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Thread: Lioness Hugs Conservationist Who Saved Her

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default Lioness Hugs Conservationist Who Saved Her

    This is enough to warm even the wildest of hearts.
    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.
    Now the 110lb lioness has developed an incredible bond with the pair who are fighting to save her species in Botswana, southern Africa.

    German conservationist Valentin Gruener and Sirga showing the incredible bond between man and beast



    Heart-warming: Mikkel Legarth giving the lioness Sirga a hug in the wilds of Botswana

    Sirga treats the two conservationists just like she would other lions and with their help she can now hunt for prey on her own.
    She is now a beacon for hoped success of the Modisa Wildlife Project, founded in Botswana, Africa, by Mr Gruener, from Germany, and Mr Legarth, who is Danish, with the hope of saving the lion population.
    Botswana is two and a half times the size of Britain and has vast areas of wilderness - but already increased farming is bringing lions and man into more and more conflict.

    From a base camp in the African bush the Modisa Wildlife Project has been working with local farmers and Willie De Graaff, owner of Grassland Safari Lodge, to find a way long term solution.
    The plan is to relocate the lions which are coming into contact with farmers to one large protected area where they have enough wild prey to feed on.
    As these amazing shots show Mikkel and Valentin has an incredible affinity for the lions they rescue and not just Sirga.
    Lioness develops heartwarming bond with men who saved her


    Mr Legarth (nearest camera) and Mr Gruener enjoying the evening sunset with Sirga

    Sirga when she was a lioness cub playing with Mr Legarth after she was rescued

    Sirga treats the two men just like she would other lions and with their help she can now hunt for prey on her own

    Their work has now been documented by photographer Nicolai Frederik Bonnin Rossen who himself got up-close-and-personal with the magnificent predators.
    Mr Legarth, 30, said his bond with Sirga was just like as if she was part of his pride.
    He said: 'A pride had three cubs and two were killed before Sirga was abandoned without food. It happened on our land and we could not standby and watch her die.

    Mr Legarth, 30, said his bond with Sirga was just like as if she was part of his pride


    The pair's work has been documented by photographer Nicolai Frederik Bonnin Rossen who himself got up-close-and-personal with the magnificent predators

    Saved: As a cub Sirga was driven out from a pride and rescued by the German and Danish duo

    Touching: Mr Legarth playing with Sirga the lioness as the sun goes down in the bush

    '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.
    'She hunts her own food, taking antelopes and she will let us be near her when she eats it which is remarkable.
    'Sirga doesn't mind people, but she doesn't pay them any attention. Wild lions are scared of people, the problem comes if you release a lion that is used to people in the wild, that can cause problems.

    Mr Legarth said: 'The first time you walk up to a lion all your body is telling you this is not something you should be doing'

    Close: The amazing pictures show Sirga - a 110lb lioness - cuddling her new found friends

    The Modisa Wildlife Project aims at removing lions from areas where they face certain death after coming into conflict with farmers

    'With Sirga we want to release her to the wild eventually as a wild lion not as one that has met lots of people. That would be dangerous.'
    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.

    The pair with some of the lions from the project in Botswana, southern Africa

    Sirga - a 110lb lioness - and her adopted pride Valentin Gruener and Mikkel Legarth

    '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.'

    Read more: Fancy a cuddle? Lioness develops incredible heart-warming bond with two conservationists who rescued her after she was abandoned by her pride | Mail Online
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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    OMG!!!! I want!!!!
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Love this story and am grateful Brookie is safe and thousands of miles away.
    Brookie likes this.
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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    I watched the clip: this lioness is a lot LESS friendly with her rescuers than Christian the lion. She lies in ambush and jumps them and I believe she even rips one of the guys' shirtsleeve. So, yeah, cute, but Christian still wins it for me.

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    Elite Member palta's Avatar
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    The story is lovely, and the pics are amazing.

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    OMG, I cannot "LIKE" this enough. How amazing to be able to hug a lion.
    palta likes this.
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    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    I'm grateful good people like Valentin Gruener and Mikkel Legarth exist in this world. Sucks to be an antelope, I guess.
    Trixie and ConstanceSpry like this.

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    That's awesome. Both guys are super brave to work with lions. Super dangerous job. It's amazing how closely bonded humans and animals can be if they gain each other's trust.

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    Beautiful photos, but at no stage should anyone forget that she is a tiger, not a pet cat.
    Bluebonnet likes this.
    Free Charmed.

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    Gold Member laynes's Avatar
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    Hate the music in that Christian the Lion video but damn if it doesn't make me tear up every.single.time.

    Sirga is beautiful.



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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HWBL View Post
    I watched the clip: this lioness is a lot LESS friendly with her rescuers than Christian the lion. She lies in ambush and jumps them and I believe she even rips one of the guys' shirtsleeve.
    That's probably a good thing not to be fully tame if she has to survive in the wild.
    MohandasKGanja likes this.

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    That's probably a good thing not to be fully tame if she has to survive in the wild.
    I know, but when you read the article first, you think it's going to be more like with Christian.
    Then I viewed the video and I was like "Wow, those guys seem to think it is play, but she has different intentions. It's just that she doesn't catch them completely off guard".
    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

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    Elite Member Karistiona's Avatar
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    Lovely! Until she eats their faces off.
    Beeyotch, *DIVA!, Trixie and 1 others like this.
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    Who the hell is cutting onions in here?? That video of Christian gets me every damn time.
    Bluebonnet likes this.

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    it's all fun and games until you wind up in a pile of lion shit...
    shedevilang and *DIVA! like this.
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
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