Toddler calls African lion cub her pet

Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM ET

Two-year-old Maddi has an unusual pet, her very own lion cub named Sassie.

Her family owns the local Darling Downs Zoo. Sassie's mother could not produce enough milk, so she is being hand-reared by the Robinson family. It's Maddi's job to help by keeping cub entertained.

Three-week-old Sassie spends most of the time sleeping on the couch, and playing around the house, and must be fed every two hours.

African lions are a threatened species, and one day the cub will play a role in the breeding program at the zoo. For the moment, Maddi and Sassie are inseparable.