PHOTOS: Oregon Zoo Lion Cubs Venture Out With Dad For The First - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:26:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Avista thanks customers for patience during worst outage since 1996 ice storm

    Avista thanks customers for patience during worst outage since 1996 ice storm

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:34:10 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Avista is extending a heartfelt thank you to customers for their patience during restoration efforts in the wake of the worst storm damage since Ice Storm in 1996. For four days, Avista crews throughout the region, along with contract crews, worked around-the-clock to restore power to nearly 40,000 customers.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Avista is extending a heartfelt thank you to customers for their patience during restoration efforts in the wake of the worst storm damage since Ice Storm in 1996. For four days, Avista crews throughout the region, along with contract crews, worked around-the-clock to restore power to nearly 40,000 customers.
    >>
  • Fugitive profiled on CNN's 'The Hunt' killed in NYC shootout

    Fugitive profiled on CNN's 'The Hunt' killed in NYC shootout

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:16:19 GMT
    NEW YORK (AP) - Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that left the suspect dead and two federal marshals and a police officer wounded. The U.S. Marshals Service says it happened in the West Village when a fugitive apprehension task force tried to make an arrest.>>
    NEW YORK (AP) - Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that left the suspect dead and two federal marshals and a police officer wounded. The U.S. Marshals Service says it happened in the West Village when a fugitive apprehension task force tried to make an arrest.>>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:05 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:05:03 GMT
    WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply in three separate cases with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners.The FAA said Monday that beginning in 2006 Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners.>>
    WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply in three separate cases with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners.The FAA said Monday that beginning in 2006 Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners.>>