Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ “Legends” show parades into the PNC Arena Wednesday through Sunday with trumpeting elephants, majestic horses, high-flying stunts and awe-inspiring feats.
Also along for the ride: Alexander Lacey and his Big Cats – 19 lions and tigers, and a leopard named Mogli. We spoke to the big-cat trainer about growing up around animals, judging their whims, knowing when it’s time to retire and responding to critics.
My parents said to me, “It’s a way of life. It’s not a job. We have to be here 365 days a year. Your life revolves around the animals.”
In the beginning, you’ve got to do all the horrible jobs. Clean up behind the cats, feed and water them. That weeds out the people who are after a life in the spotlight.
I know my animals’ character, if they’re in a good mood or bad mood. The secret is to be one step ahead. Don’t force an animal to perform or do something that’s not within limits.