By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / Director: Martin Harvey
Producer: Nick Johnson
Editor: Jack Stevens
The big cat, which is known for being a fearsome predator prowling the plains of Africa, has an unusual bond with his caretaker Frikkie Von Solns.
The 69-year-old has taken care of the friendly lion since birth.
He was born to his mother, Simba, in captivity but was removed from her care after fears the father would commit infanticide.
It was left to Frikkie to care for young Zion.
The cub needed constant feeding every four hours and the pair even shared the same bed.
Eleven years later and the bond between the surrogate father and son is stronger than ever.
Frikkie spends his time walking through the bush with his fluffy friend – barefoot as Zion dislikes noise – and chauffeurs the big cat to and from hunts in the front seat of his car.
Unable to return to the wild because of his tame and friendly nature, Zion lives with eighteen other lions, as well as cheetahs and leopards.
Frikkie said: “Since Zion I have raised nineteen lions, and leopards and cheetahs. But he is special because of the bond we share. I learnt so much from him.
“It was a great opportunity to study his behaviour and patterns.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience to grow up with him and learn and live with him through all of the stages of being a lion.
“People talk about lions like they are just lions but they have personalities, they have humour and laugh.
“Zion is a gentle giant. He has never attacked humans and I trust him completely.”