Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa

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9780312556747: Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa

About a year ago, film started to circulate on YouTube® of a remarkable man named Kevin Richardson, an animal custodian in a South African animal park. The film showed Richardson in his day-to-day work, looking some of the world's most dangerous animals directly in the eye, crouching down at their level, playing with them and, sometimes, even kissing them on the nose--all without ever being attacked or injured. The films' popularity skyrocketed and Richardson became an international sensation. In "Part of the Pride", Kevin Richardson tells the story of his life and work, how he grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called "The Bird Man of Orange Grove" to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal's spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated―just like a mother understands a child―has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Like anyone else who truly loves animals, Richardson allows their own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two male lions he calls his "brothers"; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson taught to swim; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little hyena called Homer who didn't live to see his first birthday. Richardson also chronicles his work on the feature film "The White Lion" and has a lot to say about the state of lion farming and hunting in South Africa today. In "Part of the Pride", Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa.

Le informazioni nella sezione "Riassunto" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

About the Author:

KEVIN RICHARDSON is an animal custodian and self-taught behavioralist at Kingdom of the White Lion. Previously featured on CBS and NBC, he is also the producer on an upcoming feature film, White Lion: Home is a Journey, starring real lions. He lives in South Africa.

TONY PARK, is the author of six other books set in Africa, including Silent Predator and African Sky. He splits his time between Africa and his home in Australia.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PART OF THE PRIDE
ONE The Bird Man of Orange Grove I spent my childhood in stitches--the kind the doctor sews into your skin, not the ones you get from rolling around on the floor in laughter. My mom used to say that I was on a collision course with life. She was a smart one, my mom. There was always a certain wildness in me, that I know. When I look back on my early life, it's easy for me now to see the brave lion, the giggling hyena, and the rogue elephant in the things I did then. I loved the outdoors, but when I was growing up my piece of Africa was limited to a few blocks in the white middle-class suburb of Orange Grove in the north of Johannesburg. I grew up during the time of apartheid among neatly ordered rows of houses, straight streets, backyard gardens, barking dogs, and meowing cats, not rolling savannahs populated by herds of wildebeest, trumpeting elephants, and stalking lions. It was the suburbs, but it could be just as dangerous as the bush. My mom was always getting calls from school telling her that I'd been hurt, or else I would simply show up at home, bleeding. I wasnever one to do anything half-hearted, so if I was going to cut myself I would come close to losing an entire limb. I would fall through glass coffee tables, off bicycles, and out of trees, and generally do all the things mothers like to cry about. "We had better buy this little Kevin a sewing machine so he can sew himself up, hey, Patricia?" the doctor said to my mom once. The doctor and I saw so much of each other we were like buddies. I laughed, then winced, as the dreaded needle punctured skin again and again and again. One of the earliest mishaps that I can remember was getting on my neighbor's full-sized racing bicycle when I was only three or four years old. It was, I think, the beginning of a lifelong love affair with dangerous things and two-wheeled transport. I'm into extreme sports, I fly microlights, and I play with lions for a living. I have an old 1969 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle and I love riding superbikes on the track. My hero is the Italian motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi and while I can't ride as fast as him, I've probably been in as many crashes as he has. I wanted desperately to ride that bicycle and although I was too small to reach the pedals, my neighbor took pity on me and we went for a spin. I was whooping with joy as we gathered speed down the street, the wind rushing in my face as I clung to the older boy. Another kid from the neighborhood, however, thought it would be good fun to push his little wagon into our path and wipe us out. He did a good job and down we went. No one knows how, but in the process I managed to get my toe caught between the bicycle's sprocket and the chain. The cycle was on its side and I was still attached to it, by a piece of stretched skin that was just barely connected to the top of my toe. " Ag, what are we going to do?" asked the panicked owner of the bike. "We better pull him free," said the evil little shit who had caused the accident. On the count of three the two other boys grabbed meand pulled. Hard. With a piercing yelp on my part, the top of my toe came free from the sprocket and chain--and from me. "It's moving!" cried the bad boy, pointing down at my severed digit. Although I couldn't see it, the other boys swore the tip of my toe was jumping and wriggling like a gecko's tail when the lizard sheds it to shake off a predator. While I lay bleeding, my neighbor ran off looking for help and the wagon driver disappeared from the scene of the crime. The cause of the accident--and my considerable pain--reappeared a short while later with a spade. He raised it over his head with his skinny little arms then slammed it down hard onto the ground, and my missing toe. "Why are you doing that?" I wailed. "It's freaking me out. It's alive, man!" He raised the spade and smashed down again and again, as if he were killing a snake. Once he was sure he had killed my toe, he dug a hole and buried the evidence. Shortly after, the man from across the road arrived and bundled me into the back of his brand new BMW. It was a lekker car and I bled all over the leather upholstery. "Okay, where's the toe?" asked the doctor when we arrived at Johannesburg Hospital. "Um, they buried it," I said to the doctor. The boys were dispatched back to Orange Grove to exhume the missing digit. South African surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard may have made history by performing the first successful heart transplant, but not even the most skilled surgeon in the world could reattach the crushed, earth-encrusted lump of skin that those two boys brought into the operating room.  
 
