Safari Park Worker and 550-Pound Lion Are Best Friends Forever [Video]

  • Shandor Larenty has been taking care of the lion George from the time that the cub was born at the Lion and Safari Park in South Africa.
  • The two have bonded over grooming and playing which became stronger as the years went by.
  • Shandor and George spend their time together cuddling and their extraordinary friendship has captured TikTok viewers.

Shandor Larenty works as the head of the animal husbandry at the Lion and Safari Park in Gauteng, South Africa.  George, the lion, was born at the park 10 years ago and Shandor has been grooming and playing with the lion since then. The daily interaction has formed a strong bond between the two and has made them TikTok stars.

Shandor said, “It’s like watching a child grow up. It’s exactly the same feeling.”

Shandor pampers George whenever they are together.  He brushes George’s hair, gives him a massage and plays with him.

“He absolutely loves the fly repellent we make for him. He rolls around like a little kitten, and it’s his favorite time to get a massage, or a foot rub—he loves it,” Shandor said.

Even when George has turned into a magnificent 550-pound lion and is now head of his own pride, the two still spend time just between them. They usually can be found just cuddling.

Photo Credit: Shandor Larenty (SWNS)

Shandor thinks that like him, George also likes to be alone a lot. “It’s amazing to see that when I arrive, he’ll leave the rest of the pride and walk over,” Shandor related. 

He also understands that George has his good days and bad days.  He proved this when every time he goes to George’s enclosure and the lion does not come running, it means George is having a bad day. But this mood rarely happens. 

He could not forget that one day when George protected him from an attack.

Photo Credit: Shandor Larenty (SWNS)

Shandor was with George’s son when a lioness came at him.  George knocked the lioness to the side and grabbed his son, giving Shandor time to get away.

Shandor is grateful for George’s friendship and the bond he has with him and the other animals.  “I can think of times in my life where I was really struggling and the animals really helped me.”

The two have become TikTok sensations because of their amazing relationship and their videos have been receiving hundreds of thousands of views regularly.

Source: Good News Network

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Shows ya how smart animals really are!


I was 24 when I took myself to see The Ghost and the Darkness in the theater. That those teeth and claws didn’t rip you up, means you’re well loved. What a lovely friendship! Bringing your date to meet George would be a great girlfriend test lol. I love cats, of all sizes- from the house cats I’ve had, to margays and ocelots, to the huge ones like gorgeous George! Beautiful eyes and coat! <3 from Missouri USA!

Dude, you are so lucky having lion for a BFF , I wish I could pet one.

Like my Clyde, a cougar! After 6 years, he now comes on my deck when in my area. He likes to nap in front of my windows and announces his arrival by head butting the window. Then i go out and he gets his belly rub. Met him when went out for mail, walking with a cane as knees bone on bone. He was crossing my road about 150 yards from me. Could not run so stood there talking to him. He listened a bit then continued tracking a deer. We have come to trust each other. Clyde is only around 200-250 I have been told. By depth of tracks in mud. Can only imagine the thrill of being friends with George! Proof that animals respect us when we respect them.

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