Lioness Rescued As A Newborn Builds A Special Bond With Her Rescuer

Meet Sirga the lioness, the young lioness who loves to cuddle with her parent, a human named Valentin

Friends for life: The story of the abandoned lion cub Sirga who was raised by a German wildlife enthusiast in his 20s was one of the most shared stories on social media last year

Valentin Gruener is a dedicated conservationist and co-founder of the Modisa Wildlife Project in the Kalahari, Botswana,

He is also a dad to Sirga and raised her ever since she was a few days old.

Best buds: Conservationist Valentin Gruener, 27, raised Sirga after she was abandoned by her pride

When Sirga turned three, she began preparing to live in the wild. Valentin helped her along by teaching her to hunt.

Check out the beautiful video of the pair below:

Sirga was abandoned by her lion parents when she was only a few days old, when she was found Valentin she weighed only 4 lbs.

The adult lions abandoned her after her siblings all passed away, she wouldn’t have survived in the wild if Valentin and the team didn’t find her.

New challenge: A documentary series follows Sirga and Mr Gruener as he teaches her how to hunt

He took her straight to the vet and put her on a drip to battle her severe dehydration, then made an attempt to fatten her up.

“To this day we believe she is probably the most spoiled and well-fed lion in Botswana.”

As Sirga does not have a pride to teach her how to hunt, Mr Gruener has to get down and dirty and show her

One year later, she weighed 175 lbs, was fully weaned, and eating meat. She had come a long way.

Valentin then coached Sirga to hunt, this meant hours of teaching her to stalk and kill, a skill she would typically learn from other adults in the pride.

In order to teach her how to live as a wild lion, Mr Gruener has spent many hours crouching in scrubland or pouncing in watering holes alongside Sirga

Of course, since Sirga had no adult lions to look up to, Valentin had to get down and dirty to make sure she learned as much as possible.

Success? A proud Sirga managed to catch a large swollen toad, and carried it in her mouth

“We didn’t want Sirga to become like other lions in captivity, constantly fed by streams of tourists,” says Mikkel Legarth, a fellow conservationist.

As one: Mr Gruener is fulfilling a lifelong ambition by living with lions in the wilds of Africa

“She hunts her own food, taking antelopes, and she will let us be near her when she eats it, which is remarkable.”

Family: Mr Gruener observes as a veterinarian cares for his beloved lioness friend

“We want to release her eventually as a wild lion, not as one who has met lots of people. That would be dangerous. She only interacts with me and Valentin.”

The new documentary has been called an 'extraordinary story that transcends all known borders between man and lion, predator and prey' by its makers

Sustainable living: A team from the Modisa Wildlife Project feed a group of young male lions in an enclosure

RELATED: Man Who Rescued Two Lion Cubs Seven Years Ago Returns And Meets Them Face To Face

Written by Joe Kahlo