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Meet Bahati, the lion cub who served as a model for Simba in 'The Lion King'

Bahati, an adorable lion cub in Dallas Zoo, served as an inspiration for animators while creating Simba. Photograph:( Facebook )

WION Web Team New Delhi Jul 26, 2019, 01.33 PM (IST)

Disney's remake of classic 'The Lion King' in live-action has opened to great response and is going strong at the box office. While the story was known to most - as it was based on 1997 classic- live-action provided a form of realism to the film.

The makers took inspiration from real animals while creating CGI images. Bahati, an adorable lion cub in Dallas Zoo, served as an inspiration for animators while creating Simba. 

Her full name is Bahati Moja which means ‘lucky one’ in Swahili and she was just a month-old when she was filmed two years ago.

“From walking on wobbly new legs to licking milk droplets off of her face, we captured every moment, no matter how small,” Dallas Zoo wrote while sharing a video on Facebook of Bahati. 


While speaking Dallas Observer, Kari Streiber, the spokesperson of the Dallas Zoo said, "We just happened to have a cub at the right time when they were in that phase of the film. So we were able to provide some reference points. Of course, we love to think we can see little bits of Bahati when we look at Simba now.

“We just happened to have a cub at the right time when they were in that phase of the film,” Dallas Zoo spokesperson Kari Streiber told the Dallas Observer. “So we were able to provide some reference points. Of course, we love to think we can see little bits of Bahati when we look at Simba now."

Bahati is now a fully grown lioness and weighs 260 pounds! “She certainly doesn’t look like the video we submitted back then, but she’s beautiful,” Streiber said.

Her name comes perhaps because of the circumstances she was born in. Bahati was the first lion cub born at the Dallas Zoo after over 40 years. She was born on St Patrick’s Day in 2017 through a scheduled C-section. Before her birth, her mother had previously delivered stillborn cubs.

Directed by Jon Favreau, the voice cast includes Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa. James Earl Jones reprised his role as Mufasa from the original movie.

Story highlights

Her full name is Bahati Moja which means ‘lucky one’ in Swahili and she was just a month-old when she was filmed two years ago.