When a trio of lion cubs met their father for the first time at the Oregon Zoo, they weren’t shy about demonstrating their affection. They didn’t even seem to mind as the 500-pound cat named Zawadi Mungu growled, showed off a set of pretty impressive teeth and tried to swat them away.
“I would be angry too if my wife just shows up with a bunch of kids that I don’t even know if they’re mine,” one viewer wrote on YouTube, where the zoo recently posted a video of the unique encounter.
Zawadi met his cubs – Kamali, Zalika and Angaliain – in their indoor den a few days before the foursome ventured outdoors for the first time earlier this month, the zoo said in a statement. Despite any initial hesitations, he quickly warmed up to the cubs, which were born at the zoo last September.
“We were confident that Zawadi would be tolerant of his cubs right away, and we’re glad we were right because the cubs rushed him as soon as they saw him,” said Laura Weiner, the zoo’s lead Africa keeper. “At first he was surprised but as time passed he grew more patient. A few days later, he was grooming them.”
The cubs’ mother Neka, and the pride’s other female Kya, were nearby during the encounter and within minutes, five female lions had swarmed him. “I think all of that attention must have been overwhelming because he quickly jumped onto a boulder,” Weiner added in a statement.
The African lion pride shares meals and continues to spend time outdoors – at least on warm enough days. Zoo officials say the female cub Zalika is “especially playful with Zawadi, jumping on him and biting his mane.” Sounds like someone might soon have daddy wrapped around her little claw.
Photo Oregon Zoo