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Lion tamer
Lion tamer (LOC pga.03749).jpg
19th century lithograph of a lion tamer
Type Performing arts
Activity sectors Entertainment, show business
Fields of employment Circus
Related jobs Animal trainer
Circus director and lion tamer Gerd Siemoneit-Barum during a performance in Nordenham, Germany in May 1977

Lion taming is the practice of taming lions, either for protection, whereby the practice was probably created, or, more commonly, entertainment, particularly in the circus. The term is also often used for the taming and display of other big cats such as tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and pumas. Lion taming is used as a stereotypical dangerous occupation due to the obvious risks of toying with powerful instinctive carnivores.

Lion taming is performed in zoos across the world, to enable less dangerous feeding and to bring more profit by holding programmes like cub petting.

In recent years the "taming" of wild animals for performance purposes has drawn accusations of cruelty. [1].

Note that taming an individual lion is not the same as domestication of a species.

Lion tamers

  • Rose Flanders Bascom was an American female lion tamer in the early 1900s.[2] She was born in 1880 in the village of Contoocook within the town of Hopkinton, New Hampshire. In 1898 she married Alfred Bascom who was of French Canadian ancestry but born in the United States. About 1905, Rose joined the circus life and became a lion tamer. It is reported that she was clawed by a lion resulting in an infection that led to her untimely death around the year of 1915, leaving her husband Alfred and their young daughter Agnes.
  • Clyde Beatty (1903-1965) was among the pioneers to use a chair in training big cats.
  • Thomas Beckerson was an English botanist who studied in Africa but was fascinated by the lions there and brought back his lion taming skills to Victorian London.
  • Alfred Court, 1940s
  • Professor George Keller
  • Gunther Gebel-Williams (1934-2001) was a world-famous animal trainer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.[3]
  • George Wombwell (1777-1850), founder of Wombwell's Travelling Menagerie, raised many animals himself including the first lion to be bred in captivity in Britain. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery, under a statue of his lion Nero.
  • 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.
  • Alex Lacey, also son of Martin, animal trainer and performer.
  • (in fiction) "Ronder, of course, was a household word. He was the rival of Wombwell": Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger




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