The lioness that leaps into a man’s arms and embraces him.

The lion hugger

In 2012 Valentin Gruener rescued a young lion cub and raised it himself at a wildlife park in Botswana. It was the start of an extraordinary relationship.

Now an astonishing scene is repeated each time they meet – the young lion leaps on Gruener and holds him in an affectionate embrace.

“Since the lion arrived, which is three years now, I haven’t really left the camp,” says Gruener.

“Sometimes for one night I go into the town here to organise something for the business, but other than that I’ve been here with the lion.”

The lion he has devoted himself to is Sirga – a female cub he rescued from a holding pen established by a farmer who was fed up with shooting animals that preyed on his cattle.

Read more (and video)… BBC News – The lion hugger.

Top five safari parks for seeing lions in the wild

As The Lion King celebrates its 15-year anniversary in London this week, The Telegraph has put forward its list of the Top Five places for spotting lions in the wild. Can you suggest any others?

The Top Five places to spot lions in the wild:

1. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

2. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

3. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

4. Okavango Delta, Botswana

5. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Read more… Top five safari parks for seeing lions in the wild – Telegraph.