The circle of life! A lion at a zoo was entranced by a little girl’s Simba toy. Warning: Prepare for a cuteness overload.
The 5-year-old girl, Mila Chandler, holds her Simba stuffed animal up outside the glass encasement where a lion named Moto is housed at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The girl’s aunt Mary Jo Keltch Robertson captured the adorable interaction in a Facebook video posted on Sunday, July 22.
In the clip, the animal follows the toy everywhere the girl carries it, clearly taken with the Lion King character. Moto even scratches her large paws against the glass as she appears to want to reach out and grab the Disney icon. Imagine what she’d do if she ever saw the movie.
Sadly, Director of Animal Collections Kevin Drees does not think Moto had this type of reaction because she realized Simba is a lion, too. “There’s no movement involved. There’s no smell involved,” he told KOTV on Monday, July 23. “I think we have often times made papier-mâché items and we hide treats inside of them and so if anything, it might be, ‘Here’s a novel thing, I wonder what’s inside.’”
Leslie Chandler, Mila’s mother, addressed backlash from those who believe the little girl was taunting Moto. “She was not trying to tease the animal or taunt it in any way. She wasn’t being mean,” Leslie explained. “She just had her toy with her. She just needed her little stuffed animal to get through the morning. And this just happened.”
For her part, Mila enjoyed the experience: “It was fun because she played with me.”