It’s not just humans who are struggling with the burden of unexpected extra childcare at the moment, as these remarkable photographs show.
Singa, an African lion, found his pack of five unruly cubs were more than a handful – or should that be pawful? – when mum was away.
Although he appeared to be trying his best, his parenting skills were not quite up to the task of caring for his young brood at Pakawi Park Zoo in Belgium while their mother, JJ, underwent medical treatment.
Singa, an African lion living in Pakawi Park Zoo in Belgium, struggled to look after his five cubs while mum was in hospital recovering from an injury caused by another lioness
Singa tried to lift the cubs to carry them to a safer place the way their mother would but did not know how to do it properly making them cry every time he came near them
Dad was gentle with the cubs and very tolerant of their tantrums but got a bit grumpy when they started to bite his tail
Wildlife photographer Linda Smit explained: ‘The mother was attacked by another lioness. She had severe injuries and had to be separated from her cubs for a few weeks to heal. So dad had to take care of them.
‘Although he was very gentle with the cubs, they screamed every time he came near and tried to move them. He was very tolerant with them, but he did get a bit grumpy when they were biting his tail.’
The cubs were clearly delighted when JJ was restored to health by zoo vets and returned to their enclosure, as the final picture shows.
When mum returned from the vets, fully recovered from her injury, the cubs were absolutely delighted to have their favourite parent back