Here I was, foolishly thinking The Lion King was just a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet for kids using animals instead of people, but it seems it’s actually based on true events. Who knew?
Turns out, real-life lions exist, and they give each other real-life hugs just like in the movies!
Doing their best Simba and Mufasa impressions, a proud father lion was pictured happily hugging and playing with his cub in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya this week.
53-year-old Sabine Bernert, from Paris, caught the touching moment on camera as she documented the wildlife in the region. The photos show the young cub practicing his sneak attacks in the long grass while his loving dad watches and plays along.
Sabine was doing research for a children’s wildlife book.
The lion pretended he hadn’t seen the cubs until the last second. Then they started to play joyfully.
The photographer added:
I especially love the moment when the male lion is hugging the cub softly. The contrast between his brute strength and his gentleness, the huge size of his paw very softly holding the little cub.
Speaking about the playful encounter, Sabine continued:
I was amazed by the way this huge lion was playing so gently with the cubs… They really looked like they were enjoying themselves and having fun. With the delicate light of the sunrise, it was a pure moment of grace.
Meanwhile, Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King is coming to cinemas this summer, with Donald Glover playing Simba, James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as scar, and Beyoncé as Nala.
The Lion King is set to be released on July 19, 2019.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.