presented a monetary gift to the National Zoo to support the  Zoo’s great-cat conservation, research and public education programs. Actors Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes from the motion picture Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader joined Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and lion keepers to name one of the Zoo’s seven lion cubs “Aslan” after the majestic lion in the movie.

“We are grateful to 20th Century Fox and Walden Media for their generosity and proud to name one of our cubs after the character in the beloved books by C.S. Lewis,” Kelly said. “The fictional Aslan is wise, fearless and regal. The real-life Aslan will play a key role in conservation as an ambassador for his species.”

Aslan is one of three lion cubs born Sept. 22 and one of seven cubs born at the Zoo this year. The two litters are the result of years of careful research and observation and the first for the Zoo in more than 20 years. Aslan was born to female lion Nababiep and male lion Luke. The other cubs will be named by keepers, Zoo supporters and through a naming contest open to everyone.  Henley and Keynes met Aslan the morning of Dec. 10.

Aslan seems somewhat less than thrilled with the occasion.

“We are very excited to be a part of this very special event,” said Henley. “The fictional Aslan and his world have been such an important part of our lives for the past several years.”

Keynes added, “It’s wonderful to see how he’s inspired these important conservation efforts.”

Several lion cub cams are online. To download photos of the cubs, visit the Zoo’s Flickr page. To follow the Zoo’s progress in building a pride and now caring for the cubs, read the updates from the Zoo’s lion keepers and check for news on the Zoo’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Posted: 17 December 2010
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