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Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa (Anglais) Relié – 1 septembre 2009
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C'est l'homme de terrain idéal, qui fait voler en éclats de nombreuses théories et qui ne cherche rien d'autre que d'être amis avec ces animaux et d'instruire le public quand à l'intelligence, la sensibilité, la beauté, la noblesse de ces êtres dont le nombre diminue à une vitesse effrayante (de 300000 à 25000 en 15 ans)
Dans ce livre, il raconte son parcours, et les fonds serviront notamment à son parc...
Il n'est pas un magicien qui peut chahuter avec tous les animaux sauvages, il construit patiemment une relation d'échange, de respect, et c'est cela la clé du merveilleux !
Ses relations spéciales avec les fauves lui permettent de montrer au public que ces animaux méritent notre respect et notre protection : les espaces de vie se réduisent comme peau de chagrin, le braconnage fait toujours des ravages, la protection des grands fauves passera nécessairement par le développement de grands parcs (à l'échelle de l'Afrique du Sud, "grand" ne signifie pas la même chose qu'en France !) où les écosystèmes pourront être conservés.
Grâce à Kevin, la connaissance du fonctionnement du système hiérarchique d'une tribu de lions ou de hyènes permet d'éviter des erreurs dans la manière de protéger ces espèces, comme par exemple introduire un lion dans un espace où un groupe est déjà installé.Lire la suite ›
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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. Your understanding of why Kevin takes the controlled risks that he does (especially having been attacked by a lion early on) will have you thanking fate that someone cares enough to do what he does. Your understanding of hyenas who are often maligned and lions who are often thought of as indiscriminate attackers--increases.
In the last decade the lion population worldwide has gone from over 300,000 individuals to less than 23,000. Poaching and encroachment are decimating the population. It is very possible that any future lion interactions will be in a protected animal park like the one Kevin is with. The more people like Kevin can help others understand the species that make up our earth, the better chance they will have at long term survival. Kevin and Tony Parks, his co-author have done an admirable job furthering this understanding.
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.