Lion whisperer

image002.jpg Animal behaviourist Kevin Richardson has such an intimate bond with big cats that he can spend the night curled up with them without the slightest fear of attack.

Richardson, 32, who is based in a wildlife conservation area near Johannesburg in South Africa, works his unusual magic on other species too. Cheetahs, leopards and even unpredictable hyenas hold no threats for him.

So instinctively in tune is he with these beasts, whose teeth are sharp enough to bite through thick steel, that mother hyenas even allow him to hold their newborn cubs without pouncing to the rescue.

But lions are his favourite.

image004.jpg Five-year-old females Meg and Amy see Kevin as one of their own.
image005.jpg Kevin rolls around with Tau and Napoleon, two adult brother lions.
image006.jpg Kevin says he is most confident with animals he has known since birth, but claims he can become close friends with any lion less than a year old, when it is still flexible enough to accept him as part of its own pride.

Lion whisperer Last update: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 12:51:17 -0400