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Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his first book, lion keeper and animal behaviorist Richardson, a popular YouTube fixture with a feature film on the way, chronicles his life and career while explaining his unique ability to gain the trust of predators like lions and hyenas. Working at the South African Lion Park and the Kingdom of the White Lion sanctuaries, Richardson has been accepted by some of his lions as a brother, "sometimes even a father... a friend to others, and an acquaintance to the rest." Native South African Richardson mingles with his animals freely; though he has been attacked, he credits his "lifelong love-affair with dangerous things" for his ability to keep cool. (Although, on being nearly mauled to death early in his career, he says, "What do you do when a lion is trying to eat you? Anything you can think of.") After leaving university, Richardson met Rodney Fuhr of the Lion Park, located in the Johannesburg suburbs, and worked his way from staff physical fitness coach to full-time animal trainer and film-maker. An engrossing account of a young life in Africa, this adventurous tale also provides amazing insight into the minds of Africa's most beautiful and dangerous creatures. Color photos.


“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)


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312556748
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,657,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Like many, I've followed Kevin Richardson on YouTube with the various videos featuring him and his lions and hyenas. This book expands on the downloads and the documentary Dangerous Companions.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Kevin Richardson has a life doing what he loves - taking care of big carnivores and their small cubs. His early life included lots of taking care of sick or abandoned animals, and two failed attempts to follow his older brother into veterinary school. Fortunately, Kevin ended up meeting a person who had just bought a nearby animal park.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was curious about Kevin Richardson when I first saw some videos of him with his lions on YouTube, so when this book came out, I knew I had to read it. It is a compelling account of a man who has a unique approach to dealing with wild predators - whether they be lions, hyenas, leopards or jackals. But it's his extraordinary relationship with his lions that brings this story to life. A child who was always interested in creatures - creepy-crawly to mammals - Kevin grows up experimenting with different ways to relate to his charges. He moves on instinct alone, and achieves extraordinary results, much to the surprise of other lion wranglers. He has his share of close encounters, but never blames the animal, but rather himself for not reading the lion's mood and behavior correctly. This is a wonderful, readable account of of an exceptional man and his lions and hyenas. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
Just finished the book. I have been 3 times to South Africa and about 5 times to the Lion Park, where Kevin worked. Another destination is the Lion and RHINO park - also awesome. If you are into this, make it a goal in your life to go there....

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.
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