Man who raised lioness from cub now teaches her to hunt

Ruth Doherty
Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener
Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener



The heartwarming story of conservationist Valentin Gruener and the lion cub he saved, Sirga, was one of the biggest viral hits of 2014.

The video of the lioness jumping onto Val and embracing him, in what was seen as a gesture of love, has over 10 million views on You Tube.

The "grateful hug" between the 140kg lioness and the man who saved her life was even named on Google's inspirational list for 2014.



And the fascinating tale has now been made into a documentary series with an incredible twist - Val now has to teach the lioness to hunt.

Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener
Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener



This six-part film tells the story of the abandoned and dying lion cub who forms a powerful bond of friendship and trust with young German, Val Gruener.

The cub was left destitute by its captive pride on land owned by Willie De Graaff, of the Grasslands farm in the Kalahari of Botswana.

Val, of the Modisa Wildlife Project, was given permission to try and save the cub's life.

The pair became inseparable and now, three years later, every time Val opens the gate to her enclosure, he is hugged by the lioness that he named Sirga.

Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener
Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener



Now, Val has spent hours pouncing in watering holes and waiting in scrubland alongside Sirga while teaching her to hunt.

Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener
Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener



According to the Daily Mail, he said: "She learned to be patient, to stalk and go into ambush.

"The day she brought down her first antelope was the most amazing day of my life, because I realised that she would one day be able to look after herself in the wild."

Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener
Sirga the lion taught to hunt by man that saved her Val Gruener



Jurgen Jozefowicz of Tauana Films, who is producing the documentary Lionheart, due for release this year, said: "To walk with a lion in the wild, to record a unique friendship and capture the story of a young lioness born into captivity, and her development from naive novice to adult huntress, has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience."



Related articles

SIrga the lioness shares amazing bond with the man who saved her

Two lions rescued from cruel circus finally heading for happiness

First-ever pictures of white lion cubs in the wild

'Lion Whisperer' Hugs and Snuggles African Lions in Amazing Video
'Lion Whisperer' Hugs and Snuggles African Lions in Amazing Video


Lion Rescue: The Amazing Story of Bolivian Circus Lions
Lion Rescue: The Amazing Story of Bolivian Circus Lions