Part of the Pride: My Life Living Amongst Africa's Big Cats
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In "Part of the Pride", Kevin Richardson, recently dubbed "The Lion Man" on 60 Minutes, tells the story of how he grew from a young boy who loved animals to become a man able to cross the divide between humans and predators, looking some of the world's most dangerous animals directly in the eye, playing with them and even kissing them on the nose-all without ever being attacked or injured. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal's spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Richardson allows the animals' own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two he calls his "brothers"; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson taught to swim; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little hyena called Homer who didn't live to see his first birthday. In "Part of the Pride", Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa.
publicity if Kevin was eaten by one of his tame lions. I’m sure the visitor from Zambia had the backing of other people at the Lion Park, and Rodney once more had to take me aside for a quiet chat. “This is kind of hard for me, Kev,” Rodney began. “There is something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about for some time, so I’m just going to come right out and say it. The guy from Zambia says you are too rough with the lions and they are too rough with you. Maybe you should calm it down.” I
he would always ask questions. He didn’t take things at face value—he always wanted to know why I did what I did, and how I did it. He reminded me a bit of myself. He was a hard worker and a good listener, with an analytical mind. Unlike some young people, he didn’t expect to get to the top position in five minutes. He knew he would have to work hard, but that didn’t mean he had to do things the same way as they had always been done, simply because that was the norm. The feedback from tourist
world of lion handling. Meat should always be given to a lion from the tip of a stick, as a lot of people believe that a lion can’t tell the difference between the meat and your hand. As well as not crouching or crawling or lying around a lion, I wasn’t supposed to approach it head-on, or put my hands near its mouth. I let my lions drink water out of my cupped hands and that, like most things I do, is also forbidden in the world of lion-keeping. I’d already broken all these rules before I even
not only makes him easy to work with, but also a pleasure to be around all the time. Making what is possibly the biggest understatement of the year, I can definitely say it’s best to stay away from a male lion while he’s mating. Otherwise, he’ll most likely rip your head off. For the film we wanted a shot of Napoleon walking towards the camera with an intent look on his face. I knew he would be “intense” if he thought his current girlfriend, Tabby, was being taken away from him. Napoleon didn’t
When that happened, even though he was our father, my brother, sisters, and I didn’t even really want to be around him. I know that sounds a bit strange, terrible even, but I remember thinking that now we could get on with this life of ours, as a family. It was almost like he was a burden rather than one of the household. It was a bit of a relief for my mom, too. My dad was never violent, but things had been strained between them and she’d been the sole breadwinner for a couple of years by the