Friendship knows no boundaries, regardless of language, culture, geography, or even species. While most pet owners rant and rave about dogs and cats being a man’s best friend, wildlife enthusiast Valentin Gruener has a friendship of a different kind, one that would likely paralyze most people with fear if she ever opened her lips to say “Hello!” Val may safely claim that Sirga, a lion, is his best buddy.
They have such a great connection that they leap at each other whenever they see each other. Someone got to capture these touching meetings on video, and it became popular on TikTok for all the right reasons. Val considers Sirga to be one of the gentlest lions in the world, but he advises against trying to befriend her for fear of serious consequences: “Despite her size, she is always gentle and friendly.” But I’m the only one that communicates to her. It would be risky for her to be among people she isn’t familiar with.”
This is Val’s recollection of their first meeting. “It started ten years ago when Sirga’s mother stopped feeding her and I had to raise her on my own.”
Their video of friendly hugs became popular on TikTok just lately.
Many scenes in the photos show Sirga being ecstatic to see Valentin.
For him, the secret to taking care of such a strong, big and wild animal is “a lot of love and time. My girlfriend also helps a lot with all the other animals. But in the past 12 years I haven’t had a holiday yet – no regrets, though.”
This Lioness Repays Her Caregiver Of 10 Years With Hugs And Cuddles
Sirga’s life conditions were initially challenging. “Sirga the lioness was born on February 25, 2012, to wild lions seized after being recognized as ‘problem animals’ in livestock areas and housed and cared for at Willie de Graaff’s Grassland Bushman Lodge grounds, near Ghanzi, in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana.”
Her mother refused to feed her, and that’s where Valentin started taking care of her.
They had an instant connection.
At that time, the Sirga started forming her habbit of hugging Valentin
They became acquainted 10 years ago, and their friendship moved leaps and bounds since then
Nowadays, Sirga and Valentin chill at the 2000 hectare reservation made just for her. Sirga now has her own region to rule over. Her kingdom is relatively calm and has few conflicts. “Today, she lives in a 2000-hectare reserve that was created just for her, allowing her to hunt and live as freely as possible given her conditions. On a daily level, I am still there for her. Together with Sirga, I live in the middle of the jungle in Botswana.”
There, they mostly chill in the shade, walk around Sirga’s dominion, and, of course, cuddle.