Disney needed a model to craft their ultra-realistic Simba from and they found the perfect inspiration at the Dallas Zoo. Bahati, the female lion in the video above, was that model.
“When Bahati was just a month old, we provided Disney with video of her movements for their animation team to use for motion and behaviour reference when designing Simba in ‘The Lion King’,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.
“The Lion King” fans in the Texas area can visit Bahati at the Dallas Zoo’s lion exhibit. The new film premiered July 19 and received praise for its visual effects, musical score and vocal performances.