I was born in downtown Johannesburg in the Nightingale Clinic in 1974, two years before television arrived in South Africa, although my family didn't get a TV until I was eight years old. When we did,we were so excited we'd watch the test pattern, but it was no wonder that I learned early on in life how to get my thrills in the backyard and on the streets, and with my animals. My mom, Patricia, worked as a trust executive for Barclays Bank. She was born in South Africa, but her parents emigrated from England. I don't know exactly what my father, Peter, did, but he worked for a pharmaceutical company--in quality control, I think. He had moved to South Africa from Reading, in the county of Berkshire in the south of England, early in his life. Our relationship was very formal and separate. He was a quiet man. I didn't have the chance to ask him too many questions, we didn't do father and son things together, and he died when I was twelve or thirteen. Like most of the people in Orange Grove, we lived in quite a small 1940s brick three-bedroom house on a big block. I had an older brother and two older twin sisters. We lived on a busy street, Ninth Avenue, which connected the major suburbs in the area. We had tarred roads and "robots"--what we call traffic lights--and my primary means of transport, until I was old enough to ride a bicycle and, later, steal cars, was my red skateboard. I didn't have the most privileged upbringing. As kids, we never got pocket money or had many toys. We ran our own jumble sales, finding unwanted clothing and knickknacks and selling them to black African people who were worse off than we were. We'd also do gardening chores for neighbors and wash cars. The little money I made usually went for sweets or small toy cars and my dreams were not very grand. The toy I wished for most was a radio-controlled car, but there was no way I was ever going to be able to afford one. I worked hard and finally saved enough money for a remote-control car--one of those where the car is attached to the control via a cable. I was so disappointed. I saw myself watching the car zoom around the room while I stood still and watched. Not so with this one. The wire from the remote to the car kept on getting tangled on things and I had to follow the car everywhere like a dog on a lead.It was the poor man's version of a true radio-controlled car and not much fun. Perhaps because of disappointments like the one with the car or the fact that I didn't have every toy or bike I wanted, I developed a love of animals, reptiles, and insects early on in life. People who know me usually assume that passion came from my mother, but she is not, in fact, a big animal person. It was quiet, reserved Dad who brought our first pet home--that much I can remember. It was a tiny stray kitten called Tiger, which he carried in his lunch box. I was about six years old at the time. Dad said he wanted to give us something that we could nurture. He told us the cat had been left to die at a rubbish dump. We only went away on holiday as an entire family on one occasion when I was a child, in 1980, to the Drakensburg Mountains in Natal. Money was becoming a problem in our household, so all our school holidays, except for that one to the mountains, were spent at home. My brother Gareth and twin sisters Corrine and Candice and I developed a theory that our parents were giving us pets instead of holidays. After Tiger the cat, there was a procession of parrots, goldfish, and dogs as birthday and Christmas presents. The excuse for not going away somewhere exotic on vacation was that we could not leave the animals behind. My dad probably thought the pets would keep our minds off things at home, which were becoming steadily worse as his grip on his career, and his sobriety, became looser and looser. At any one time we would have about four dogs, three or four cats, the goldfish, and several species of birds including pigeons, doves, weavers, mouse birds, parrots, and other wild birds. I graduated to brown house snakes, and eventually to anacondas. Until recently I had an anaconda which was more than ten feet long. It even had its own small house on the property where I now live. Even though Dad was more interested in the pets than Mom, I don't remember him being around a lot to share them with us. As I said, hehad a drinking problem. He seemed to be away a lot and eventually he was downgraded at work. Even with all his troubles, I do recall him bringing home more stray animals and injured birds, which helped spark my interest in caring for things. He seemed to be trying to make a connection with us, but at the same time always seemed so distant and far away. One of my schoolmates, Warren Lang, kept homing pigeons--big white fantails--and for whatever reason he was told he had to get rid of them. It seemed natural for me to take them on. Without anyone's