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ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) - Four lion cubs have been born at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro and are the facility's first cubs since October 2006, zoo officials told local media outlets this week.

The zoo's African lions, Mekita and Reilly, bred at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Lion Species Survival Plan. That program will also ultimately determine where the new lions live, although North Carolina officials say that they hope the new cubs will stay in the state for up to a year.

Staffers haven't handled the cubs yet, so their gender and exact size is unknown. The staff will discuss how to name them later this week, and zoo visitors will be able to view them this fall, officials said.

For now, the public can see the cubs via a video posted on the zoo's Facebook page, and officials said they are looking into ways to give visitors more behind-the-scenes views via video or a live camera feed.

On Saturday, the zoo is celebrating World Lion Day with games, crafts and lion education.

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