Some adrenaline junkies jump off bridges or out of airplanes. Some dive hundreds of feet beneath the surface of the ocean. Others hug lions. Or really, probably just this one guy hugs lions. The one guy is Kevin Richardson, a South African animal behaviorist also known as “the Lion Whisperer.” Richardson is known for spending a lot of quality time with large African mammals like hyenas, leopards, and lions.
Richardson makes sure to point out that hey, you probably shouldn’t do this (or, you know what? If you’re dumb enough to think hugging a lion is a good idea, maybe you should do this and strengthen our gene pool a wee bit), and he has had a number of close encounters. Richardson only hugs lions he’s known since birth, and has still been clawed and bitten a number of times. In the meantime, between him and the guy who stared down a black rhino, I’m hoping African naturalists keep filming themselves doing awesome, badass things with gigantic, terrifying animals, so I can feel a little more secure in my life choice to not become a swashbuckling adventurer.