Lion cub raised by dog after cub's mother rejects it

Everyone knows dogs rule the internet, but one pup who stepped in as an interspecies foster mother has really raised the bar.

It started in 2014, when a lion cub born at a zoo in Sri Lanka was rejected by its mother. Concerned zookeepers sought out a surrogate family for the cub, and found a potential candidate in a dog who had just given birth to a litter of puppies.

At first, the canine mom was hesitant to allow the cub into her inner circle, according to owner Heshan Mendis. “After five, six hours, the dog changed, and she treated the lion cub as her own pup,” he said. “She licked him and she loves the lion cub more than her pups."


In a video shared by BBC News, the sweet dog is even seen nursing the adorable little cub along with the rest of her biological babies; apparently, she nursed the cub for three weeks. The cub is even seen rough-housing with his new puppy siblings, who look thrilled to have him as a playmate.

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Of course, once the cub started to outgrow his domestic digs, he was relocated to a zoo, and eventually to a sanctuary. Today, he is a fully grown and glorious lion — a far cry from the Teddy bear delivered to Mendis’s home, although he admits the lion never forgot his foster family. Mendis still visits the cat, who lets the man pet him through the bars of his cage.

Lions might reject or abandon their cubs for any number of reasons, say veterinarians. The mother might not have enough milk, she might favor stronger cubs, or in rare instances she might reject a baby that’s had too much human handling.

Luckily, a mother’s love knows no bounds.

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