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>>

  • Washington state man pleads guilty to raping, killing 6-year-old girl

    Washington state man pleads guilty to raping, killing 6-year-old girl

    Sunday, February 18 2018 12:09 AM EST2018-02-18 05:09:56 GMT

    PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) - A Bremerton man has pleaded guilty to the rape and killing of a 6-year-old girl and faces a minimum 40-year sentence. The Kitsap Sun reports that 21-year-old Gabriel Gaeta pleaded guilty Friday in Kitsap County Superior Court to first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the 2014 death of 6-year-old Jenise Wright. Authorities arrested Gaeta in August 2014 but in February 2017 he was found incompetent to stand trial. He was medicated at Western State ...

    More >>

    PORT ORCHARD, Wash. (AP) - A Bremerton man has pleaded guilty to the rape and killing of a 6-year-old girl and faces a minimum 40-year sentence. The Kitsap Sun reports that 21-year-old Gabriel Gaeta pleaded guilty Friday in Kitsap County Superior Court to first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the 2014 death of 6-year-old Jenise Wright. Authorities arrested Gaeta in August 2014 but in February 2017 he was found incompetent to stand trial. He was medicated at Western State ...

    More >>
  • Former UW student sentenced for killing another student in drug-fueled rage

    Former UW student sentenced for killing another student in drug-fueled rage

    Sunday, February 18 2018 12:00 AM EST2018-02-18 05:00:45 GMT

    SEATTLE, Wash. (AP) - A former University of Washington student who killed his girlfriend in what authorities describe as a drug-fueled rage has been sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison.    Twenty-three-year-old Casey S. Henderson received the sentence Friday in King County Superior Court for the 2016 killing of 22-year-old Katy Straalsund. Henderson in January pleaded guilty to second-degree murder domestic violence. Straalsund was also a student at the

    More >>

    SEATTLE, Wash. (AP) - A former University of Washington student who killed his girlfriend in what authorities describe as a drug-fueled rage has been sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison.    Twenty-three-year-old Casey S. Henderson received the sentence Friday in King County Superior Court for the 2016 killing of 22-year-old Katy Straalsund. Henderson in January pleaded guilty to second-degree murder domestic violence. Straalsund was also a student at the

    More >>
  • Police: Husband claims wife gave child hydrochloric acid as 'autism cure'

    Police: Husband claims wife gave child hydrochloric acid as 'autism cure'

    Saturday, February 17 2018 11:18 PM EST2018-02-18 04:18:44 GMT

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indianapolis police say a mother is accused of feeding her child a toxic homemade concoction in an attempt to "cure" the child's autism. FOX 59 reports that the woman's husband claims his wife put drops of hydrochloric acid and a water purifying solution containing chlorine into their child's beverage. The woman reportedly referred to the mixture as a "miracle mineral solution" and said she found the recipe on a Facebook group page.

    More >>

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indianapolis police say a mother is accused of feeding her child a toxic homemade concoction in an attempt to "cure" the child's autism. FOX 59 reports that the woman's husband claims his wife put drops of hydrochloric acid and a water purifying solution containing chlorine into their child's beverage. The woman reportedly referred to the mixture as a "miracle mineral solution" and said she found the recipe on a Facebook group page.

    More >>