World & Nation

Watch: Lion cubs outdoors with dad for first time

Some king of the jungle!

New footage of goings-on at the Oregon Zoo in Portland show a handful of lion cubs on their first outing with their lion daddy. Translation: The video shows the threesome annoying the heck out of pops, with one going so far as to seemingly -- ouch! -- claw him in the butt.

Dear ‘ol dad does little more than bare his teeth, offer up a tepid roar and throw a weak paw in their direction as the young’uns run roughshod over him.

At one point, the lion seems to leap atop a rock and back away to get a breather from his brood.


Remove the mane, the fangs and the claws, and exchange the rock for an easy chair, and it would be a familiar sight to any dad who has ever tried to enjoy a little rest and relaxation with young children underfoot.

According to the zoo, the outing took place as part of a slow introduction of dad to his cubs. (Sometimes, lions can turn on their cubs in the wild.)

The 500-pound cat, named Zawadi Mungu, was introduced to the trio indoors earlier this year, with plenty of supervision. That successful first meeting paved the way for the recent outdoor romp.

“The cubs rushed him as soon as they saw him,” said the zoo’s lead keeper, Laura Weiner. “We were confident that Zawadi would be tolerant of his cubs right away .... At first he was surprised but as time passed he grew more patient. A few days later, he was grooming them.”


As for the outing, it took place while the cubs’ mother, Neka, and the pride’s other female, Kya, were close by, according to the zoo website.

Apparently, it was all a little ... much. Which might explain Zawadi’s leap out of the way.

“Within minutes he had five female lions swarming him, and I think all of that attention must have been overwhelming because he quickly jumped onto a boulder,” Weiner said.

That escape route didn’t keep the cubs at bay for very long.

At one point, a cub climbs up behind dad and appears to catch him in the rear with a claw!

For some fun reading, go to the zoo’s YouTube page and check out some of the comments on the video. We humans sure do love trying to decipher animal behavior. Some of the comments suggest that dad was trying to teach the upstarts a thing or two by his actions.

Caption it: What’s your best guess as to what this lion dad is thinking? Tweet me @renelynch



See First Lady Michelle Obama’s new look: Blond highlights

Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl always has a full plate: Infographic

#Fail: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gets daylight saving all wrong

Must-read stories from the L.A. Times

Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.