I've got my hands full: Orangutan cradles lion cubs in unlikely babysitter role
Nothing beats cuddle time with mom. 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. 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.
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.
Sadly, 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.