A nickname in the world for a long time is one man — Kevin Richardson. He deserved it «rank» — for many years Kevin communicates equally with wild animals. But — note — not a circus or a zoo, but in their natural habitat — the South African Reserve. Among his friends — lions, tigers, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes.

Way to preserve Richardson was tortuous and thorny. He was born in 1974 in Johannesburg — one of the largest cities in South Africa. His ancestors emigrated there from England. Kevin was the youngest child in the family, he had two twin sister and a brother. Children in such a big company’ve rarely miss, especially since little brother Kevin was a lot of invention. That stray cat dragged into the house, it would start to breed crickets, you will lead a toad and call her Peddazh. But when the boy was 13 years old, happy and serene childhood time was over — his father died. To raise the sons and daughters, his mother worked tirelessly.

The children were on their own, but if a senior has to be relied, the youngest just entered a dangerous adolescence. Kevin gave up his studies at the school, contacted with bad company, started a bully. At age 14, crashed the car sister. And who knows what would have ended if not fortune. He brought our young hero with Stan Schmidt, a man passionately enthusiastic zoology. Kevin and previously loved animals, but then realized that he was prepared to devote to the science all his life. He enrolled at the University in the Department of Zoology and plunged headlong into the science. However, after two years of earnest desire to do science was gone. Kevin dropped out. His act, he explained simply: not that, he went to the temple of science to study simple organisms, such as garden snails.

Seventh Heaven

Richardson decided to try his hand in the other case — in medicine. Enrolled in the College of Medicine and was biting granite science. By the end of it sat an assistant surgeon, but this time it did not last long. Something tells us that medicine — not his vocation. Again came about by accident! Kevin met Rodney Fakhro — a great lover of animals. Young people have traveled across the country to watch the animals, photographing them and dream to dedicate his life to our younger brothers. Soon the chance to represent the family — he was offered a ranger in the lion park. Fakhr immediately invited to the same, and his sidekick, and associates. Thus began modestly brilliant career of one of the most ardent defenders of the animals.

Lion Park was opened in 1966, the couple, former circus named Chipperfield, who previously were involved in preparation of circus animals. The reserve is in the small town Broderstrum 35 miles north of Johannesburg native Kevin. In one part of the park is home to grazing animals — zebras, giraffes, antelopes, in the other — carnivores: lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards. Park territory occupied 647 hectares and take visitors there year-round. Work in the reserve is always missing. We had to nurse newborn babies, who are abandoned mother, feed the animals, garbage, ennobling territory. But despite the fact that sometimes we had to perform the dirty work, Kevin was in seventh heaven. He felt that he finally found himself a place.

Science friends

From the start of the park was Kevin find a common language with the animals. Of course, the easiest way was to make contact with young animals. So with Kevin were first friends — 7-month-old cubs Tau and Napoleon. Then he made friends with the other animals, six of which were his pets — Gambit giraffe, lions Meg and Amy, hyenas Jinnah and Thrall, lioness Pelohale. Day after day, Kevin watched the habits of animals, learned their language, studied their «manners.» He realized that they, like people, like affection, attention and care, and do not tolerate those who attempt to tame them with a stick, stick and chain. Each animal — his character, therefore, each of them requires a special, personal touch. Someone could not stand shouting and sudden movements, some, however, obeyed only when it shout. These simple rules will allow Richardson to be his among animals — he slept, ate, lived with herbivores and carnivores.

This does not mean that the incident never happened. Richardson realized pretty quickly what danger may be an adult lion. One big chetyrehletok squeezed him and bit much, though, fortunately Kevin, quickly dismissed, or the case could end badly. Another time, he played with two lions, they were in a good mood and went in earnest. They pushed Kevin to the ground, and one of the lions jumped on him and scratched his face. The wounds were quite serious, but nothing happened. Once, when Kevin left the cage with the animals, a lion, playing, clutching his back paw. «Traces» of the friendly participation adorn the body of Kevin today. But nothing of the small wounds and say nothing. Leos love to lick it, thus expressing his love. But the language of the kings of animals rough as sandpaper, and it costs nothing to cut the skin, licking it several times. Richardson evil predators is not holding — once they scratch him, then they recognize their own. But he did not look for trouble climbing. «I do not under any circumstances be near unto the beast, if I feel that something is wrong,» — he said.

Good magician

In time for Richardson stuck the nickname «caster lions.» In South Africa, where many people still really believe in magic, few people believed that dialogue on an equal footing with the big predators are no magic spells. Kevin has long urged the public, it’s all about trust, understanding and intuition. To convey to people how fragile is the world in which we live, he decided to do social work aimed at protecting animals. In many African countries continue to ruthlessly exterminate predators. Over the past 15 years, the population of lions decreased dramatically — from 350 000 to 25 000 individuals. The hunt for the kings of beasts brings only South African treasury fabulous money — $ 90 million a year. Foreign tourists, mainly from the U.S., pay up to 40 times 000, to hunt lions. In addition, permitted hunting of rhinos, giraffes, elephants, tigers.

In 2010, the screens of the world was a film by Michael Swan in collaboration with Kevin Richardson called «White Lion.» The film follows the unlikely of wildlife named Letsatsi. Its color is due to the baby kicked out of the pride relatives, and he was forced from a young age to survive, hunt and protect themselves not only from the tribesmen, but the hunters, for whom skin white lion — a priceless trophy.

Both before and after the «White Lion» Richardson a lot of filming with their subjects in various documentaries and commercials. Its work to protect animals bore fruit: the park «Kingdom of the white lions,» which for some time now headed by Kevin Richardson rushed volunteers. His work is supported by many people around the world. But «Lord of Lions» is not going to stop there — he wants to live to see the day when hunting lions will be completely banned.

Oksana Volkova

Category: Flora and Fauna

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