It’s not for nothing lions are known as the king of the jungle (even if you’re more likely to find one on the savanna). The big cats are majestic creatures, a symbol of strength, solidity, and power.
They’re fantastic felines in that they live and hunt in groups, known as a pride. Although they once had a much broader range, lions today are found in the wild only in sub-Saharan Africa and a small corner of India.
Germany is a long way from lion country, but Valentin Gruener has always been fascinated by lions and everything about them: hunting strategies, social relations, and much more.
He developed a love of animals in general when he was a kid; nursing injured animals back to health and dreaming of becoming a wildlife veterinarian. His career path initially took a somewhat different turn: he left Germany for a job at an oil field in Canada!
Eventually, though, Valentin decided he had to pursue his real dreams. He ended up in Namibia, in southern Africa, where he met Mikkel Legath, a Dane who shared his fascination with lions and other big cats.
From Namibia, Mikkel and Valentin went to Botswana, where they launched the Modisa Wildlife Project. Its goals are to help protect wildlife while also raising public awareness of how important it is to preserve what’s left of the natural world.
Modisa is where Valentin found an abandoned lion cub who was only about ten days old (but already weighed 20 pounds) and would have been helpless on her own. He fed the lucky lioness, named Sirga, a mix of cream, milk, eggs, and vitamins.
A few years later, Valentin wondered how Sirga was doing and how she’d react to seeing him. Would she still remember him? The video posted below will show you the answer.