There are many wonderful animals walking on this earth, but none of them as impressive as the lion. Every time we look at these felines we can’t avoid feeling astounded with their majestic, their great teeth, big claws and muscular bodies are perfectly designed to hunt other animals. They can weight up to 450 pounds when they are fully grown after 5 or 6 years, male and female lions can be easily distinguished by the big mane on the head and part of the back, this mane reflects the health and masculinity of the animal and is an attractive sign during the breeding season.
Working with these animals is always a great pleasure, but is not the same thing to watch lions confined to a zoo than observe them in their fullness on a natural reserve. A German resident named Valentin Gruener discovered a long time ago his love for these amazing cats.
At a very young age he seemed to enjoy every aspect of the predator, he read all about them on academic books and learning how they behave, their hunting methods, hierarchy, and anatomy. A good anecdote of his childhood is that he treated several animals with injuries on his house, so there’s no doubt which was the dream of this kid. It’s obvious that he intended to become a professional veterinarian.
After he grew up, there was only one place where he wanted to be…Africa. Although he spent some time working at an oil field in Canada, he soon realized that it was time to pursue his dream and in very short time he traveled to Namibia. When he arrived there he met Mikkel Legarth, another enthusiast of the wildlife that shared the same interest for lions. After working together for a while they had a new project in mind. The main idea was to create conscience around people, teaching them and creating respect for the lions. The name was the Modisa Wildlife Project.
The project worked so well that soon it became the best system for the protection of the wildlife in Botswana. Considering that in the last few years Botswana was a very high poaching zone, the program has saved many animal’s life breaking the habits and showing the people the damage related to the hunt of these creatures.
One day Valentin found something that dragged his attention, at first sight, he couldn’t tell what it was but after getting closer he immediately recognized a baby lion totally abandoned in the wild. She was too young and her mother was probably killed by the local hunters, the only hope at that moment was to take her home and trying to feed her with a mixture of cream, milk, eggs, and vitamins.
They thought she was not going to survive but thanks to the perseverance of these men her life was saved. They named her Sirga and for a while, they took care of her until she was ready to live by herself. When the time passed Valentin found the natural reserve where she was kept and decided to make a little visit.
From the moment Sirga put her eye on Valentin she immediately rushed to the fence jumping around and looking very excited to see her old friend. After some minutes they opened the gate and Sirga jumped to give her savior a great hug, it was remarkable how she still remembers him.
Watch the reaction of Sirga when she spots her old friend and hero Valentin Gruener.