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Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Kevin Richardson: The Lion Whisperer
Meet Kevin Richardson-- I have posted one of his videos at the bottom of the blog! ( amazing )
After graduating with a BSc in Anatomy and Physiology, Kevin began his career in postoperative rehabilitation. He made a dramatic career switch when he was given an opportunity to work with lions at a local lion park, sixteen years ago.
As a self-taught animal behaviourist, he has broken every safety rule known to man 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-just like a mother understands a child-has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold.
Kevin’s unique relationships with these large predators have opened many doors and captivated the imagination of many people throughout the world. He has presented and produced several documentaries that detail his relationships with the animals and highlight the plight of lions both in captivity and in the wild.
Kevin has also written a book appropriately named, "Part of the Pride" detailing his work over the years with the large carnivores and is now affectionately known by his fans worldwide as “The Lion Whisperer”.
Through his remarkable relationships with the animals he has also made a name for himself in the feature film industry as one of South Africa’s leading animal handlers and advisors.
He has been featured prominently as a result of his ground breaking work on many local and international News Networks, Newspapers, Magazine and Actuality Programs including Sky News , CNN, ABC News, NBC , CBS, Carte Blanche and Top Billing.
His most ambitious project to date was that of a full length dramatic feature film called “white lion”, whereby he fulfilled the role as both producer and lion wrangler. The film took over four years to make and is about the life of a young white lion, “Letsatsi” who survives against all the odds to become an adult and find a pride of his own.
1. Growing up Hyena
The story of a remarkable young hyena and one man’s quest to change people’s misconceptions of these remarkable animals. In tales of courage and strength in the animal kingdom it is the lion which is crowned king of the beasts; its rival the hyena, is left with a more tarnished image. Always the scavenger, always the villain, the hyena has traditionally been feared and loathed as the embodiment of evil. There are a few people who have set out to change those misconceptions. He has a truly unique bond with the hyenas he cares for, so much so, that he is almost an honorary member of the clan.
2. Dangerous Companions
Kevin Richardson, animal behaviorist, works with some of the most dangerous animals known to man. He sleeps with lions, cuddles newborn hyenas and swims with lionesses. Rather than train the animals he persuades them. To do this he uses his own unusual methods. He uses love, understanding and trust; and has developed some very close bonds with these animals. He has become many things: a trusted ally, a dominant member in a clan of hyenas - a brother. But most of all he is well loved and trusted by his animal friends.
3. In Search of a Legend
Passion, dedication and sacrifice: A tale of one man’s journey to find the elusive black leopard.
The black leopard, silent, solitary and magnificent. It has to be one of the most elusive animals in the world…and feared by most. From the cold temperatures of Europe to the hotter climates of Africa there have been reports that people have seen this infamous creature. But a small farming town called Lydenberg in the North East of South Africa has had more sightings in the last 50 years then anywhere else in the world.
‘In Search of a Legend”- Kevin heads to Lydenberg to talk to the people and hopefully catch a glimpse of the black leopard. Kevin has an uncanny ability to communicate with leopards and other large carnivores. Kevin’s work at The Kingdom brings him into contact with many amazing creatures, but he has formed a unique relationship with two black leopards, Coal and Nikita.
His love for these animals has taken him out of The Kingdom and deep into the African mountains. How could so many sightings have been recorded in one small farming town in South Africa? He wants to know more. Why do they exist, how many and where? His mission is to find a black leopard, but along the way he puts himself in the firing line to protect these animals from their biggest enemy-Man!
4. The Lion Ranger Series-National Geographic Wild
A series for National Geographic Wild consisting of three episodes. Each episode covers the daily life and dramas at Kevin's facility "The Kingdom" as well as other conservation work that Kevin is involved in up in Botswana.
5. Lights, Camera, Lions!
Kevin Richardson is known as “The Lion Whisperer,” which one would figure is probably a bit more dangerous than Cesar Milan’s job. And when he took on the role of lion wrangler for white lion, a fictional film that would in the end take four years to complete, he probably had no idea of the obstacle course that lay before him and the rest of the crew. The lions – all indigenous to South Africa – weren’t trained performers and in some cases, didn’t take too well to direction. Throw in horrible weather and rising costs, and it would be safe to say that the production process was far from “purr-fect.” This documentary traces the triumphs and travails behind the making of the feature, and provides a window into the often untamed world of wildlife shoots.
