"Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

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nigelblake
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by nigelblake »

Foolhardy in the extreme.....
At least the Lions can be sure there will be no Horse meat in their dinner!!

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Pat Murphy
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Pat Murphy »

Probably not going to end happily if you ask me. The film Grizzly Man was about this guy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Treadwell
It didn't end well :sad:

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by nigelblake »

ILoveLightnings wrote:Probably not going to end happily if you ask me. The film Grizzly Man was about this guy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Treadwell
It didn't end well :sad:

He didn't Tread well enough then! :sad:

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

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nigelblake wrote:At least the Lions can be sure there will be no Horse meat in their dinner!!


Zebra? :lol:
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by pbeardmore »

just a matter of time - but it's his choice
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

There have been a few similar stories on the BBC's "Natural World" series recently - one about a couple on Brazil raising orphaned Jaguar cubs, and a similar story of a man in the outback raising and protecting Kangaroos. The latter was sparring with a full grown male that he raised from an orphan.

They clearly know and trust him - watching those pictures he doesn't appear to be in any imminent danger.
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by capercaillie »

LN Strike Eagle wrote: They clearly know and trust him - watching those pictures he doesn't appear to be in any imminent danger.


Until the next dominant male moves in to take over the pride, does he fight with the males to protect the gene pool, or roll over and become a pussy? :love: :whistle:
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

capercaillie wrote:
LN Strike Eagle wrote: They clearly know and trust him - watching those pictures he doesn't appear to be in any imminent danger.


Until the next dominant male moves in to take over the pride, does he fight with the males to protect the gene pool, or roll over and become a pussy? :love: :whistle:

But that's an entirely different scenario - he won't have the trust of new males and is, I would suggest, highly unlikely to attempt to playfight or hug a new arrival into the Pride without first gaining it's trust.

I appreciate that it might not be the most intelligent thing in the world to do, but you do often see examples of this sort of thing on TV and in the media, but less often hear stories of these people getting eaten alive.
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by capercaillie »

But he's also playing with a hyena, eccentric and charismatic maybe, but you don't get a second chance with big carnivores if they happen to go too far. :ghost:
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by LN Strike Eagle »

Yeah. You probably wouldn't get a second chance if you were to be run over either, but that's a danger we live with most days. I appreciate it has it's risks, but he didn't go and grab a random predator to playfight - the animals know him. The bigger question IMO is the bit the report briefly touches on at the end - is it right for him as an Animal Behaviourist to interact with his subjects like this? There's not enough substance in the video to judge.

In the examples of the 'Natural World' documentaries, there was clearly a benefit to what the people were doing - raising orphaned cubs/joeys that would otherwise have died, with the intention of returning them to the wild. The interaction with humans was necessary to teach them to hunt etc and give them the skills they needed to survive on their own in the wild. In this case, what benefit does his interaction serve?
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by fastjetfan »

wonder if David Cameron would survive in there with those big cats :grin:

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Thumper »

Although not in the wild, Craig Busch the New Zealand Lion Man always played with his animals for many years and is still alive with all his limbs attached, shame the same can't be said for a fellow zookeeper at the same park (Zion Wildlife Gardens) who was killed a few years ago by a white tiger.

I'm wondering what the point of it all is, I mean I like snakes and I'm interested in their behaviour but you wouldn't catch me playing with a Black Mamba in a bid to "understand it", but each to their own.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

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I don't get this need for close contact with big cats. I witnessed today how interaction with these 'wild' animals can be turned from hunters into tame pets. These animals do need our help but not by human contact, in fact its the opposite. In most captive animals you will see them retaining most of their wild instinct and behaviour. This is normally due to lack of human contact and intervention and the animals are appear more natural. The idea of conservation has moved on a lot (huge changes, I recommend reading the following if your interested in the subject: Ethics on the Ark and A different nature by David Hancocks. Both books are extremely insightful and provide good pros and cons regarding captivity, conservation and the progression of human intervention) I do not consider my self a 'zoologist' but I have a keen interest and always love to learn more about the subject.
I have seen several programmes regarding Mr Richardson's interaction with Lions. There are some which he will enter the enclosure of and others he wont. He has been able to build up a trust with these animals from their young age and as a result he has earned the respect of these cats and many have been 'tamed'. I wouldn't say the the man was foolhardy as he treats the animals with the respect they deserve. On a couple of occasions I have seen his trust misplaced in certain individual animals though. I recently got sent the following from a friend regarding Mr Richardson's work, have to say I am tempted:

Via Research Cam:

http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 2953_n.jpg

We have an exciting new volunteer opportunity that isn't even on our website yet. Limited places are available for a new package that comprises two weeks at Kevin Richardson (the lion whisperer) lion Sanctury on the Welgedacht Game Reserve assisting his team in caring for lions and the reserve managment, followed by two weeks with the INGWE Leopard team monitoring leopard behaviour on the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve Contact Carol for more information carol@researchcam.com

The debate about conservation of wild animals will go on for many years. It is a subject I love to talk about and I think its one we often neglect.

