How ever many times I watch a video of Kevin with his lions, I am always in awe of this man.
He was born on the 8th October 1974 in Johannesburg, South Africa and at college, started studying zoology but gave up because he thought his career would never to be working with animals and that it could only be a hobby. He then started courses in anatomy and physiology to become an exercise physiologist.
When he was 23 years old, Kevin had the chance to work with two six month old lion cubs, Napoleon and Tau. Rodney Fuhr at the Lion Park recognised something special in Kevin and asked him to come and meet the two cubs.
The work was originally part time but Kevin knew this is what he wanted to do. He had such an amazing way with these beautiful animals and was soon making documentaries that generated volunteers and income to help support the Lion Park Sanctuary.
Although Kevin’s specialty and deep love is working with lions, he has also worked with hyenas, cheetahs and leopards. It seems his magic works with many types of animals.
Now Kevin runs the ‘Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary’ in Pretoria. He truly loves his lions and they love him. He has fed, lived, and slept with his huge cats and although he has been scratched, bitten and punctured, it has never been malicious, always just in play.
Kevin will always point out that he only interacts with lions that he has known since birth and that is how such a mutual trust and respect develops.
He said,”A lion is not a possession. It’s a sentient being, so you must pay attention and develop your bond like with any relationship”.
Kevin is very concerned about the African lion population, during a fifteen year period, it has fallen from 350,000 to a scary 25,000. And unfortunately the African government still supports the paid killing of large game due to the huge income from eager foreigners.
But Kevin will carry on his work to ensure the safety of these magnificent animals and allow us to watch his amazing relationship with ‘his friends’.