Regardless of language, culture, distance, or species, there are no limits to friendship. Wildlife enthusiast Valentin Gruener has an acquaintance whose simple opening of the mouth to say “Hello!” would likely paralyze many with fear. Val can confidently assert that his dearest friend is a lion named Sirga.
Sirga is a lioness who enjoys cuddling with her human father, Valentin. The Modisa Wildlife Project, currently operating in the Kalahari of Botswana, was co-founded by Valentin Gruener. Additionally, he is an ecologist at heart. When Sirga was just a few days old, this extraordinary individual began raising her.
Sirga began learning to survive in the wild at the age of three. Valentin was teaching her to hunt. Sirga had only been abandoned by her parents for a few days when Valentin found her. She weighed only 4 pounds. After the death of her siblings, her parents abandoned her, leaving her alone. She would have perished if Valentin and his men hadn’t discovered her in the field.
Val recalls the story of their earlier encounter. “It started 10 years ago when Sirga’s mother stopped feeding her, and I had to hand-raise her.”
Recently, someone filmed these heartwarming interactions, and the video quickly went viral.
Val believes Sirga is possibly the most benevolent lion that exists, but striving to nurture her could have adverse effects.
Despite her size, she is always gentle and kind. I am the only individual who interacts with her. It would be dangerous for those who do not know her.”
The lioness currently seeks her own food, capturing antelopes and other animals. She allows her human counterpart to accompany her while she devours her prey. The relationship between this lioness and her human parent is extremely endearing. They interact playfully and even embrace. Sirga runs to Valentin every time she sees him and greets him with caresses and nuzzles.