I've got my hands full aping Mum: Orangutan cradles lion cubs in unlikely babysitter role
Nothing beats cuddles with mum.
But when she's no longer around, these two lion cubs can rely on the most unlikely of babysitters.
Hanama, a three-year-old male orangutan, is only too happy to cradle Skukuza and Simh, who are both male and a month old.
Aping around: Orangutan Hanama cuddles two baby lion cubs. He formed a bond with them as soon as he met them
The ape formed a bond with the
boisterous cubs as soon as he met them, according to their keepers at
Myrtle Beach Safari, in South Carolina in the United States.
Hanama lies on his back to let the
month old lions relax on his stomach and is often caught gazing down
affectionately at the cubs before hugging them.
The park’s director, Dr Bhagavan Antle, said: ‘Hanama is very smart and he was brought in to babysit the cubs.
‘He took to them straight away and
watches over them as they play. He runs about with them and sometimes
picks them up to have a cuddle.
‘He will occasionally balance them in his arms and shows them a lot of love.’
It is standard practice for cubs at
the park to be taken away from their parents at birth, because they are
thought more likely to survive.
the cubs will have to be separated from Hanama in about six months
because they will have grown too large for him to handle.
‘They will grow apart eventually, it’s inevitable,’ Dr Antle said.