Ever wanted to take a walk on the wild side, well this is the perfect activity. Walking with elephants is one thing, but to walk with something that might enjoy you for breakfast is another.

Whilst there is huge debate about this activity, with it being dubbed one of the 10 cruelest activities of 2018. Some people can be quick to judge without knowing the full story of how or why places do what they do, and some companies might not show the full workings of what happens behind closed doors. Add social media, showing many different perspectives it can be hard to choose what is good or bad, this must be left to the persons gut feeling.

If something has no interest to humans it can be very difficult to help support it, most people need an obvious direct benefit, and sadly nature often draws the short straw. Previously captive lions can’t be released back into the wild just like that, not knowing how to hunt or what to avoid, nor are there places that are willing to spend thousands to keep them alive for no purpose. There are many ways people have learnt to make money from this situation supporting lions in the process, and though we know it’s not natural, captive bred lions wouldn’t know anything different.

In the past it was more often than not captive animals were badly treated and abused, but today things are changing, and more care is being taken to try and support positive behaviour. In a perfect world it would be great to think everything could be wild and free, though captive animals also play a really important role in a shrinking natural world being polluted by people. They help educate people who may not have the opportunity to experience it outside their home town and are a safety net for animals that are almost extinct or prone to disease.

I went to Victoria falls and one of the activities offered was a lion cub walk, at first, I didn’t think twice at it and thought it would be an inhumane and sad activity. A guest asked if I would join as they didn’t want to do it alone, so I agreed. I presumed it would be small cubs and was shocked and worried as I was signing the indemnity form to see these huge (still cubs) lions walking outside. We were given the do’s and don’ts, and I was far from convinced this was a good idea especially after I was given a stick just in case they get a little too playful though they were not scared of it nor did we need them.

After a while walking in the bush with these cubs, I was completely engrossed watching them play, climb trees and interested in their surroundings. They were not drugged, in healthy condition and very content. Not what I expected, I learnt that it is a program to help rehabilitate lions, this I can only hope is the truth, but even if it is not these lions were still well looked after and not scared of their care givers which made the experience even more relaxed and enjoyable.

I learnt so much that day about lions and have a new-found respect for their skills and size. Things I never would have known otherwise. Other than learning about lions, I also learned not to be so closed minded and experience something first before jumping to conclusions. The experience is probably one of my top 10 of thing I have ever done.

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