Some children have a little pet cat - but Braxton West-Smith has a little big cat to play with. The three-year-old trainee lion tamer is of the latest generation to join Australia's family-run Stardust Circus. His best furry friend is an African lion cub called Zimbi, who will one day take his place under the lights of the big top too.
Boy With Cub
Pet Lion Cub
Boy With Big Cat
They insist they only use the most humane techniques to train their beasts.
Zimbi shares breakfast and playtime with his young human handlers, they train together and, at the end of a long, tiring day, he has his own - rather scratched - armchair to relax in.
Braxton West-Smith and pet lion
Thirty animal activists turned up to a performance of Stardust Circus in Dingley Village, Victoria, just three days ago, and the popularity of groups in the country which opposes animal acts seems to be on the rise.
Rules about circuses vary from state to state, with most requiring owners to apply for permission to exhibit their animals.
Rana Hales of the Caroline Springs Animal Welfare Network said the owner Janice Lennon was more than happy to show her and a fellow activist around their camp site.
Braxton West-Smith's Lion Cub
'When I grow up, I think I'll train the goats,' he said. 'I want to be just like dad.'
Braxton's father trains most of the animals at Stardust Circus. His mother performs with the ponies, and also on the trapeze.