Dramatic reenactment.

Dramatic reenactment.

A 12-year-old girl kidnapped by a group of seven men in the Ethiopian city of Bita Genet was found several days after her abduction, safe under the watchful eyes of three lions. Not only were the lions guarding her, they allegedly chased off her captors.

The girl was reportedly abducted by the seven men with the idea that she would be forced into marrying one of the them. According to the United Nations, about 70 percent of the marriages taking place in Ethiopia are the result of similar kidnappings. And nearly 100 percent of those abduction-marriages are not thwarted by kindly wildlife.

While it is certainly within reason to consider this a miracle, a wildlife official did point out that the lions — who guarded the girl for about a half day — may have heard her crying and mistaken her for a cub. Interesting theory, but don’t lions know the difference between a Person and a Furry Thing that Looks Just Like Them? Although who wants to complain? It’s such a great story.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

It’s so great, in fact, that Twitter is going nuts about it today even though this event took place and was reported on in 2005. Possibly because there’s been so much rape in the news lately, and it’s nice to hear a story with a happy ending. Or maybe we just like stories where animals behave in the noble, humane way we wish people would.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.