Bonding With Lions
I asked Steve how his special relationship with the pride developed.
“The adults warmed to me after I’d been their primary keeper for a month,” he said. “If they saw me they’d come over – not because they thought I might have food, but because they’re curious.
“I’ve earned their trust. If they don’t trust you, they won’t do anything for you. I call them over and they sit in front of me; the cubs roll around playing.
“I’ve got a relationship with the adult male, but he is a bit grumpy. The others will let me stroke under their chin through the bars, and the cubs are very playful. I don’t shove my hand in there, obviously, but they’ll follow me around and come and sit with me, on the other side of the fence. They know me better than anyone else; they’re my favourites.”