National Zoo Lion Cubs Go To School (With Pictures)

National Zoo lion clubs start learning their lessons.

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It was just a month and a half ago that the National Zoo in Washington debuted seven new and cute lion cubs and in a "my how fast they grow up moment," they are already at school. The cubs had their first day of school on Monday, facing three activities designed to condition them to respond to commands. Actually, only six of the cubs made it to class. Lelie, one of the seven cubs born in two litters this summer, "chose not to participate," the zoo purrs in a web update.

How do you teach a lion cub? One of the first exercises was called "loading the whistle," where the cubs were fed small meat balls at the sound of a whistle blast from zoo personnel. Lesson two involved teaching the cubs their own names. In this exercise, the keepers called out the cubs' names as the whistle was blown and they were fed another treat. In the third exercise, cubs were rewarded when they touched a target with their noses.

The cubs are trained inside, but they also have recess, heading outside into their enclosure for about an hour each day. Here's a look at the cubs at play this weekend.

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