What is the true nature of lions and hyenas?

Kevin Richardson is a South African zookeeper who has been accepted into several clans of spotted hyenas and prides of lions. His years-long relationship with these animals illustrates a different side of them: they can be affectionate and cuddly. Given how many atrocities humans commit to get their food, you have to wonder what one should consider the “true nature” of lions and hyenas. More information:
  • A 15 minute documentary with Kevin Richardson shows him cuddling lions and hyenas. He also tells stories about their personalities and mentions interesting facts such as hyenas being matriarchal.
  • Lions may be extinct within 20 years. At Richardson’s website you can volunteer and donate to help protect them and other African wildlife. Richardson has founded a wildlife sanctuary whose goal it is to “minimize the number of large carnivores being kept in captivity and to highlight the direct link between the cub petting industry and the ‘canned’ hunting industry, by educating the unsuspecting public to the horrors associated with this unscrupulous practise.”
  • Wikipedia has some background on Richardson and mentions that what he does is not risk-free. But that is to be expected.