Will the lion he rescued as a cub remember him years later?

Lions are remarkable creatures, a symbol of strength, solidity, and nature’s power. They’re known as the king of the jungle, although you’re more likely to find lions on the savanna. Lions are highly social by feline standards and not only do the live in prides (groups) of about 15 related individuals but very unusually for cats, they hunt as a group. Today, lions in the wild are found only in sub-Saharan Africa and a small part of India.

Valentin Gruener, from Germany, has long been fascinated by lions and everything about them: their hunting strategies, their social hierarchy, and more. He developed a love of animals at an early age. When he was a kid, he nursed injured animals back to health and dreamed of becoming a wildlife veterinarian. Instead of working with animals, his first job was something very different: working at an oil field in Canada! After awhile, he realized he had to pursue his dreams. He made his way to Namibia in southern Africa, and that’s where he met Mikkel Legath, a Dane who shared Valentin’s interest in lions and other big cats.

Mikkel and Valentin went to Botswana, to the east of Namibia, and launched the Modisa Wildlife Project. Its goal is to help conserve wildlife and raise public awareness of the importance of preserving what’s left of the natural world. It was there than Valentin found an abandoned lion cub, probably about 10 days old, although already weighing about 20 pounds. He named the cub Sirga and fed her a mix of cream, milk, eggs, and vitamins. Lucky lion cub!

Several years later, Valentin tracked Sirga down and was curious about how she’d react to seeing him. Would she still remember the human who had rescued her? Check out the video posted below and see the surprising answer.

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