In the Denver Zoo, a beautiful moment was captured between a lion dad and his son that melted the hearts of thousands of people who viewed it on social media. The cameras inside the lion’s cage recorded a truly heartwarming moment when Tobias, the lion dad, met his newborn son Tatu for the first time.
Tatu was born to mom Neliah, who had already given birth to two cubs previously. He already weighed 12 pounds, and his birth was more significant than people might think. Half of Africa’s lions have disappeared in the past 25 years, and the species faces growing threats from poaching, loss of prey, and habitat destruction. Tatu’s birth was a huge success for the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy, genetically diverse populations of lions within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions.
Tobias, who had never fathered any cubs before, was particularly excited to meet his newborn son. His genetics were important to the AZA lion population, and he wanted to bond with his offspring. In the video below, you can watch their initial meeting.
As the video shows, Tobias approaches his son and sniffs him before backing away. Tatu, curious and playful, starts to approach his dad, and Tobias accepts him with a gentle nuzzle. They continue to interact, with Tobias licking Tatu and playing with him. It’s a heartwarming moment that showcases the love and bond between a father and his son, even in the wild.
While it’s true that lions can turn on their own cubs, this heartwarming moment between Tobias and Tatu showcases the love and affection that lions can have for their offspring. Tatu has since charmed visitors and staff alike at the Denver Zoo, becoming a star on social media.
In a world where wild animals face many threats, the birth of Tatu and the bond he shares with his father Tobias is a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts. The Lion Species Survival Plan is working to ensure that lions have a healthy and genetically diverse population, and Tatu’s birth is a step in the right direction.