By Giacomo Brunelli @GJBrunelli
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Nate Spicer
Producer: Giacomo Brunelli, James Thorne
Editor: Ethan Edwards
James Smith, of Stanton Missouri, has been around these big cats and wolves for over thirteen years. He was bottle-feeding them when they were puppies and is still feeding them raw meat today. James is an animal handler at Wild Animal Adventures Park and says he couldn't imagine doing anything else in life. The bond he has developed with the big cats is so strong that female lion Zella will even sometimes suck on James' thumb like a baby. James told Truly: "As far as they're concerned and as far as I'm concerned in a real way I am their parent, I did take the position of their mum." Park Manager, Sheri, added: "I think James has a natural ability, he was made to communicate with animals - it really is a gift." However strong his bond with these animals may be, James still needs to keep his wits about him when working with these potentially deadly animals. "You're talking a 250-300lbs cat - it could take them getting mad over something little and that's it, you're not walking out of that cage," James said.