Watch this zoologist get lovingly pounced upon by lions (Video)

It would be hard not to appreciate the sight of an African lion racing in your direction as you strolled through the savannah -- especially given the fact that it'd probably be the last thing you'd ever see. But for brave zoologist Kevin Richardson, an animal behaviorist known for his uncannily close relationship with the big cats, getting pounced upon by lions just means they really love him.

Richardson has gained a reputation as the 'lion whisperer' for his ability to gain entrance into the animals' hearts while avoiding their stomachs. Over the last decade, the zoologist has worked closely with lions on a reserve in South Africa, earning the trust and affection of an untamed pride -- suggesting an emotional depth not often attributed to the iconic predators.

The scene above, says Richardson, is how the lions greet him in the morning -- a diuretic sort of experience that ends with hugs and playful pawing. Well, so far, anyways.

"I know they could kill me in a second, but that doesn't bother me. If I came back to life, I would do it all again," he says.

Though he may be taking his life into his own hands with the company he keeps, Richardson's remarkable friendship with lions is helping to draw attention towards their preservation.

Tags: Animals | Endangered Species

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