Frikkie Von Solms has raised 11-year-old lion Zion from birth and the two have grown so close that they have shared the same bed and the cat is regularly seen riding in the human’s truck.
Zion was born in captivity, but was taken from his mother’s care after fears that cub’s father would kill him. It has since been up to 69-year-old Mr. Von Solms to care for the lion cub.
Tame and friendly, Zion is now unable to return to the wild and lives with 18 other lions, as well as cheetahs and leopards, all of which cared for by Mr. Von Solms.
The trainer spends his time walking Zion along dusty roads, affectionately holding on to the lion’s tail, and driving the cat to and from hunts in the back of his truck.
As in any relationship, compromises must be made and, to keep Zion happy, Mr. Von Solms walks barefoot next to him, as the cat dislikes noise. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Frikkie Von Solms, 69, has cared for 11-year-old Zion since birth and the pair have developed an inseparable bond.
2. Mr. Von Solms walks barefoot next to the lion as Zion does not like noise — he described the lion as ‘special because of the bond we share’.
3. Zion was born to his mother, Simba, in captivity, but was removed from her care after fears the cub’s father would kill him.
4. Mr. Von Solms has grown very close to the lion and they have even shared the same bed and travel in his truck together.
Mr. Von Solms said:
Since Zion, I have raised nineteen lions, and leopards and cheetahs. But he is special because of the bond we share. I learned so much from him.
It was a once in a lifetime experience to grow up with him and learn and live with him through all of the stages of being a lion. People talk about lions like they are just lions but they have personalities, they have humor and laugh.
Zion is a gentle giant. He has never attacked humans and I trust him completely.
Mr. Von Solms asked to keep his location secret.
5. Zion lives with 18 other lions, as well as cheetahs and leopards, all looked after by Mr. Von Solms.
6. The cub needed constant feeding every four hours — here Mr Von Solms is seen training and playing with Zion as a cub.
7. He described Zion as a ‘gentle giant’ and said ‘people talk about lions like they are just lions but they have personalities, they have humor’.
8. Unable to return to the wild because of his tame and friendly nature, Zion lives with Mr. Von Solms and they have developed a unique bond.
And here is the video:
Source: The Daily Mail.
Share Zion’s story with your friends and your thoughts in the comments below. Please retweet it to your Twitter followers — they would want to see that, too.