A moment of uninhibited maternal instinct was captured on camera by a 10-year-old visitor to a Miami zoo.
Amanda Carmeli was visiting the lion exhibit at Zoo Miami with her parents Aug. 3 when she captured on camera the zoo’s female lion, Kashifa, saving one of her cubs as the father, Jabari, looks on.
The 4-month-old cub had been roughhousing with its four siblings when it lost its footing and nearly fell into a moat, a zoo official said.
Kashifa is seen on the video with the cub firmly in her grip climbing up the embankment to put the cub back on solid ground.
According to a spokesman for Zoo Miami, this is not the first time one of the cubs has fallen into the moat, just the first time it was captured on video by a zoo visitor.
“The zoo is set up so the animals aren’t in cages,” Zoo Miami's Ron Magill told ABC News today. “They’re out in open-moated exhibits so there’s no barrier to prevent them from going into the moat.”
“It was always a concern of ours that the cubs may fall in the moat. so before they were let out in the exhibit they were each swim-tested,” he said.
Magill added that Kashifa has rescued her cubs from the moat before, so it was no surprise that she did it again in this instance.
“We were confident that the lion was a good mother,” Magill said. “She had demonstrated to us before that she would go into the water to rescue her cubs and she proved it once again in this video.”
Carmeli and her parents, who submitted their video to local ABC station WPLG, told the station that off-camera, the cub was greeted with comforting licks and attention from its family.
Outside the exhibit, you can hear the humans who were watching the rescue cheer Kashifa on.
Magill says the five cubs are the first litter of cubs to ever be born at Zoo Miami.