It’s not just humans who are struggling with the burden of unexpected extra childcare right now, as these remarkable photos show.
Singa, an African lion, discovered that his pack of five unruly cubs was more than a handful, or should that be a claw? – when mom was away.
Although he seemed to be doing his best, his parenting skills weren’t up to the task of caring for his calf at Pakawi Zoo in Belgium while his mother, JJ, underwent medical treatment.
Singa, an African lion living at Pakawi Zoo in Belgium, struggled to care for her five cubs while her mother was in hospital recovering from an injury caused by another lioness.
Singa tried to pick up the cubs to a safer place like their mother would, but she didn’t know how to do it correctly, making them cry every time she got near them.
Dad was kind to the pups and very tolerant of their tantrums, but he got a little grumpy when they started biting his tail.
Wildlife photographer Linda Smit explained: “The mother was attacked by another lioness. She had serious injuries and she had to be separated from her pups for a few weeks to heal. So dad had to take care of them.
“He was trying to pick them up, like the mother would, to get them to what he probably thought was a safer place. But as a man, he didn’t have the skills or experience to lift them properly.
“Although he was very gentle with the puppies, they would yell whenever he got close and tried to move them. She was very tolerant of them, but she would get a bit grumpy when they bit her tail.
The cubs were clearly delighted when the zoo vets restored JJ to health and returned to his enclosure, as the final image shows.
When mom returned from the vets, fully recovered from her injury, the pups were absolutely delighted to have their favorite dad back.