Adorable footage has emerged, showing the exact moment a lion dad meets his cub for the first time—winning more than a million hearts online.
Denver Zoo shared the video, and it shows lion dad, Tobia, crunching down on his front legs and instantly bending down to greet his baby cub.
The two generations met for the first time and the big lion's actions towards his son as he crouched down to interact won over the internet immediately. Many are praising the father for his gentle behavior.
A spokesperson of Denver Zoo, Jake Kubié, told Bored Panda:
"He's spent the last couple of months bonding with his mom (Neliah), dad (Tobias), and half-sister (Kamara) behind the scenes at Predator Ridge at Denver Zoo, and will soon make his big public debut in one of the outdoor habitats."
"He's all the things you might expect of a lion cub: playful, curious and energetic!"
This heartwarming video was just one of many "cub dates" Denver Zoo posts every other day to give the public a glimpse at their newest lion cub, who they've yet to name.
The zoo shares the videos to create awareness and raise funds for the lions both in the zoo and in the wild by allowing the public to pick a name for the newly born cubs.
Commenting on the public's response to the adorable cub, Jake told the media:
"Everyone is extremely excited and anxious to pay him a visit once he makes his public debut. The weekly updates we've been posting to our social channels are met with an outpouring of 'Ohhs' and 'Ahhs.' [and] we're doing our best to give everyone their cub fix while they wait to see him in person!"
This cub was named Tatu, which is a Swahili word for number three (because the cub is Neliah's third offspring). His arrival into the world is a big deal for lion species.
Denver zoo recently reported:
"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. The cub's birth is a huge success for the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy, genetically diverse populations of lions within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions."
"We hope that by seeing our little lion cub, people will be inspired and take action to help protect their wild counterparts and other wildlife around the world."
The original footage of Dad lion and his son has been viewed more than 1.6 million times.