It was amusing as a mischievous lion cub persistently tried to engage his father in play at the National Zoological Park in Washington, Columbia, US.
The playful cub could be seen yanking his father’s mane, gnawing on his fur, and playfully poking him on the nose, all trying to get him to play along.
Initially, the father lion reciprocated his cub’s playful gestures. Still, as the young lion continued his antics, Dad’s patience quickly wore thin. A sudden display of his fearsome teeth sent the young cub reeling.
Photographer Paul Sutherland, 54, captured these heartwarming yet humorous interactions. “I have connections with some of the staff at the zoo, and they invited me when the lion cubs were born,” Sutherland explained.
Sutherland has extensive experience as an editorial photographer and is passionate about creating meaningful images that tell a story.
He devoted considerable time to photographing these new arrivals, wondering what they might do next.
“When the alpha male, Luke, is out in the yard, the cubs come out with their mothers,” Sutherland shared.
Interestingly, the cubs often gravitate directly towards Luke, initiating play and seeking his attention.
But it’s only sometimes fun and games. When Luke has had enough, he lets out a roar. Despite his initial ferocity, Luke often gets a scolding from the mother lion.
Subsequently, he becomes more tolerant of the cubs’ antics, even for a few more minutes. “He’s quite mild-mannered for a lion, so if he gets told off, he’ll put up with the cubs a bit longer,” Sutherland added.
However, the peace wouldn’t last long. “Once a cub would grab his tail, Luke would become truly angry,” Sutherland explained.
It’s a quintessential example of nature at work, echoing human dynamics. When a child pushes their father too far, a firm “enough is enough” isn’t far behind.
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