A man is totally relaxed, playing with the lions, even playing the drums on one of their tummies! It's already an unusual scene but what happens next is even more surprising. As the keeper is busy with the lions, a leopard advances behind his back and begins to run in his direction... Until he's stopped in his tracks by a tiger, who had spotted what he was up to!
Had the tiger stepped in to protect the keeper from the leopard? Probably! But this isn't just any tiger, any keeper or just any leopard. This video was filmed inside the sanctuary of the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation. For several years, this organization, based in Mexico, has taken in big cats who had suffered abuse in circuses, zoos or from illegal private owners.
Eduardio Serio, the man we see in the video, is the founder of the charity. He has so far saved over 200 big cats. He has developed close relationships with most of the cats he has saved, including Aztlan the tigress and Dharma the leopard. The latter was rescued from an owner who had fed him on a diet of sweetened condensed milk, meaning he was severely malnourished and underdeveloped.
Rescued and transferred to the sanctuary, Dharma is doing much better these days and has taken to climbing and jumping on anything and anyone in his path. So although his running towards Eduardo may have looked like an attack, it was really nothing of the sort!
Although Dharma may have taken Eduardio by surprise, we see from his reactions afterwards that he is just as at ease with the leopard as he is with the lions. Still, we admire the actions of Aztlan the tigress, who reacted with lightning speed when she thought Eduardio was in danger. However affectionate these big cats may seem, it is important to remember that they are wild animals and we shouldn't try to imitate Eduardio Serio ourselves!