Video of lioness hugging man who raised her goes viral

Sirga the lioness embraces conservationist Valentin Gruener. Photo / Still from YouTube video
Sirga the lioness embraces conservationist Valentin Gruener. Photo / Still from YouTube video

A VIDEO of a lioness affectionately embracing the man who raised her from birth at a reserve in Botswana has gone viral.  

The clip shows conservationist Valentin Gruener opening the gate to a clawing and pacing Sirga the lioness, which then pounces on him for a hug.  

Mr Gruener is heard saying "good morning" before the two rub noses.  

While the video was posted in August, it recently began to gain traction, and has now been watched nearly 8.3 million times. 

Traveller John Hawkins shot the video at Modisa Wildlife Project near Maun, Botswana, the Daily Mail reported.  

Mr Hawkins said Mr Gruener, who co-founded the wildlife project, raised Sirga almost from birth.  

"Grassland started their conservation work by capturing lions and other big cats in conflict with farmers to spare them from certain death," Mr Gruener told the Daily Mail in August.  

Topics:  animals editors picks entertainment lion offbeat

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