LIVINGSTONE TOWN, ZAMBIA —
Outside of Victoria Falls national park in Zambia, Africa, Lion Encounter is a reserve for captive-bred lions and a program to introduce their offspring into the wild to care for the declining wild lion populations.
Here, I was able to walk with a male and female cubs, each under age 2, the age when they are no longer able to hang out with humans ... They have all their teeth, their claws and all lion things ... they are raised by handlers so they are used to people.
We walked behind them and held them by the tail. At one point this guy broke away from me and then we heard him re-emerging from the forest, and I could not tell where he was. It's disconcerting to hear a lion coming and not know what he's running at. You could pet him behind his mane or on the side of his face, which I did. If he turned to Play, you got up. Quickly. One swipe and your face is gone.
It was amazing. And I love how it looks like he's getting his school photo taken.