The Besancon (beuz-an-sohn) zoo held off announcing the 31 December births until this week, afraid the two females and a male might not survive. Their mother let a single cub die last year, and the three are being kept from their father until zookeepers are sure he won't hurt them.
There are about 300 Asiatic lions in the wild, all in an Indian reserve, according to the WWF. About the same number are in captivity.
"Lions in captivity will not be reintroduced in nature – or probably not – because they are used to humans and might potentially be dangerous," zookeeper Guillaume Limouzin said.