Friends with Lions
Kevin Richardson loves animals by nature, and his family adopts cats, goldfish, toads, parrots… and even pythons all year round. When he graduated from middle school, he aspired to become a veterinarian, but he was not admitted because he answered “Passion with animals is more important than academic performance” on the entrance examination.
After changing careers several times, Richardson began to work as a lion cub taming in the Wild Lion Park, and he has forged an indissoluble bond with lions ever since.
Among the many beasts, the lion is Richardson’s favorite animal. He treats each lion like a different friend, talks to them, touches them, and especially expresses “respect smoke” to them. He played games with cubs and slept with them every day, and established a supernatural close relationship with them.
In the Lion Park, he met a lion named Chavo. Chavo’s growth experience is very bitter. Its sharp claws were cut off a long time ago, which has always made Richardson sad. A lion has no sharp claws, just like a human without fingers, it is unimaginable difficulty in eating. Its four paws were scarred and full of calluses, so its walking gait looked strange. Its animal traces—the marks that it stepped on the ground—are almost impossible to recognize that it came from a lion. Richardson often thought about how humiliating what happened to it, and he wanted to give it a new life.
When I met Chavo, he was about 3 years old, weighed 180 kilograms, and had a beautiful and thick mane. Two or three-year-old lions are equivalent to human teenagers. Lions at this age are in puberty, and their sex hormones are beginning to increase. They feel that they understand everything, do not want to listen to suggestions, and are eager to challenge. Richardson was in adolescence like Chavo.
Chaver, sometimes Richardson would call it that, and he often walked across the fence to greet it. Sometimes he would lead Chaver in the fence to play soccer with two other lions named Tao and Napoleon. With his company, Chavo became healthy day by day.
Feel the vitality of the lion
Our usual understanding is: bring a stick, bring a chain, and tame those wild animals, and Richardson will never do this, “you cannot control them through fear.” As a self-taught animal behaviorist, he has broken every safety rule known to mankind when dealing with these wild animals. He only uses love, understanding and trust. “In 10 years, I learned how to grow up with lions, and now they really accept me.” He said.
Unlike other zookeepers, Richardson does not carry a stick with him. “You are crazy, boy.” Others would say so. He doesn’t think he is crazy, because he doesn’t need a stick to make friends with animals. “In any case,” he said to his opponents, “if a lion really wants to eat you, what does a stick do?”
Someone asked him how it feels to be so close to a lion while holding a lion. , The first answer that popped into his mind was power. It is not that he has the power to tame animals, but the pure vitality emanating from these animals, which can be especially felt from the adult lions. “It’s like stepping on the accelerator of a car with a V8 engine. Although you can’t see the engine turning, you can feel its power. You can hear it.” When he stroked the lion When he was fur, he could feel that all he felt was muscle, not a pound of fat. When this power made a sound or even roared, he could feel the shock of his body.
Lions’ perception of smell depends on what they have just done and eaten. It is very interesting that lions never bathe. Their only chance to take a bath is during the pouring rain, but even if they don’t wash for a long time, they won’t have a smell. There is a unique smell on the lion, but because Richardson is so close to them, he can’t describe it clearly. His wife Mandy said to him: “You are already numb to the smell.” Richardson thought it was a bit like a mixture of pet smells, but it didn’t smell bad, not like cat urine or wet. The sour smell on the dog. To keep the hair supple, the area behind the lion’s ears secretes an oily substance. There is a pinch of black hair behind its ears, which can be seen when it is close. In fact, that pinch of black hair is his favorite part of all parts of the lion’s body. That bunch of hair is very soft, like silk. The hair on other parts of the lion’s body is the same as human hair, and varies according to the different parts of the body. The hair on the back is thick and rough, and it feels like the hair on the dog’s back to the touch, but the hair on the lower abdomen and inner limbs is very soft.
”How does it feel to be friends with Lions?” A relative asked Richardson this way, just like many people ask.
The best answer he can give is “The lion is like my friend”. After a hard day’s work, it is very pleasant to sit and have a drink and chat with friends. There was a time when he was in a bad state. He sat with the lion without saying a word. When he got up again, all the negative emotions had disappeared, and it was another sunny day. His wife Mandy said that every time he sits with them, he will be full of energy.
Bridging the gap between humans and beasts
As an animal behaviorist, Richardson is completely self-taught. He has won the trust of animals with love and respect. They treat Richardson as a member of their race, accept him, and rely on him.
He can sleep on the grassland in the morning with Tao and Napoleon’s belly, drag the lioness Meg’s paw to teach it to swim, hug the hyena Gina to wrestle, and is treated as the only companion by the jackal Nandy… Lioness Perlock Le even took the baby he had just given birth to Richardson and invited him to hug them. Of course, Richardson also has thrilling moments of angering the violent
lion Chavo … Sometimes when Richardson is playing with the lion, the lioness will open his blood basin and bit his arm in the mouth. , But Richardson knew in his heart that the lion was only playing games with him, and would not actually bite him. Sometimes, the fierce lion in the nature reserve will stand on its hind legs, put its front paws on Richardson’s shoulders, and embrace him enthusiastically. An adult male lion can weigh up to 225 kilograms, and they can easily throw people to the ground. However, the king of beasts is like a pet to Richardson. They even allow Richardson to sit on them. Kiss on the nose.
Richardson claimed that these lions knew he respected them.
From a little boy who loves animals to a man who crosses the gap between humans and beasts, Richardson has taken on more responsibilities. After seeing people hunting lions for fun, Richard filmed films such as “Dangerous Companion” and “White Lion”, hoping that people can pay more attention and protection to lions and not shoot them. Because “I don’t believe in witchcraft, but I believe that every person, every animal, and every soul has a halo around them.”
In June 2015, a 29-year-old American female tourist was killed by a lioness in the wild lion park where Richardson worked. To this end, Yahoo Travel Channel interviewed Richardson. He said that when contacting wild animals, tourists should be careful not to cross boundaries. He often calls on the Internet that when contacting beautiful but dangerous wild animals like lions, people should keep their distance, respect them, and be alert to potential dangers. However, in order to pursue the extreme experience, many people are unwilling to abide by this strict rule and believe that there will be no danger to themselves.
On the evening of August 1, 2015, a projection of a large lion named Cecil appeared on the wall of the U.S. Empire State Building. It and 160 species of endangered animals covered a full 33 floors of the building. People stared at the one that once scorned the grassland. The lion is full of apologies. Richardson has never been so sad. His favorite lion, CeCil, the absolute king on the grasslands of Zimbabwe, was hunted down by an American dentist. On that day, he was not the world-famous “Lion Whisperer”, he was just one of the crowd caught in anger and condemnation.
Richardson said: “I always rely on my instinct to estimate the danger of an animal. If I smell something wrong, I will not approach an animal casually. All I have is patience. These beasts may be extremely dangerous , But interacting with them is my passion, not my task.”