Oregon Zoo Lion Cubs Meet Their Father

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An African lion at the Oregon Zoo named Zawadi Mungu recently met his triplet cubs for the first time. The rambunctious trio reduced the 500-pound king of the jungle into a play pal in the Portland zoo's "Predators of the Serengeti" habitat.


Zawadi was filmed in the outdoor enclosure with his three 6-month-old cubs, Kamali, Zalika and Angalia, who were all vying for his attention. The siblings were first introduced to their father in an indoor den several days before the group's outdoor play session.

"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 lead keeper Laura Weiner.

Once outside with Zawadi and female lions in the pride, including mother Neka, the cubs were less daring in their approach. Zawadi fought for space while surrounded by lionesses and cubs alike.

"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.

After initially attempting to intimidate the young cubs with his roars, Zawadi eventually accepted their attention as they approached him on the boulder. The energetic and playful triplets tried to play with their father, who has grown increasingly tolerant of their presence since their first meeting.

"At first he was surprised but as time passed, he grew more patient. A few days later, he was grooming them," Weiner said.

The lion family will continue to spend time together in its outdoor habitat where the public can visit them until the cubs are 1½ – 2 years old. Once they reach that age, the cubs will be moved to other accredited establishments within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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