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Lion cub makes triumphant Zoo Miami debut

6:57 AM, Mar 14, 2014   |    comments
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Tender moments at Zoo Miami Thursday morning with a full display of love and affection between a lion and her cub for all to see.

"He is wicked cute," said Kadra Rice, a zoo visitor.

A three-month-old lion cub, after various health scares, finally made his big debut at Zoo Miami.

The lion cub, born at the zoo on December 15th, has faced several health challenges ranging from dehydration to bacterial infections.

After months of nursing, the lion cub has overcome obstacles and is now thriving under his mother's care.

On Thursday,  the cub along with his mother made their official public debut-marking the first time in Zoo Miami's history that a lion cub went on exhibit with its mother.

"I think when you have a mother and baby that crosses all species lines.  I think people can relate to that,"  said Ron Magill from Zoo Miami."

Named "Kwasi" after a famous African warrior, the zoo staff describes the 3-month-old cub as a fighter.

"Kwasi" was born to first-time mother "Asha," a lioness that was born at the Bronx Zoo in January of 2010. Though the cub's nourishment has been supplemented by the zoo staff, he has been able to remain with his mother-which is key to being properly socialized.

"This mother will discipline her infant, you'll see him come every now and then she will slap him and growl  at him.  Basically she will teach him how to become a lion," explained Magill.

The cub's father is one of two brothers, "Jabari" and "Kwame," born at the Racine Zoo in Wisconsin in September of 2007.

Until further notice, the zoo plans on opening the mother and cub exhibit until noon each day. They will spend their afternoons off exhibit in their den area while the two males are on exhibit.

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