PHOTOS: Oregon Zoo Lion Cubs Venture Out With Dad For The First - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PHOTOS: Oregon Zoo Lion Cubs Venture Out With Dad For The First Time

Posted: Updated:
Zawadi Mungu, proud father of the pride, is now spending time with his cubs. Zawadi Mungu, proud father of the pride, is now spending time with his cubs.
PORTLAND, Ore. - MOBILE USERS CLICK THIS LINK TO VIEW SLIDESHOW: http://bit.ly/1lDcie7

Zawadi Mungu, proud father of the pride, is now spending time with his cubs. He's a 500-pound mega-carnivore capable of pulling a buffalo to the ground, but Zawadi Mungu now plays a new role: cat toy.

Last week, the male lion ventured outside with his trio of energetic cubs for the first time, and demonstrated a remarkable tolerance for a flurry of pint-sized attacks on his mane, tail and patience. The cubs were first introduced to their dad in their indoor den a few days earlier.

"We were confident that Zawadi would be tolerant of his cubs right away, and we¹re glad we were right because the cubs rushed him as soon as they saw him," said Laura Weiner, senior keeper for the zoo's Africa section.

At first he was surprised, but as time passed he grew more patient. A few days later, he was grooming them. Outside, the cubs were less bold in their initial approach, as Zawadi towered over them from the top of the Predators of the Serengeti habitat. The cubs' mother, Neka, and the pride's other female, Kya, were close by. Within minutes, he had five female lions swarming him, Weiner said. I think all of that attention must have been overwhelming because he quickly jumped onto a boulder.

A video from that first outdoor encounter shows Zawadi holding his place on the boulder as the cubs repeatedly shower him with attention. The pride has continued spending time together outdoors, where they've also shared meals. The cubs, now 10 times their birth weight, rarely nurse.

Keepers say lion cub Zalika, who had a mild temperament in her infancy, is especially playful with Zawadi, jumping on him and biting his mane.

Visitors can see the lion family together on most days above 45 degrees.
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Spokane man honors the fallen with flowers

    Spokane man honors the fallen with flowers

    Saturday, May 27 2017 10:15 PM EDT2017-05-28 02:15:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Thousands of flags line Memorial Cemetery this weekend to honor those who died serving our country "I really feel that doing my little part... For instance by putting flowers on veterans I never met or known, is my way thanking them," said Mike Cavanaugh. Mike has been doing this for over 30 years. Going to graves of veteran's he has never met.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Thousands of flags line Memorial Cemetery this weekend to honor those who died serving our country "I really feel that doing my little part... For instance by putting flowers on veterans I never met or known, is my way thanking them," said Mike Cavanaugh. Mike has been doing this for over 30 years. Going to graves of veteran's he has never met.

    More >>
  • Counterfeit cash getting more advanced in Spokane

    Counterfeit cash getting more advanced in Spokane

    Saturday, May 27 2017 10:05 PM EDT2017-05-28 02:05:42 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - We've told you of counterfeit money being used to buy Girl Scout cookies, and movie money used at a gas station. Now a Spokane bank teller tells KHQ some counterfeiters are getting more advanced with their forgeries. "The first time it came to us as a local business who received two of them and they were just making a regular deposit," she said.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - We've told you of counterfeit money being used to buy Girl Scout cookies, and movie money used at a gas station. Now a Spokane bank teller tells KHQ some counterfeiters are getting more advanced with their forgeries. "The first time it came to us as a local business who received two of them and they were just making a regular deposit," she said.

    More >>
  • Emergency crews pull man from river in Spokane Valley

    Emergency crews pull man from river in Spokane Valley

    Saturday, May 27 2017 8:48 PM EDT2017-05-28 00:48:07 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Emergency rescue crews pulled a man from the Spokane River in the middle of training to do that exact thing. The Spokane Valley Fire Department reports that a man jumped from the Trent bridge just east of N. Pines Rd. into the Spokane River. The SVFD Special Operations team just happened to already be in the area conducting swift water training at the time and were able to quickly respond with Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies who were also near by.

    More >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Emergency rescue crews pulled a man from the Spokane River in the middle of training to do that exact thing. The Spokane Valley Fire Department reports that a man jumped from the Trent bridge just east of N. Pines Rd. into the Spokane River. The SVFD Special Operations team just happened to already be in the area conducting swift water training at the time and were able to quickly respond with Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies who were also near by.

    .

    More >>