Dogs make such great foster parents. And that is exactly what one German Shepherd did for a couple of lion cubs at a Russian wildlife park. The two cubs were rejected by their mother and the dog took them in as her own. The two cubs had been born to their mother, a lioness named Sirona.
However, the employees at the White Lion Park located in Vladivostok, Russia soon began to get worried when they noticed that something wasn’t right with the first-time lion mom. The staff noticed that Sirona had become “very introverted, reserved and secretive.” Furthermore, her two cubs were also suffering as they were “emaciated and dehydrated.” That is when the staff decided to remove the cubs for their own safety.
The cubs were then handed over to the care of Sandra, a German Shepherd living at the park. She immediately took the two lions in as though they were her own puppies. It was quite heartwarming:
The director for the wildlife park, Viktor Agafonov, shared that Sirona’s behavior towards her cubs was not normal. The lioness even seemed to fly off the handle while around her own babies. DailyMail even reported that the lioness bit her own cubs, and Agafonov shared that one of the cubs even had a small wound.
The White Lion Park even got some video footage of Sirona biting one of her cubs during a post on Instagram:
As for the adoptive mom, Sandra, Agafonov shared that she normally doesn’t like cats. However, she was more than happy to be a foster mom for these two wild felines, perhaps because she was feeling very maternal following the birth of her own puppies. The park director noted that Sandra first came to the wildlife park after a request was put out to the public. A family from the city of Artem loaned her to the wildlife park for a “while.”
Agafonov has also shared that Sandra is feeding the cubs without any problems, reassuring the public that her dog milk is more than acceptable for the two lions as it has all the same nutrition that the two lions need in order to grow up normally. The staff at the wildlife park know that this adorable family dynamic won’t be able to last forever, but they’re hopeful that Sandra will be able to continue fostering them for a while longer.
Agafonov acknowledged that Sandra’s fostering of the two lion cubs was quite a surprise since animal species will rarely foster one another’s young – especially if they’re wild animals. Still, it’s quite sweet to see that this dog mama took well to the lion cubs.
They really needed a caring mom and it seems that they have gotten that in Sandra. Hopefully the three will continue to strengthen their bonds.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.