permission, we disassembled his pigeon hok (the Afrikaans word for cage) and moved it, piece by piece, three blocks away to my house, where we reassembled it. We then shuttled the birds, one at a time. I started breeding the birds and found that I loved it. I would spend hours with my pigeons in the hok. Sometimes I would even sleep in there. My mom wasn't too charmed by this, but I found the whole experience of life in the hok to be amazing. I would sit patiently beside a mother while she was sitting on her eggs and calculate the days remaining until the chicks would hatch. I was like an expectant father, although it wasn't enough for me just to watch the females and wait for their eggs to hatch--I wanted to be a part of their lives. "Come on, kick one out. Let me raise one," I would plead with the nesting mothers. It often happened that when a pigeon had two eggs the mother would favor the stronger and fitter of the two offspring. I would take the frail one and try and bring it up, feeding it and nurturing it to full strength. Where there are pigeons, of course, there are also mice and rats. The rodents came to the hok in search of bird feed and eggs that had been kicked out. The mice bred under the bricks beneath the hok, and if I took a brick out of the floor I could look in and see a whole family of mice with their little pinkies--their babies. I had my own mini ecosystem happening in there and it was fascinating.As my father's drinking worsened and things became tougher inside the house, the pigeon hok became my refuge. If the hok was my alternative home, then the backyard was my game reserve. I was always mucking about in the drain or digging up crickets or earthworms--anything I could get my hands on. As a child, you want to catch and collect things and keep everything in a box, and not let anything escape. One of the few occasions our family escaped Orange Grove was to visit my uncle in Fourways on the northern side of Johannesburg, not far from where I eventually ended up working at the Lion Park. It always seemed like a hell of a trip, for which we'd have to pack, even though it was usually just for a day. I was incredibly jealous of my uncle, because he had a pond and frogs in his garden. I was fascinated by my birds and the other household pets, but frogs--amphibians--represented a whole new subset of the animal kingdom. On one visit my uncle said I could take a frog home with me and I thought he was the best uncle in the world. I was easily impressed. I named my small frog Paddatjie, which is Afrikaans for small frog. Okay, so I was never terribly imaginative with names, although once TV took hold in our house there was a spate of celebrity naming. The American soap opera Dallas was the top rated program in South Africa at the time, so our African Grey Parrot was named J.R. after Larry Hagman's character, J.R. Ewing. I also had a gaudy lovebird called Madonna. Paddatjie was a leopard toad, as common as crap, but I was in awe because I thought I had discovered a totally new species of toads. I made him a little terrarium, decorated with the sorts of accessories I thought a frog would like. I used a cardboard box and even though I covered it, he was able to knock the lid off and jump out. He would leap through the house, and at the time I thought he was a particularly smart and tough guy, being able to avoid being eaten by our pack of dogs and pride of household cats. With thebenefit of a bit of education, I now reckon they all probably had a good taste of Paddatjie at one time or another, and, finding him thoroughly unpalatable, spat him out. I was convinced that Paddatjie recognized me as his friend and would escape from his box in order to find me and watch Dallas with me and my parrot, J.R. Ewing. I think I managed to convince my family of this, too, and they were no doubt impressed with my way with wild creatures from a very early age. I used to catch insects for the frog's dinner and take him for walks in the garden to give him a taste of the great outdoors, rather than spending all his days as a caged, though tough and intelligent, amphibian. I learned a lot through Paddatjie--especially that it wasn't essential for everything I picked or dug up to be kept in a box twentyfour hours a day. Even though I thought it was good for him to experience life as a free-range frog from time to time, I was terribly disappointed when one day he hopped out of his box and disappeared for good. More rewarding, of course, was when I released my homing pigeons and they actually did come home. However, even in the pigeon hok nature could be cruel. One day our Rhodesian Ridgeback, a big, fierce, sandy-colored breed of dog, and our Labrador got into the hok and killed all thirty of my pigeons. I think my mother was secretly happy, as I'm sure she had long wanted all the pigeons dead. I just wanted to kill the dogs.  
 
