Father Balu has formed an unusually tight bond with his female cub Diva.
|Family portrait: Balu cuddles daughter Diva while giving mother Masha a reassuring pat on the head|
|Balu appears to blow a raspberry on the tummy of baby Diva at the Primorsky Zoo in eastern Russia|
Keepers at Primorsky Zoo in Russia were stunned by Balu’s unusual devotion to his daughter.
Zoo director Elena Aseidulina, 34, who took the photographs, said: ‘The father, against all laws of nature, is very caring and loving with the cubs.’
‘Normally, it is the mother that looks after the children, but Balu is the exception.
‘He is a real example of a good father.’
|Cub Diva reaches up to his father for some affection|
Balu and Masha have been living at the zoo since 2002 after they were rescued by Russian militia from poachers. The pair have settled in well – and are clearly enjoying their roles as parents.
Keepers also noticed that Balu has taken on nearly all the traditional ‘female’ roles carried out by brown bears – including teaching their young about the dangers of the world.
Miss Aseidulina said: ‘Balu taught Diva to swim in the pool – she looked to her mother for help but Masha was totally calm and obviously trusted her “husband”.
|Father Balu cuddles his cub|
‘Balu would hold her under water to teach her that swimming is an essential skill for a bear – but he always knew how long she could stay under for, and would pull her out and keep her safe.
‘When Masha is feeding Diva, 14-year-old Balu waits patiently for his turn to play with her.’
Photo credits: Caters News