Lion King in real life? Watch lion dad meet his cubs for the first time

One of the most famous (and maybe best) Disney movies of all time HAS to be Lion King. From the opening lines in Zulu that we all try to sing along with, to the final scenes in battle, the movie is a touching testament to the power of love, family, and leadership. Too bad it isn’t real… or is it?

While this video isn’t exactly like Lion King, it’s close!

Arguably one of the best parts about Lion King is the relationship between Simba and Mufasa. That father-son relationship brings a tear to many eyes when they happen to watch the movie! That moment when Mufasa slips and falls is heart-wrenching for many to see. There seems to be something “extra” special about the relationship between a king and a king-to-be.

At the Oregon Zoo, we got to see a similar relationship play out in real life!

Zawadi Mungu is a super predator that weighs in at 500 lbs. He has massive paws, a fluffy mane, and a roar that could scare an elephant. Nowadays, however, Zawadi is playing dad! The African lion recently fathered some cubs and is learning what it’s like teaching his little ones their manners.

Laura Weiner is the lead keeper at the zoo and told the story of their first interaction.

In the movies, the papa lion is a caring and gentle leader who always looks out for the best of the tribe. While that sounds beautiful, it isn’t always the case in real life. The zoo wanted to do their best in keeping things calm to ensure a good meeting.

The cubs met their dad in the den for the first time and later went outside to meet him under looser rules.

The three cubs first met their dad while safe in the den where their mother, Neka, kept a close eye. With their first interaction under their belts, the keepers felt confident taking things to the next level – outside playtime!

“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, lead Africa keeper. “At first he was surprised but as time passed he grew more patient. A few days later, he was grooming them.”

You can tell that Zawadi is learning the ropes of fatherhood!

Watching the small energetic cubs make a toy out of their massive dad is quite hilarious. The best part is that we all get to see it! The Oregon Zoo recorded the whole experience so we can watch. The four lions run around and play, just like a little family.

At one point. Zawadi jumps up onto a rock to try and get away from the annoying little claws of his kids!

Like any parent knows, no matter how far you run, your kids will always find you. Despite the getaway attempt, the cubs found a way up and were right back to pestering the apex predator.

Even with a warning roar or two, the cubs pay their dad’s sharp teeth no mind.

Calling him on his bluff, the cubs continue on with their outdoor frolicking, oblivious to the immense power of their cranky dad. If there’s one thing we know about cranky dad, it’s that they are all bark and no bite!

Check out the video below!

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Victoria Do

Victoria Do is a contributor at Jackie Inc.

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