When asked if his lions would remember him after a year of being apart from each other (as in the story of Christian), Kevin Richardson said,
Absoulutely. Christian's story is an example of the fact that these are not just mindless killers. They actually do have a brain, they do have a sensitive side to them, they do have a social nature, and they do form intimate bonds with people. And the relationship I have with Meg has grown over several years of working together, doing commercials and a movie; the bond that we have with each other is just unbreakable. So I am sure that after a year apart she would remember me and we would have just as intimate a bond.He stressed the importance of knowing the "back story" behind the remarkable pictures of him with Meg the lioness (see yesterday's post to this blog). They have been together for a long time, he has treated her with respect and love, and they have formed a loving bond.
As for these bonds surviving the test of time, I can tell you about a tiger that I spent just a few days with, but in that time I 'got through' to her (she had been very afraid of people) and we were quite happy to be with each other. Since her home was far from mine, it was a year before I could see her again. When I showed up, I stood at the edge of her personal space and she became defensive (she was still afraid of other people). But I called her name and just said, "It's me", and she immediately chuffed--calling me over to her. And she was very happy to see me again.
I hope Mr. Richardson continues to educate people. These animals are not just "mindless killers". They do have a sensitive side. They are thinking, feeling, loving beings.
Here, as promised, is the full segment from the Today show in which Mr. Richardson appeared: