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The Daily Beast - The Lion Whisperer - October 16, 2010

Toronto Star Picture Editor Wanda Goodwin shares these delightful images of Kevin Richardson a.k.a "The Lion Whisperer."  A new film opening soon in The United States about a rare white lion who escapes becoming a trophy on a wall, is a rare happy ending in a country where more than 1,000 lions are killed legally each year. Kevin Richardson, the man behind the movie, calls himself an "ambassador of lions" and hopes the film will act as one too at a time when foreign tourists are willing to pay up to $40,000 to shoot a big cat.


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Kevin Richardson, a.k.a. the Lion Whisperer lays with two of his lions on October 11, 2010, in their enclosure at the Kingdom of the White Lion park in Broederstroom, South Africa. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)


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Kevin Richardson sprays his lions with water and citronella in their enclosure.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)


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Kevin Richardson wrestles playfully with a lioness.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)


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 Kevin Richardson shows the size of a lion's tongue.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)


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 Kevin Richardson snuggles a lioness to his chest.  (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)


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Related to Timothy Treadwell by any chance?

I can only hope that this goes more public so that other people can help him with this great thing he is doing for the lions God Bless him

I predict: this guy gets mauled to death. Now I am not wishing it on him but the pictures would have been more beautiful without him in them. Humans and lions and tigers and any wild animal do not mix. No matter how comfortable we feel with them they are still a wild animal. It does not matter how much we may think they love us, they are just putting up with us because we feed them. Stop feeding them and see how much they love you then.This guy needs a new hobby. Someone tell this guy to get a girlfriend...

The pictures were wonderful! The lions are huge, but affectionate.

This man is a god send....Its so important for people to realize that the lions are living creatures as well as the human race. Its all about awareness....Im sure there are plenty of people out there who would love to "hunt" humans instead of animals and put them up as a trophy. The rarity of the white lions are truely a gift from nature. Its part of the circle of life to enjoy their majestic beauty. Not hunt them as a sport.

More evidence people are stupid for forcing animals into extinction. "If it's dangerous, it must be killed." Please.

this guy just might be the lucky'est person in the world!

Shoot animals with cameras, shoot poachers with high powered rifles. A quote from earlier to which I heartily agree.

To all the people commenting that he's lunch waiting to happen..

Just because an animal was born wild doesn't mean they are going to become vicious creatures & eat him. What he's doing could be dangerous, yes, but the risk runs with the territory & it's not like you go into it thinking, "No, that won't happen to me." In fact, a bit of your life if you work with animals (ANY animals, wild or otherwise) will definitely involve fear of being killed. But you know that when you work with them. You learn to tell when an animal is agitated & may become aggressive. You begin to form a bond & feel what they feel. You learn body language, sounds, looks, etc. & if they kill you, you know you'll die knowing you made a difference in the lives of many animals & sometimes it's just meant to be.

Bear in mind, an animal is an animal. They exhibit extraordinary intelligence & live based off of instinct. Your pet dog or cat could turn around one day & rip out your throat because instinct told them they or someone they love are in danger. When you live & work with animals, you should learn that knowledge. When you make animals your life, you live that knowledge. You learn to think & act like an animal, based off instinct. & so you know it could happen. You know it may happen. But you also know that the animal could turn around & kill another animal as well. It's nothing personal, it's just nature.

& to be fair, you could work with, snuggle with, & playfully wrestle with other people for your entire life & then suddenly be murdered by them. So we all pretty much run the risk of dying no matter what we do in our lives. I mean, you could just as easily get eaten by a lion as you could get shot or hit by a bus while walking somewhere. This whole world could implode tomorrow & none of it could matter at all. If you do what you love, dying from it doesn't matter because you could die any day. & if you die making a difference, that's an even better reason to die for.

Kevin: What you are doing is commendable and necessary. Being a man of years I will give you an opinion since you're the expert. Someone has to be dominant. Be prepared for a challenge if it ever comes. Thanks for allowing me to express my opinion. Stay safe, onguard, and continue your good works. Dan O. De Ment

this is so cool that a human and beast could have such a bond like this. its a beautiful thing :)))

good stuff looking foward to the film

I agree with the first comment. It is amazing, but I do believe.... they might snap on him in an instant. Kudos to him though for being so brave, I guess. They are beautiful animals. BUT they are wild.

Well hunting has been a recreational pastime since the dawn of first civilizations and still is today (I enjoy it myself). However, I think hunting for animals that aren't as prone to being on the verge of extinction, such as the deer up here in good ole New England, is better. We need to preserve our wildlife; it is extremely valuable.
I love lions. <3 Wish I could hug one like this guy.

"Great work and wishing you all the best with the beautiful animals...Just maybe one day man will realy open there eyes and see the damage we have done with God's creatures. (The lyons are beautiful as his helper play safe.)"

It's "lions" not "lyons" . . . holy crap.
and awesome pictures.

I don't care if in the end he is eaten by the lions it was a good life

What this guy is doing in the photo is already giving me the chills. I think I would not last a minute surrounded by them even though they are cute.

OMG that is the most amazing thing ever, i ove lions!!!!!

What people have to remember here is that he likely sees these cats on a regular, if not daily, basis. Yes, he could potentially be attacked, but the risk is relatively low, and even Ziegfried and Roy didn't stop doing their act after the attack (neither of them were killed, if you recall). Other than that, what a lovely and good work he's doing.

True that he has a special relationship with these cats, but I don't think it benefits them to make them appear like lovable kitties at all. In fact I think the public generally has a misunderstanding of the reality of wild animals, yes they can make strong bonds and deep relationships, but at the same time they don't speak our language, and we don't speak theirs. Attacks and accidents happen. They aren't pets. Having a special relationship doesn't change this.

I feel like a lion's mane would be super soft. It makes me jealous that he's felt what it's like to cuddle with such majestic creatures.

And then they eat him.

To the person that said: "They're just animals", permit me to remind you that you are 'just' an animal too. If you don't start showing respect for other species, you will never live up to the word "human" that supposedly describes you. The work this man does is remarkable and commendable. To all those who say he'll end up being 'lunch', think that a race car driver is also risking his life doing what he loves, so does a boxer, or a sky diver.
And the comparisons to Grizzly Man are totally unfair, since that guy was an actor that got into his head he could work with bears with no training or knowledge whatsoever.
Kevin, keep doing that incredible and loving job you are doing, and we can only wish that all men had that love and respect for other living things.

Do any of you realize that Sportsmen and Women who pay exorbinant amounts of money to hunt these lions contribute more to the african economies than any of you could possibly imagine? By culling herds hunters also ensure that these animals are able to procreate in healthy populations and do not overpower the prey population. Would you rather have a sportsmen pay $40,000.00 to humanely take an animal or would you prefer that animal starves to deather because they are overpopulated for the land they inhabit? Hunters do not hunt these animals to destroy something but for an experience that you would not understand.

Absolutely wonderful...I want to take zoology and work with wild animals, especially large cats.
Spectacular. They deserve so much

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