19th century lithograph of a lion tamer
|Activity sectors||Entertainment, show business|
Lion taming is the taming and training of lions, either for protection, or more commonly, entertainment, particularly in the circus. The term often applies to the taming and display of other big cats—such as tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and cougars. People often use lion taming as a metaphor for a dangerous activity, due to the obvious risks of toying with powerful, instinctive carnivores.
Lion taming occurs in zoos across the world, to enable less dangerous feeding.
The Captive Animal Protection Society maintains that animal welfare cannot be guaranteed in circuses.
- Isaac A. Van Amburgh (1811–1865) was an American animal trainer who developed the first trained wild animal act in modern times. He was known for acts of daring, such as placing his head inside the jaws of a wild cat, and became known as “The Lion King.”.
- George Wombwell (1777–1850), founder of Wombwell's Traveling Menagerie, raised many animals himself, including the first lion bred in captivity in Britain. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery, under a statue of his lion Nero.
- Carl Hagenbeck (1844–1913) was a merchant of wild animals.
- Mabel Stark (1889–1968) was referred to as the world's first woman tiger tamer.
- Clyde Beatty (1903–1965) was among the pioneers to use a chair in training big cats.
- Gunther Gebel-Williams (1934–2001) was a world-famous animal trainer for the Red Unit with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
- Ángel Cristo (1943-2010), the most famous lion and tiger tamer in Spain, known for his numerous accidents under lion and tiger attacks. In 1982 he won the Medalla de Oro del Festival Internacional del Circo ('Golden Medal of the Circus International Festival').
- Martin Lacey, (born 1947), animal trainer, owner of the Great British Circus, trained most of the tigers used in the ESSO TV advertisements in the 1970s.
- Martin Lacey, Jr., (born 1977), son of Martin, an animal trainer and performer with Circus Krone in Munich.
- Jen Stewart (born 1992), inventor of the "Flower Power" taming technique.
- Irina Bugrimova (1911–2001), the first female lion tamer in Russia
- "Circuses". Captive Animal Protection Society. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- Culhane, John (1990). The American circus : an illustrated history (1st ed.). New York: Holt. ISBN 0805004246.
- History Magazine, "Step Right Up," October/November 2001 issue.
- "Lord of the Rings: Gunther Gebel-Williams, 1934-2001". Ringling.com. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- El Periódico newspaper (May 4, 2010), article about Cristo's death. Resume of his life and rewards (in Spanish).
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