Dogs are fantastic foster parents. That’s exactly what a German Shepherd did for a pair of lion cubs in a Russian wildlife park. After their mother rejected the two cubs, the dog adopted them as her own. Their mother, a lioness named Sirona, had given birth to the two cubs.
When the personnel at the White Lion Park in Vladivostok, Russia, observed that something wasn’t quite right with the first-time lion mom, they became concerned. Sirona had become “extremely reclusive, reserved, and secretive,” according to the staff. Her two pups were also in distress because they were “emaciated and dehydrated.” The staff opted to remove the cubs for their own protection at that point.
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:
Sirona’s behavior with her babies was out of the ordinary, according to the wildlife park’s director, Viktor Agafonov. When she was near her own babies, the lioness seemed to lose control. The lioness bit her own offspring, according to DailyMail, and one of the kids had a tiny wound, according to Agafonov.
During a post on Instagram, the White Lion Park acquired video footage of Sirona attacking one of her cubs:
Sandra, the adoptive mother, Agafonov said she doesn’t usually enjoy cats. She was, however, delighted to be a foster mom for these two wild cats, perhaps because she was feeling particularly maternal after the birth of her own puppies. Sandra first came to the wildlife park after a popular request, according to the park director. She was loaned to the animal park by a family from Artem for a “time.”
Sandra is feeding the cubs without issue, according to Agafonov, reassuring the public that her dog milk is more than plenty for the two lions, as it contains all of the nutrients that the two lions require to grow up normally. The staff at the wildlife park recognizes that this endearing family dynamic will not remain indefinitely, but they are hopeful that Sandra will be able to keep them in her care for a bit longer.
Sandra’s fostering of the two lion cubs was unexpected, according to Agafonov, because animal species rarely foster one another’s young, especially if they’re wild creatures. Still, it’s adorable to see how well this dog mama got along with the lion babies.
They were in desperate need of a caring mother, and Sandra seemed to be that person. Hopefully, the three of them will continue to grow closer.