Deep in the African bush a lioness gives giant hug to the two men who saved her.
As a cub, Sirga was driven out of her pride and rescued by Valentin Gruener and Mikkel Legarth who could not stand by and watch her die. Conservationists Valentin Gruener and Mikkel Legarth are working hard to save the lion population in Botswana, Africa. Increased farming in the area is bringing lions and humans into more and more conflict.
The lion, named Sirga, treats her adopted parents as if they were one of her own. With their help, she can now hunt all on her own.
“We didn’t want Sirga to become like other lions in captivity, constantly fed by streams of tourists. She only interacts with me and Valentin,” Legarth told the Dailymail. “She hunts her own food, taking antelopes and she will let us be near her when she eats it which is remarkable.”
The Modisa Wildlife Project aims at removing lions from areas where they face certain death after coming into conflict with farmers. Mr Legarth added: ‘If you release wild lions somewhere else, they will come straight back to where they were before because there is food there.
‘And if you just dump a pride of lions in the middle of a new territory they will disturb the prides that are already there.
‘In Botswana all lions are protected by the government - like swans being the property of the Crown in the UK. This also makes moving them a problem.
‘What we have now are 10,000-hectare plots with 10 to 15 lions in fenced enclosure, they are wild lions but we do have to feed them.
‘The first time you walk up to a lion all your body is telling you this is not something you should be doing.’
Mr Legarth added: ‘We are located on Willie De Graaff’s 10,000-hectare farm with lions, wild dogs and leopards that has been saved from certain death. We are now looking for sponsors that can support us with a long-term solution for those animals.’