Moto the playful lioness is known to interact with guests through the viewing glass at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
But this time, she got to play with a young human and her lion (in stuffed animal form, that is) — and it was caught on video.
Oh, and Moto wasn’t just playing with any stuffed lion cub — it was Simba from “The Lion King.”
In the video, 3-year-old Moto was playing with Mila, who had brought Simba along to celebrate her fifth birthday at the zoo, KWTV reported.
Mila’s mom, Leslie Chandler, wrote on Facebook that she almost made Mila leave Simba in the car.
“Now I’m glad I didn’t!” she wote. “This was worth the whole trip!”
As soon as Mila walked up with Simba, Moto “completely ditched what was going on and just started pawing at the glass, trying to get her stuffed Simba,” Chandler told KWTV.
And the pawing continued.
As Mila moved the lion around, Moto would follow, the video shows. And after Simba “waved” his paw, Moto did, too.
Can you feel the love?
“Moto is a playful and curious youngster!” the zoo posted to Facebook. “When she’s not receiving enrichment from her caretakers, she is known to interact with Zoo guests through the viewing window of her outdoor habitat.”
Some people, though, were worried the lion was being taunted and reached out to the zoo.
“Moto is not stressed,” the zoo responded on Facebook. “She is a young, curious and playful animal who enjoys interacting with Zoo guests.”
Kevin Drees, director of Animal Collections at zoo, told KFOR that nobody really knows what Moto was thinking during the interaction.
“We think she likes a stimulating environment and, so, she actually comes down to interact with the people because she does have a choice,” he told the station.
Drees also told KWTV that he doubts Moto recognized that Simba was a lion just like her.
“There’s no movement involved. There’s no smell involved,” he told the station. “I think we have often times made papier-mache 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.”
Moto has been at the zoo for about six months, according to the zoo’s Facebook comment. She was brought in as part of a species survival plan for African lions.