6. Lions on the Move
Kevin Richardson shares an extraordinary bond with Africa’s most fearsome predators, and together with them, he has experienced quite some adventures. However, moving 27 lions and 14 hyenas to a new home presents a different challenge.
The lions’ new home will be a sanctuary on the edge of Dinokeng, a South African game reserve spanning 18,500 hectares. A huge task lies ahead of Kevin: planning and designing the new enclosures and securing permits to move the animals.
To prevent stereotypical behaviour developing out of frustration and boredom, Kevin tries to make sure his animals live as enriched of lives as possible. The animals are therefore regularly rotated into new enclosures, encouraging them to explore and establish new territories as they would in the wild.
Meanwhile, work on the animals’ new home at Dinokeng is still in progress. Kevin takes us on a tour of the already existing and occupied enclosures and explains how their design is crucial in meeting the animals’ requirements. However, the permits to move the animals are held up. Everything takes longer than anyone predicted. And every day, the pressure to move the animals increases.
Weeks away from the move, the permits are turned down. When they are eventually granted, moving the animals presents the next major challenge. Being able to understand the individual characteristics of his animals will be key to moving them safely. But a few of them are not that keen on climbing into the specially adapted van. Can the reluctant Lions and Hyenas be persuaded to join in on the move?
7. Kevin Richardson - l'homme qui murmure à l'oreille des lions (The Lion Whisperer) – France 2
A documentary produced by well know filmmaker (Gilles de Maistré) about Kevin’s relationships with his lion and hyena friends and about his mission to expose the link between the cub petting industry and the morally repugnant practice of ‘canned’ lion hunting. It was extremely well received and beat viewing records on France 2; despite soaring summer temperatures with over a million people watching the documentary representing 11.5% market share and +25% for this particular time slot! Well worth the watch!
1. White Lion - Home ... is a Journey
A feature film produced by Kevin on the adventurous journey of a rare white lion cub called Letsatsi who must rise up above all challenges, to become one of the most powerful and revered lions in all of Africa.
2. African Safari 3D
Top 3D filmmaker, Ben Stassen (“Fly Me to the Moon,” “Wild Safari 3D”) and cinematographer Sean MacLeod Phillips return to Southern Africa for a whole new 3D adventure. Animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson – “The Lion Whisperer" – guides audiences, together with Mara “Dudu” Douglas Hamilton, on an extraordinary journey across the most spectacular sceneries on earth from the picturesque coastal desert dunes of Namibia, through the natural wonder of the Ngorongoro crater and then on to the breathtaking Victoria Falls. Using breakthrough 3D filming techniques, the film delivers startlingly close encounters with lions, cheetahs, leopards, black rhinoceros and elephants. This is the trek of a lifetime; so get ready to be immersed in the real wild Africa… where there are no fences for your protection!
1. Part of the Pride
A film started to circulate on YouTube ® of a remarkable man named Kevin Richardson, an animal custodian in a South African animal park. The film showed Richardson in his day-to-day work, looking after some of the world's most dangerous animals. Staring some directly in the eye, crouching down at their level, playing with them and even kissing them on the nose - all without ever being seriously attacked or injured. The films popularity sky-rocketed and Richardson became an international sensation. In “Part of the Pride”, Kevin Richardson tells the story of his life and work, how he grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called “The Bird Man of Orange Grove” to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators.
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-just like a mother understands a child-has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Like anyone else who truly loves animals, Richardson allows their own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two male lions he calls his “brothers”; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson swims with; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little Hyena called Homer who didn’t live to see his first birthday. Richardson also chronicles his work on the feature film “white lion” and has a lot to say about the state of lion farming and hunting in South Africa today. In “Part of the Pride”, Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the minds of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa.
Truly an amazing video. A must see. This is one of many!