Kevin Richardson is a South African zoologist and animal behaviourist who have been dubbed ‘The Lion Whisperer’. Kevin doesn’t quite agree this title, but when you see him playing with lions weighting around 200 kg like being some kind of spoiled sweet cats, it is impossible not to think that is quite a suitable appellation.
Kevin Richardson (born October 8, 1974) began his career as a “self-taught’’ zoologist when he was sixteen. While he was in college he decided to start a career in physiotherapy, but it seems that faith brought him the chance to follow his passion of working with animals when he was 23. At this age he had the opportunity to work with two six-month-old lion cubs at the Lion Park near the outskirts of his home in Johannesburg. To play with them Kevin began shortening his hours as a therapist in postoperative rehabilitation. Rodney Fuhr, the park owner, decided to offer Kevin a part time job, which then became his full time job for years.
For 17 years Kevin is working mostly with lions, but he also works with leopards, and hyenas. Kevin doesn’t believe in observing his subjects from a safe distance. On contrary, breaking every safety rule, Kevin has slept next to, fed, and lived with the big cats.
However, Kevin is fully aware of the dangers he exposes. This is why he only interacts with lions he has been with since their birth. In years of experience Kevin has built a strong relationship with these amazing animals earning the right to be included in every part of their lives as ‘one of the pride’.
Recently Kevin relocated at the ‘Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary’, a special facility where he could secure the lives of his beloved animals. The sanctuary is made up of 13 predator enclosures and a large central enrichment area.
As a true animal lover, Kevin Richardson is actively working to raise public awareness and educate them on the need to protect and conserve Africa’s animals. It is a sad fact that the population of lions and other carnivores has dramatically decreased in the past few decades due to habitat loss, human-predator conflict, unscrupulous hunting, disease and their illegal trade.
To gain media attention over these problems, but also to generate income to fund the facility, Kevin and his team works with animals for the commercial filming industry and makes documentaries.
Through his dedication and huge love for these amazing animals Kevin Richardson is an inspiration for all of us.
Watch below few amazing moments of affection between Kevin and his wild friends. How do you feel like when you see their interactions?
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