Lions are very protective of their territories. As soon as they see any unfamiliar lion or any other animal for that matter, enter the bounds of their virtually fenced territory, they roar and pounce on the intruder before shredding them into many pieces. With that said, one can only imagine their reaction to seeing their newborn cubs being picked up by unknown hands. You would assume that as a rule of thumb, it would be best not to go near the cubs of a fierce lioness, right?
This South African Zookeeper Thinks Differently
Since the lions are mostly just big cats, their babies are bound to be irresistibly adorable. But not all cute things should be touched and petted, right? Well, this South African zookeeper seems to think a bit differently.
He didn’t think twice before picking up this little bundle of feline joy. He grabs the furball and just when he is about to cuddle him ferociously, you won’t believe what the cub’s mother does.
Kevin Knows All About Lions
Yes, lions are dangerous predators, but Kevin has been looking after them for so long that they have started to show their friendly side to him. The Lions seem to have made an exception for Kevin, and they don’t mind having him around.
From a young age, Kevin has been in and around lions. He has helped bring up many cubs with constant love and care. He thought that he was aware of how the big cats react to his interventions, but he too was in for a surprise.
One Small Mistake, Huge Consequences
We all know how one small mistake can turn an animal caretaker into pulp. We have seen many researchers and zookeepers been ripped to shreds by lions and crocodiles in the past, merely because they became a bit overconfident.
Kevin knew all these risks? He knew that the Lions have limits and he had to abide by them for his own sake. Handling the young cub could be the one mistake that can lead to his undoing, but maybe he believed in his deep relationship with the wild cats?
He Got It on Tape
The best part about the whole incident is that Kevin got it all on tape. He was using his phone to record everything and honestly, we can’t thank him enough for doing it.
The video begins when he walks into the enclosure where a lioness is laying down calmly with her newborn cub by her side. People often say that it’s not a good idea to touch a house cat’s newly born litter of kittens because she might retaliate furiously, but Kevin apparently couldn’t handle the cuteness.
Something Surreal Happens
Just as you’d expect, as soon as Kevin picks up the cub, the lioness becomes aware. The cub is so adorable that Kevin completely forget about the lioness’ presence. The lioness pounces on Kevin, but not to tear him to pieces…
She hugs him, and we witness one of the biggest bear hugs ever given by a lion to a man. But how is this possible? More importantly, why does the lioness have such affection for someone so distant from her species?
She and Kevin Go Way Back
You must be wondering how a fierce predator like a lion developed such beautiful feelings for a human? Well, the main reason is that Kevin has known the lioness for a really long time.
Even before she got pregnant, Kevin and the lioness were buddies. Kevin says that it’s no easy task to establish a rapport with these animals; let alone build a relationship full of inter-species love and trust.
Daily Conversations and Playtime
Kevin says that he and the lions have regular meetings. He talks to them, and they reply in their own weird, intelligible, but loving way. “They try to talk back, and we have a lot of fun with each other.”
He says that since they have become friends, the lioness plays with her almost every day. The lions get excited every time he enters the enclosure, and their excitement brings a smile on his face every day too.
One of a Kind Experience
Kevin says that he has a rigorous schedule every day, but since he loves his job tremendously, he doesn’t get bored or tired by it. He has to greet the lioness every day and only once “he has said Hi to her on a daily basis,” does he get handsy with the cubs.
Kevin says that it’s a unique experience that not many people get to enjoy. He says that it takes years of experience, training and getting to know the Lions’ temperaments to be able to handle the cubs.
The Art of Being Around Lions
Kevin has helped many scientists, researchers and zookeepers learn the art (and science) of being around lions. Kevin’s experience and wisdom in this regard hold great value, and he makes sure he passes it on whenever given a chance.
Kevin believes that an essential part of raising cubs in a human-run establishment is ensuring that they get ample feeding time. He says that he often has to separate the cubs and the mother from the rest of the pride so that they can eat in peace.
Some Shuteye to End the Day
Kevin often takes a nap after a tiring day, within the lions’ enclosure. Having this much trust in the lioness and her pride is genuinely something that leaves you in awe. This indeed goes to show that we really don’t have any reason to be cruel to animals. Not one.
The lioness also sometimes takes a nap right alongside Kevin. The picture showing the pair sleep side by side, without showing any signs of hostility or fear towards each other, is genuinely depictive of the beautiful bond that can exist between humans and animals if we stop treating them inhumanely.