Alexei Pinko and his wife Veronica Pinko are animal trainers of the National Circus of Ukraine who specialize in male lions. 7 lions perform in their 20 minutes programme. As they say, male lions are very difficult to train, as naturally a lion sleeps for 20 hours. Nobody trains lions beyond the former USSR countries.
There are unique elements in their show - like Veronica Pinko riding swings with a lion and Alexei Pinko dancing with a lion. They raise lions from very little cubs, who are never taken from the wild nature: the lion who can be trained has to be born in the zoo at least in 3rd generation. Despite that lions roar in a manner that can scare a visitor, the Pinko couple impresses with their friendly relationship with these animals. They say you can only morally win the battle with the lion. They say that Alexei is a sort of "leader of the pride".
At the age of 5 years lions go through "transition period", and in 2011 one of the Pinko's lions attacked Alexei during the performance, challenging the leadership. He was later sent to the safari park in the south of Ukraine.
They perform in the National Circus of Ukraine in Kiev and other cities of Ukraine, as well as tour abroad.