Cub Scouting: What’s the Future Hold for the Zoo’s Baby Lions?

Peering into the crystal ball for Philly's newest, furriest celebrities.

The news cycle in Philadelphia this week, like the news cycle in Philadelphia most weeks, has sucked. AC casinos are shutting down, but not before providing public fodder for horrendous national controversies. Phillies are falling like flies. Parents are suing the school district over deplorable conditions. College students, college presidents, school teachers, and police officers are dying. Temple kids are beating each other up over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Now that the national spotlight has snatched our girl Mo’ne Davis from us, we’re in serious need of a good, meaty story (not involving weed) right now. Where do we turn in this time of depressing desperation?

Baby lions!

These past few days, sucky as they may have been, also marked the public debut of the Philadelphia Zoo’s quartet of tiny African cats, born to parents Tajiri and Makini. (“Lions and tigers and — more lions,” the South Jersey Times succinctly observed.) These adorable little bastards, so new that we don’t even know their genders yet, have been around since June, but only emerged from momma Tajiri’s lair at First Niagara Big Cat Falls last weekend. (There’s video!) Since they have names and there are four of them, the first logical step was to give them the “Beatles T-shirt we wore a lot at college” treatment:

But beyond their names, their individual markings and the irrefutable fact that we’d all like to smoosh their faces like fresh-baked croissants, there’s very little we know about our lions at this juncture. But that shouldn’t stop us from integrating them into our lives to help things run more smoothly, like little furry probiotic supplements. This presents an excellent opportunity to craft 100% fake apropos-of-nothing narratives for each bubba, to help predict how they will shape the future of Philadelphia’s citizenry. All hail The Year of the Big Cat!

If these mini-lions somehow don’t do it for you, a) seek professional help, and b) you’ve still got grandmas accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook to help you feel better.


With distinctive markings on both front feet, it’s pretty clear that this tiny lion has a penchant for fine craftsmanship. Couple that with a natural ease and grace in front of large, enraptured crowds, and Kasaba becomes a clear front-runner to succeed Johnny Doc as the city’s premier labor-union icon. It’s either that or a successful career in close-up magic.


This one has no distinguishing marks of note, meaning it’s the baby lion version of one of those ethnically ambiguous on-screen public figures everyone loves, like The Rock. Show biz is an obvious avenue, but Mali will decide to eschew Hollywood and stay local, starring in a revamped version of the Steak ‘Em Up television campaign that raises the South Philly sandwich shop to international prominence. After the conclusion of its acting career, Mali will open a chain of popular new and used car dealerships in Bucks County, driving Mike Piazza into bankruptcy.


The light mark on Msgina’s left front paw can mean only one thing — once Cole Hamels retires from the Phillies, this cat is destined to become the franchise-leading LHP mound hound. After progressive commissioner-in-waiting Rob Manfred takes power of Major League Baseball and institutes the controversial “Air Bud Clause” allowing animals to compete for roster spots, Msinga becomes the most dominant Phils southpaw since Steve Carlton, and also tempers the wandering eye of the Phanatic, convincing the famously lecherous mascot to settle down and start a family in nearby Moorestown.


The Eagles’ place-kicker woes are cured on a permanent basis once Sabi, whose left-hind-foot markings grant it immeasurable power and accuracy, out-competes Cody Parkey en route to becoming the winningest special-teams player in Eagles history. The cat will boot an NFL-record 72-yard field goal to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in a 2016 playoff game, earning a place in the hearts of Philadelphians forever by mauling Tony Romo during the post-game handshake.

Follow @DrewLazor on Twitter.