Hello big boy!
ok but honestly? how does this lion not maul the fuck out of him.
Lions are huge kittens
He’s probably been with these lions for quite a while. The grunting noises the lion makes (or “chuffling” as it’s known as) are his way of saying “hello” to his human friend. Lions have pretty good memories, too, so if the lion was raised as a cub by this dude, it’s very likely he’ll remember him as an adult. And if the lion shows affection to this guy, then his pride will pretty much be like: “Ok he’s cool we’ll love him too”.
Plus, social apex predators are generally pretty mellow. It’s the solitary types and the herbivores you’ve gotta watch out for. Especially the latter – large herbivores are assholes.
This is Kevin Richardson!!
He is a badass and has worked for almost twenty years with a ton of lions like these ones. He has his own unique style of handling the lions where he spends countless man hours with the cats, often hand-rearing them from a very young age. The result is he is an “honorary lion” in several of the prides that he oversees in this park in South Africa. He will often go for walks with them like this, or take naps or be just generally cuddly with the lions to enforce the social bond.
He honestly loves these guys like they’re family, and as a result is able to use the lions in films and adverts in a way that is very low-stress for the animals due to their incredible faith in him. Currently he has a youtube channel where you can see him working with the animals and promoting wildlife conservation and awareness :D!