PURRRFECT: Lion tamer Matthew Ezekial, of Stardust Circus, relaxes in Ballina with Ceasar the lion.
PURRRFECT: Lion tamer Matthew Ezekial, of Stardust Circus, relaxes in Ballina with Ceasar the lion.

The cat's meow

By DAWN COHEN

Cuddling up to a lion is like playing with a teddy bear for Matthew Ezekial.

The 24-year-old's pride will be performing in Ballina tonight with Stardust Circus.

"They only get irritable in the mating season," he said.

Matthew trained the five lions alongside master-tamer, Glen West, using only rewards.

"It is a myth that whips were ever used in training animals," said Glen, one of Stardust's owners. "Whips and guns were only ever for show in the ring."

The West family has owned circuses since the 1860s.

While other two-year-olds befriended the family dog, Glen was cuddling lions.

The 35-year-old left the circus once for a job as a panel beater.

"I stuck it out for three months, but it was too boring," he said.

"I love the animals."

Stardust Circus is at Ballina's Fripp Oval tonight and tomorrow at 7pm. Call 6686 2662 to book.



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