As Valentin Gruener walked with his colleague Mikkel Legarth in Botswana, he spotted a lion on the ground. But while many people, fearing danger, would choose to back away from the big cat, Gruener decided instead to stroll right up to the animal. Then the lion pounced – and what happened next is almost unbelievable.
But it’s perhaps no surprise that Gruener was willing to get up close and personal with a lion. After all, the conservationist from Germany has been interested in Africa’s wildlife from an early age – with a particular penchant for the big cats there. He’s also helped helm campaigns on behalf of animals in his time.
Then, while in Namibia in 2009, Gruener met likeminded Dane Legarth. And, together, the two men founded the Modisa Wildlife Project, which they set up in Botswana. The organization is now headquartered at the country’s Grassland Bushman Lodge, situated on the border of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.