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Zoo names grouchy lion Father of the Year

by: PHOTO BY SHERVIN HESS, COURTESY OF THE OREGON ZOO. - The Oregon Zoo's own 'Grumpy Cat' is named 2014 Father of the Year.In honor of Father's Day, the Oregon Zoo has named an occasionally grouchy male lion its 2014 Father of the Year.

African lion Zawadi Mungu is the father of three not-so-little kittens born at the zoo last Sept. 7. In video released by zoo, Mungu frequently seems annoyed by the cubs, which playfully pounce on his mane and tail.

“I think Zawadi’s an excellent choice for Father of the Year,” said Laura Weiner, senior keeper for the zoo’s Africa section. “For a lion, being a father is more about protecting your offspring than playing with them. And Zawadi’s been great about watching over his cubs — while at the same time allowing them to use him as a jungle gym.”

According to zoo officials, its three adult lions — Zawadi, Neka and Kya — came to the Oregon Zoo in 2009 based on a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for African lions. Zawadi, the male, came from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the females, Neka and Kya, came from the Virginia Zoo and Wisconsin’s Racine Zoo respectively.

The video of the lion's first encounter with the cubs has logged more than 1.9 million views on the zoo’s YouTube channel. It can be seen at: www.youtube.com/watch?list=UU3oWOleSolsVhal5krntOlg&feature=player_detailpage&v=r7h4TESJs7M

Video taken earlier this week of the lion with his cubs can be seen at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzWUd3Xz4_U