Side note regarding Craig Busch and Zion Park though. I have to say I have read a lot about him and how he 'runs/run' his park its pretty damning really.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

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You're quite right there Exiler. I went to his London talk a couple of years ago as I wanted to make my own mind up and thought the guy was just 1 big sob story act, he's also a wife beater. Video's are out there where tasers, cattle prods and choke chains are being used on the animals, you just gotta find em and wade through the fans/supporters trying to hide or justify them.

I am fully supportive of protecting endangered animals and breeding programmes but with as little human interaction as possible and certainly no attempt at "domestication", the latter is just publicity and stupid. We have no need to be able to play football with a Tiger or to receive a cuddle from a Lion, what's the point apart from publicity/entertainment? I just can't stand it to be honest and that includes places like Sea World. I don't get it when people are so horrified when some idiot gets eaten by a Polar Bear or loses a limb to a Humpback Whale. For me there's only 1 thing to learn from certain animals, there's gotta be respect on both sides, you leave them alone and they'll probably leave you alone. It's a can of worms this is to be honest. I've been involved in so many animal debates over the years including on here and you will never ever find even ground.

You only have to say Steve Irwin to sum this up really. I don't think there's much difference between a normal person exploring animals and an "expert", I think a certain amount of luck is involved and Irwin's luck ran out with a placid but protective creature and it was actually his lack of understanding, or stupidity that saw him meet his maker.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by nigelblake »

Keeper mauled to death by favourite Lion in USA yesterday news details

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Ian G »

nigelblake wrote:Keeper mauled to death by favourite Lion in USA yesterday news details


Could be worse . . . . what a way to go. Good job it wasn't her 'partner' otherwise it would have taken them 3 weeks to shut the coffin lid

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Vodka »

Frankly I suspect he knows more about lions then any of us do here!

if it ends badly, so what, it's he's choice to do what he wants with his life instead of sitting on a backside of 'keyboard warrior regrets'

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Exiler »

Thumper wrote:You're quite right there Exiler. I went to his London talk a couple of years ago as I wanted to make my own mind up and thought the guy was just 1 big sob story act, he's also a wife beater. Video's are out there where tasers, cattle prods and choke chains are being used on the animals, you just gotta find em and wade through the fans/supporters trying to hide or justify them.

I am fully supportive of protecting endangered animals and breeding programmes but with as little human interaction as possible and certainly no attempt at "domestication", the latter is just publicity and stupid. We have no need to be able to play football with a Tiger or to receive a cuddle from a Lion, what's the point apart from publicity/entertainment? I just can't stand it to be honest and that includes places like Sea World. I don't get it when people are so horrified when some idiot gets eaten by a Polar Bear or loses a limb to a Humpback Whale. For me there's only 1 thing to learn from certain animals, there's gotta be respect on both sides, you leave them alone and they'll probably leave you alone. It's a can of worms this is to be honest. I've been involved in so many animal debates over the years including on here and you will never ever find even ground.

You only have to say Steve Irwin to sum this up really. I don't think there's much difference between a normal person exploring animals and an "expert", I think a certain amount of luck is involved and Irwin's luck ran out with a placid but protective creature and it was actually his lack of understanding, or stupidity that saw him meet his maker.


The other thing that annoyed me about Craig Busch was his personal breeding programme for White Tigers which he called Royal White Bengal Tigers. These Tigers are not a sub species. It is a gene defect which actually would hinder the predator greatly in the wild. It is the same with the White Lion, again it is skin pigmentation (or lack of, but not albino) not a separate subspecies of animal. Yes these animals tend to bring people in to see them at parks, zoos and reserves, but these are gene defects are often caused by inbreeding or by recessive gene problems and it is often our interference that causes this as we see it as a way of either increasing visitor numbers (sadly) or to create a pedigree animal. These pure bred animals serve no real purpose and have no real future i terms of eventual reintroduction schemes. There was an excellent documentary on National Geographic Wild entitled America's Pet Tigers. Within the programme it stated due to breeding out of licenses and lack of control since Tigers were brought into the U.S has pretty much lead to the several different species of Tiger, of which there are only a few sub species left (Sumatran, Bengal or Indian, Amur, Indochinese, Malayan, South China (now extinct in the Wild but exsistant in captivity), Have all become mixed in the gene pool and as a result the creation of a 'Trash' or generic Tiger gene pool has been created which is of little or know use to future breeding programmes. There are some Tigers in the U.S which are of use to these programmes but these are severely out numbered by the Trash Tiger population. I have tried to find a link to the documentary but sadly I have couldn't find one. There is however this from 2011:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSf9PrcxGSo[/youtube]

