Some parents feel an immediate, loving connection when meeting their child for the first time. Zawadi, a male lion at the Oregon Zoo, is not that kind of parent.
Since their birth last fall, lion cubs Kamali, Zalika and Angalia have been cared for primarily by their mother and zoo staff. During the last week of February, the three girls were introduced to their father, Zawadi, who did not seem at all thrilled to have the energetic cubs in the enclosure.
In a YouTube video of the encounter, Zawadi is seen baring his teeth repeatedly at the cubs while they attempt to coerce him to play. The girls don’t seem to mind their father’s defensiveness too much, as they continually return to their dad for some more fun, even climbing on his back at one point.
Eventually, the cubs’ mother and another female lion walk into the enclosure to help monitor the bumpy get-together.
“I think all of that attention must have been overwhelming because he jumped onto a boulder,” Laura Weiner, the zoo’s lead Africa keepers, said in a press release.
The zoo reports that while the initial meeting may not have been oozing with love, Zawadi has since warmed up to his daughters.
“As time passed, he grew more patient,” Weiner said. “A few days later, he was grooming them.”