Animal behaviorist 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.
But lions are his favorite. He lavishes them with unconditional love, he says, treating each individual differently, speaking to them, caressing them and, above all, treating them with respect.
A former student of human physiology who once worked with pre and post-operative human patients, Kevin turned to animals ten years ago when he came to the conclusion that he could trust a lion over one of his own kind.
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.