As I got older, my reputation earned me a nickname--The Birdman of Orange Grove. Any bird which was sick or injured would be brought to my house. Some enterprising criminals even began stealing baby pigeons from their nests and asking me for five bob--fifty cents--for them. That was a lot of money for me, but I was usually able to sweet-talk them into giving me the chick for nothing, or forsome food from our house. The African people who were taking the birds were doing it because they were hungry. I couldn't count how many baby birds I rescued, reared, and released. The nicest thing was when a bird I had sent back to the wild returned to the house or sat on my shoulder again. I also found that I was enjoying setting things free far more than trapping them, so I adopted this policy with my collection of parrots, letting them out of their cages. Some flew away and never returned, and although I took to putting up reward posters around the neighborhood, I eventually realized this was part of life. Sometimes things left and never came back. A couple of birds stick in my mind. Mouse the mouse bird, whose name was about as origin...

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. About a year ago, film started to circulate on YouTube(R) of a remarkable man named Kevin Richardson, an animal custodian in a South African animal park. The film showed Richardson in his day-to-day work, looking some of the world s most dangerous animals directly in the eye, crouching down at their level, playing with them and, sometimes, even kissing them on the nose--all without ever being attacked or injured. The films popularity skyrocketed and Richardson became an international sensation. In Part of the Pride, Kevin Richardson tells the story of his life and work, how he grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called The Bird Man of Orange Grove to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated--just like a mother understands a child--has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Like anyone else who truly loves animals, Richardson allows their own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two male lions he calls his brothers ; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson taught to swim; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little hyena called Homer who didn t live to see his first birthday. Richardson also chronicles his work on the feature film The White Lion and has a lot to say about the state of lion farming and hunting in South Africa today. In Part of the Pride, Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780312556747

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. About a year ago, film started to circulate on YouTube(R) of a remarkable man named Kevin Richardson, an animal custodian in a South African animal park. The film showed Richardson in his day-to-day work, looking some of the world s most dangerous animals directly in the eye, crouching down at their level, playing with them and, sometimes, even kissing them on the nose--all without ever being attacked or injured. The films popularity skyrocketed and Richardson became an international sensation. In Part of the Pride, Kevin Richardson tells the story of his life and work, how he grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called The Bird Man of Orange Grove to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated--just like a mother understands a child--has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Like anyone else who truly loves animals, Richardson allows their own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two male lions he calls his brothers ; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson taught to swim; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little hyena called Homer who didn t live to see his first birthday. Richardson also chronicles his work on the feature film The White Lion and has a lot to say about the state of lion farming and hunting in South Africa today. In Part of the Pride, Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780312556747

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Descrizione libro St Martin s Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. About a year ago, film started to circulate on YouTube(R) of a remarkable man named Kevin Richardson, an animal custodian in a South African animal park. The film showed Richardson in his day-to-day work, looking some of the world s most dangerous animals directly in the eye, crouching down at their level, playing with them and, sometimes, even kissing them on the nose--all without ever being attacked or injured. The films popularity skyrocketed and Richardson became an international sensation. In Part of the Pride, Kevin Richardson tells the story of his life and work, how he grew from a young boy who cared for so many animals that he was called The Bird Man of Orange Grove to an adolescent who ran wild and, finally, to a man who is able to cross the divide between humans and predators. As a self-taught animal behaviorist, Richardson has broken every safety rule known to humans when working with these wild animals. Flouting common misconceptions that breaking an animal s spirit with sticks and chains is the best way to subdue them, he uses love, understanding and trust to develop personal bonds with them. His unique method of getting to know their individual personalities, what makes each of them angry, happy, upset, or irritated--just like a mother understands a child--has caused them to accept him like one of their own into their fold. Like anyone else who truly loves animals, Richardson allows their own stories to share center stage as he tells readers about Napoleon and Tau, the two male lions he calls his brothers ; the amazing Meg, a lioness Richardson taught to swim; the fierce Tsavo who savagely attacked him; and the heartbreaking little hyena called Homer who didn t live to see his first birthday. Richardson also chronicles his work on the feature film The White Lion and has a lot to say about the state of lion farming and hunting in South Africa today. In Part of the Pride, Richardson, with novelist Tony Park, delves into the mind of the big cats and their world to show readers a different way of understanding the dangerous big cats of Africa. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780312556747

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