We thought the animated baby Simba in the new live-action remake of The Lion King was enough for us, but meeting the real-life cub is another level of baby lion cuteness.
Which is why, we can’t thank Dallas Zoo enough for sharing photos and a video of Bahati, the two-year-old lioness that became the basis and model of animated Simba.
“When Bahati was just a month old, we provided Disney with video of her movements for their animation team to use for motion and behavior reference when designing Simba in The Lion King,” Dallas Zoo said in their Facebook post. “From walking on wobbly new legs, to licking milk droplets off of her face, we captured every moment, no matter how small. So now you MUST go see Disney’s The Lion King, and let us know if you see any bit of baby Bahati in Simba.”
The zookeepers filmed all Bahati’s movements for about a week, and observed her. According to LadBible, this was the first time the zoo helped create a major motion picture.
Lora Baumhardt, a carnivore specialist at Dallas Zoo, told local TV station Fox 4 that with the movie and footages, Bahati is now considered one of the most famous lions in the country.
“We had our phones on us at all times. We were able to capture moments of her nursing, the first time she ate meat, to walking and running and climbing, even drinking out of water bowls and stumbling over logs and going through doorways,” she said.
The Lion King, starring Beyonce, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Seth Rogen, is in cinemas worldwide.
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