The king of the jungle showed his romantic side when he reached through the bars of his cage in Cali, Colombia, and clasped Ana Julia Torres in his giant paws to give her a kiss.
Ms Torres earned the affection of Jupiter, a 110kg (242lb) African lion, by nursing him back to health after rescuing him from a circus. He is one of about 800 maltreated residents at her Villa Lorena animal shelter in a poor suburb of the city.
Ms Torres, a teacher who began nursing abused animals ten years ago, says that she takes in everything from limbless flamingos to blind monkeys.
Jupiter is relatively lucky compared with a mountain lion that had been kept illegally as a pet. Its two front legs were hacked off after it clawed at a family member’s face.
Ms Torres funds the shelter with her salary, bolstered by donations. But she is adamant that it will not open to the public. “We want the animals to live in peace. This is a paradise where they can finally rest.”
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