Safari Park Worker Becomes Best Friends With A Cuddly Lion

At some point or another in most of our lives, we would welcome the opportunity to cuddle with a lion.

Admittedly, we realize that it is impossible because lions are the king of the jungle and we would have a very short lifespan if we ever tried to get close and personal with one.

Photo: Instagram/@goodnewsnetwork

That doesn’t mean, however, that nobody has that opportunity. That is where George comes in. He is a 550-pound lion who is best friends with an animal expert in South Africa. The two of them spend a lot of time together and, quite honestly, I’m jealous!

George lives in South Africa at the Lion and Safari Park where you will find this unusual couple. Shandor Larenty is the head of animal husbandry and he met George when he was born at the park in Gauteng.

Ever since the two of them met, they have been very close to each other. Shandor has the opportunity to play with him every day and he grooms him regularly. It’s not unusual to see the two of them cuddling together and getting close, and Shandor is quick to share photos and video of their relationship on Instagram.

Now that George is 10 years old, he is more than just a lion at the Safari Park. He has his own pride, but that doesn’t mean that he is not making time for his human best friend, Shandor.

In fact, Shandor, a 27-year-old lover of animals, shared on TikTok that it is similar to watching a child grow up. He calls it the exact same type of feeling.

It seems as if the feeling between the two of them is mutual and George is more than happy to spend some time with his friend. They also understand each other, and George is sometimes not as social as others. There are times when he wants to be left alone.

When Shandor arrives at the Safari Park, George will let the rest of the pride walk over to say hello. He is then able to determine if George is having a bad day or a good day. In the video below, he said: “If I go in there and he doesn’t come running up, then I know it’s not going to happen.”

In the end, he loves being pampered and he even appreciates the fly repellent that they make for him. He gets a massage and a foot rub, and it’s absolutely amazing to watch it happen.

Photo: Instagram/@goodnewsnetwork

Shandor understands George in more ways than most people would. He recognizes the type of growl he would have if he is not happy. One time, George growled at him and even charged him.

According to the LeicestershireLive, speaking about the incident, Shandor said:

“Lions have two growls. On that day the growl was really not happy, and he just walked up to me and growled like that-and out of the blue he came running at me. From the left-hand side came George’s lioness who grabbed him and from the right-hand side. George came running and knocked me to the side and grabbed (his offspring).”

He was able to get away safely.

You will love seeing them in this video and it may just make you want a lion of your own:

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