Kevin Richardson, The Lion Whisperer

by Emilie Victoria on March 31, 2015 - 3:18pm

The change maker- Kevin Richardson

A recent article posted in the month of February 2015, unveils three government officials in a Chinese port city  that had been “housing tigers in steel cages on the roof of [the government officials] apartment building.”  The three men were discovered due to a Siberian tiger cub that escaped from one of the cages and fell 11 stories to its death to be discovered the next day. The men resigned from congress of Qingdao and were fined 3,00 Yuan, the equivalent of 450 Canadian dollars but not charged for illegally housing eleven tigers amongst the three men and breeding tigers. If it weren’t for the death of the cub, the tigers probably would have been discovered and put into a local zoo.

Kevin Richardson, a man who has a special connection with big cats values the quality of life of animals and owns a sanctuary where the cats can be as wild and free as they possibly can. These animals are rescued from and places like the government officials in china that are mentioned in this article as well as other people who are illegally breeding big cats. Kevin believes that big cats should be dominated and used as means to an ends I.e.; Pelts, tiger bones, meat etc.) “A lion [cat] is not a possession, its like a sentient being, so you must pay attention and develop your bond like with any relationship” (10) Kevin has slept next to, fed, walked and ran amongst these big beasts as his relationship with them has been strong since they were cubs.

He stared out his career at 16 years old when he met Stan Schmidt who gave him the opportunity to work with animals at a zoo and became a “self-thought behaviourist”. As he led into college, Kevin studied zoology and took an interest also in psychology and became a psychiatrist. At the age of 23, Kevin was given the opportunity to work with 6-month-old cubs, and that’s where the bond between wildcat and human began. Kevin interacts every day and as much as he can with 39 big cats (including hyenas, tiger, lion and leopards) at his sanctuary called Kingdom of the white lion situated Broedersroom, South Africa. These big cats are given a better life in a private sanctuary made up of 2,000 acres of land. Making sure they are fed and safe every day, Kevin has committed his life to the cats at his sanctuary, over the years he and the cats have a relationship unlike any other. Kevin is aware that these wild animals are not domesticated; weighing the pros and the cons of what he does everyday, the positive aspects of what he does outweighs the cons. Watching Kevin interact with the lions, either on national geographic documentary, movies or independently on YouTube is inspirational and touching as you can see the dedication and love towards these animas and theirs towards this man who gives them everything. However the pictures and videos of Kevin and the animals do not depict his years of experience he has had them and should not be taken lightly for they are still are wild animals. When Kevin interacts with these animals, they wrestle him to the ground in a playful manner, still leaving marks and tearing trough Kevin clothes but symbolises as playful rather than hunting prey. The cats respect Kevin Richardson, but he is still aware that they are wild and instincts

Kevin and his crew aim to raise money for the sanctuary, therefore Kevin holds sermonise, talking about his sanctuary and the animals as well as making documentaries to enlighten people about what he aims to do; to provide the cats who have been used, a safe place to live the rest of their lives and make people aware of the horrid acts people are doing towards this species. 

Another way the crew is raising money is auctioning art that people make for the sanctuary, this allows people from all over the world to be able to help in some way. For my final project I want to submit a piece of art towards Kevin Richardson’s site to raise money and also raise awareness of what is happening to the species.  If you want to know more about Kevin Richardson, his sanctuary and using art to help the animals the link will be at the bottom of the page.



Article about the tiger cub


About Kevin Richardson


Richardson, Kevin. part of the pride: My life among the big cats of Africa. St. Martins Press.2009.


Crerar, Simon. “Meet the Lion Whisperer, the animal behaviourist reinventing zoology”


Kevin Richardson’s Official site & art of the pride