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Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
“Animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson has such an intimate bond with big cats that he can spend the night curled up with them without the slightest fear of attack…So instinctively in tune is he with these beasts whose teeth are sharp enough to bite through thick steel, that mother hyenas even allow him to hold their newborn cubs without pouncing to the rescue.”-- Glenys Roberts, The Daily Mail (UK)
Top Customer Reviews
Kevin co-exists with his lions, cheetahs, hyenas and other animals in his protected South African animal park. He rules with love and respect combining science and psychology in the process. The animals in the park are the lions, the hyenas and others that can't be released into the wild for one reason or another.
The book is written with humor, compassion and understanding. As you follow Kevin through his childhood love with animals, his brushes and fascination with danger, and his maturity as he becomes the man he is--you come away with the sense that sometimes a person is predestined to do whatever it is they are doing. Richardson began his journey with the pride with two lion cubs ten years ago.
His lions Tau, Napoleon, Meg, Amy and Pelokyhale take on personalities as do the hyenas Trelli, Geena and the rest of the crew. He manages each animal with a knowledge of species behavior and also knowledge of the personality of each animal. For instance, pack structure is extremely important in hyena hierarchy. The more important your status, the more you can basically get away with. His hyena pack is led by the feisty Geena who constantly challenges and tests his ability to be in her presence. Richardson combines his knowledge of how hyenas interact based on scientific knowledge and how his Geena reacts within those guidelines.
If you have seen the videos on YouTube, it is amazing to see him wrestling with his lion pride members. The book expands on the personalities of the lions and Kevin's interaction with them.Read more ›
Kevin explains why it is important to know the animals and their different personalities. He learned to related to them as a fellow lion - getting down on all fours, touching them, rubbing heads together, and using a toothbrush to 'lick' their faces after they licked his (painful). The bulk of "Part of the Pride" consists of his experiences providing unarmed (no sticks, guns, whips) enrichment for the lions and hyenas on the property, along with a number of often painful (sometimes to others) lessons learned. His explanations of the lions' actions is straightforward and sensible - per Kevin, they're not that different from humans, with sometimes temper tantrums.
The photos in "Part of the Pride" made up an especially enjoyable part of the book - ranging from showing him resting with, playing with and being 'attacked' by the lions and their cubs, carrying a hyena, and their enormous claws.
Kevin was told many 'rules' about working with lions - most of which he found to be false. His rules, assimilated from ten-some years experience are: 1)Don't wake a lion when it's sleeping. 2)Don't come near a lion when it is eating. 3)Don't surprise a lion - let it know you're coming. 4)Leave when they tell you they've had enough. One he left out - start out while they're young and treat them with respect, almost as peers.
An enjoyable book with and enviable story.
I also got the Dangerous Companion DVD, which is stunning. I showed it to a lot of friends and family, everyone is stunned.
PLEASE NOTE that the big cats are not doing great. There are only 6000 Cheetahs left in Africa. Some say the lion population (200,000 only 20 years ago) may be as low as 16,000 now. Tigers - are basically gone. Sibirian Tiger is gone, South China Tiger gone. Sumatra tiger almost gone. Bengal tiger MAY have a chance, but very unlikely if those darn Chinese continue to pay $10000 to some poacher for their illegal and disgusting medicine using Tiger bones.
Kevin's mission includes educating people on animals, and to promote their protection. He does a great job, get the book...!
Note that the population in Africa is predicted to almost double from 800m to about 1.5 billion by 2050. The loss of wildlife is a direct consequence of man killing and taking over the natural habitat of the wild animals. People forget that this process has been going on since thousands if not tens of thousands of years. If you read the old testament, there were lions and leopards in Israel at that time. The lions there won't come back, but we can engage ourselves to keep them where they can be found now, at the numbers we have them now.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best book I have read in a very long time. I did not want it to end!!Published 15 days ago by Tammy Cease
A remarkable, truly moving biography of a man who lives with lions and hyenas. It's a story about a man who does not want to tame the animals, he does not want to dominate them,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rosa Frei
Wonderful story about African animals. A little to much about the author's childhood at the beginning but if you stick with the book it gets very interesting when it gets to the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by History Buff