Adorable Lioness Loves to Hug and Cuddle with Her Caregiver Of 10 Years

Friendship transcends language, culture, location, and even species. Valentin Gruener, a wildlife enthusiast, has a companion of a different caliber, one who would undoubtedly paralyze many people with terror if she even opened her mouth to say, “Hello!?” His companion is a lioness called Sirga. She is clearly Val’s best buddy, and they have such a strong affinity that they spring into a hug once they see each other.

1Meet the sweet lioness Sirga, as well as her favorite human and guardian, Valentin!

So, this is how Val relates the story of how they met: “It started 10 years ago when Sirga was not fed by her mother anymore, and I had to hand-raise her.” It was then that the two formed a close bond with each other, and the lioness became close and affectionate to her human parent. But the duo seems more like best friends than parent-child.

Meet the sweet lioness Sirga

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2Sirga was born in captivity to captured wild lions

Lioness “Sirga” was born on February 25, 2012, to wild lions that were labeled as ‘problem animals’ in livestock areas. These lions had been captured and taken to Grassland Bushman Lodge grounds, near Ghanzi, in the Kalahari Desert, owned by cattle rancher and wildlife enthusiast Willie de Graaff.

Sirga was born in captivity to captured wild lions

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3Her mother refused to feed her, and that’s when Valentin took over the mother’s responsibility

Fortunately, they clicked right away, and Sirga’s habit of hugging Valentin began at that time as well. Sirga has grown exponentially over time, and her relationship with Valentin got stronger as she matured. They first met ten years ago and have grown closer to each other ever since. Valentin began taking care of Sirga full-time, and she adored him. He practically raised her, and she reciprocated his love and care with hugs that you normally don’t see a lion doing, especially to humans.

Her mother refused to feed her, and that's when Valentin took over the mother's responsibility

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4Their touching moments were captured on video and soon became popular

Their touching meetings were captured on video and became popular on TikTok, and not without good reason. In Val’s opinion, Sirga is the most docile of the lion species. Still, he advises against attempting to befriend her because it could result in catastrophic consequences: “she is always gentle and friendly despite her size. But I am the only one interacting with her. It would be dangerous for people who she is not used to.”

Their touching moments were captured on video and soon became popular

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