BOTSWANA — An excited lion pacing on the other side of a fence lunges at the man who opened the gate in what looks like a scary situation. But instead of mauling him, she jumps into his arms to give him a bear hug.
John Hawkins documents his world travels with videos on his YouTube channel J Hawks. He happened to have his camera on hand when Valentin Gruener went to visit a lion he rescued as a cub a long time ago. Gruener helped raise the lion when she was little after her lion pack rejected her, according to Yahoo.
The lion currently lives in the Modisa Wildlife Project in Botswana and is separated from humans with simply a chain-link fence. As Gruenerapproached the gate, the 110-pound lion started pacing back and forth and tried to open the gate with her paws.
It looks like she wants to maul Gruener at first, because as soon as he gets the padlock open, she races toward him. But instead, she attacks him with just love, gives him a huge bear hug and lays her head on his shoulder. Gruener eventually has to sink to the ground because of her weight, and she curls up next to him as if she were a 10-pound house cat.
The sweet (and somewhat terrifying) video has gone viral, racking up over 3.3 million page views.