Great video. Zoologist Kevin Richardson aka “the Lion Whisperer” spends some time with a few lions and hyenas.

I’m fascinated watching it. On one level I’m struck by how similar our domesticated versions are to their wild cousins. Our big (20lb) tomcat likes to jump and headbutt me. His facial expression when he’s just sitting there -watching- is eerily similar to the lions. The hyenas rooting around curiously, running off with and then mauling the GoPro camera remind me of my dogs.

But at the same time you realize these are totally wild animals. Totally wild, totally beautiful, totally large animals. My 80lb German Shepard mix nearly bowls me over when he greets me at the door by jumping up and putting his paws on my shoulder. I can’t even imagine the mass and inertia of several hundred pounds of animal jumping up to whack me with a paw. At one point Richardson is asked about the hyenas and their comical face (they ask from inside a metal cage that looks like a shark tank) and his reply (or lack thereof) speaks volumes. You’ll also note the camera crew driving away from the lions after they surrounded the car.

Richardson has some advice for anyone trying to follow in his footsteps, via wikipedia:

He warns about following in his footsteps, however. All the pictures of his adventures do not portray his years of experience and bonding. “People like to take things out of context. They don’t know the relationship I have with this lion.” As a rule, Richardson only interacts with lions he has been with since their birth. Richardson also differentiates his work from those of zoologists interacting with completely wild animals they have not raised, or that of trainers whose animals are required to perform on stage day after day