This documentary opened my eyes to how these wild creatures are regarded in the U.S. The whole subject is one that is extremely contentious and I have very mixed feelings about captive animals. I can see both sides of the argument. One of my favourite books on the subject is Why look at animals? by John Berger. It allowed me to develop my understanding more on the subject and positives and negatives, the whys and hows and it has made me question the ethics behind it all in my own way. I visited Chester Zoo in January and on the whole I thought it was very good, large spacious enclosures, adaptable habitats and the large space in which it resides but two things stood out for me. The Lion enclosure looks like something from the 1930's and really isn't the most pleasant of enclosures. and the more 'modern' Chimp house which, again, does not lend itself well compared to their excellent Jaguar and Orang Utan houses. If I compare this to Colchester you get a different feel, you can see that Colchester is trying to be more animal than customer friendly which is what a zoo should be. They have tried to remove the out dated enclosures and improve the enclosures for the bigger and for those species that require it. Howlett's and Port Lympe are similar in this respect too. There are enclosures which are out dated, granted there always will be due to the nature and progression of design. The more hands off approach when it comes to these animals that British parks and zoos take all helps with possible future release programmes. it limits the reliance on the keeper for food and affection and allows it keep or regain its natural instincts.

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/gustaf ... ls%202.pdf

(A small part of Why look at animals?)

Zoo's have been an important part of my life from education to growing up. I am aware that the controversy surround both conservation and captivity often conflicts us. These animals have as much right to this planet as us, if not more and it is our human greed that is preventing this. Many Conservationist and Zoologists are trying to go about it the right way through controlled systems with long term future goals. The likes of Craig Busch undermine this in the way they treat the animals in their care.
I have 5 species of animal I want to see in the wild before I die and it is dawning on me I may only get to see one or two due to the rate of decline of certain species.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Thumper »

Just a quick reply because I actually agree with everything you are saying. I did watch that television programme called America's Pet Tigers and it was disturbing but I was quite pleased about the ones that went to the sanctuary. I've just ordered a copy of Berger's book, thanks, sounds good, thought provoking.

Like you I have several animals I would love to catch a glimpse of before my time is up but I don't want to line the pockets of any company that treats animals as a spectacle like the many safari tours that promise you'll see so and so animal and the only reason they guarantee it is because they're out earlier shooting them full of sedatives.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Exiler »

http://watchdocumentary.org/watch/louis ... 5051f.html

Link to the full Louis Theroux documentary.

Thumper, I have been giving thought to safari actually to see one of the species although that is a long shot. My personal wild big 5 are as follows:

    Great White Shark - either underwater or above.

    Snow Leopards - needle in a haystack with this one.

    Amur Tigers - again, needle in haystack and chances are these will become extinct in the wild before 2030.

    Indre's - one of Madagascar's largest pro-simian species.

    African Lions - Has been done a lot but would love to witness a hunt.

I currently am working on a new idea for a project looking at Britain's captive big cats. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

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Thanks for the link, haven't seen that one so I'll watch that tonight, more than likely I'll be saddened as usual. Did you see the documentary about the bear which starred in the Dr. Dolittle remake with Eddie Murphy? That bear was a "pet", I find it funny how people call them pets and say they are no different to owning a dog or a cat yet they feel the need to sedate them and carry on their person guns, tasers and other hideous weapons.

Off the top of my head my wishlist consists of the following, I'd like to see them all in the wild too not captured;

Shoal(?) of whales, dolphins too
Lemurs
Elephants
Golden Eagle
Wildcat

If you're doing a project on captive big cats in the UK I think you'll struggle to find any in private ownership (i.e in homes as pets) as you need a license and there's very strict regulations, there's none that I've heard of, most big cat owners either sold theirs to a zoo, had them put down or released them into the wild when the law came out in the 70's. An obvious place to start would be back in the 60's when Harrod's sold exotic animals including lion and tiger cubs. Of course the most famous UK story of this is John Rendell's lion cub "Christian" who was eventually returned to the wild.

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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Monty »

Shoal(?) of whales, dolphins

The correct terminology here would be pod. Shoal or school is used in context of fish.

As an undergraduate Marine Biologist who is hoping to be involved in behavioral research one day i am very interested in the debate over how much contact scientists should have with their subjects and also the level of contact. It is a fine line to tread as on the one hand you need to spend a lot of time with the animal in order to understand the complex behaviour exhibited and , in terms of more intelligent and shy species, be able to gain the trust of the animal in order to observe the behaviour in the first place (see Christophe Boesch's work with Chimpanzees). However, on the flip side you also do not want to become so close as to start forming social bonds with animals as that can start affecting both your view on the subject and also could start influencing behaviour exhibited by the animal. In my opinion in the first video shown he has become too attached and part of the pride of lions, I would be interested to read any papers he may have published though.
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by capercaillie »

Monty wrote:
Shoal(?) of whales, dolphins

The correct terminology here would be pod. Shoal or school is used in context of fish.


School is very much the correct collective noun for a group of whales, although scientifically herd or pod is much more well recognised. The following can also be used but are much less common - float, gam, mob, run, troup and shoal.
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Monty »

capercaillie wrote:
Monty wrote:
Shoal(?) of whales, dolphins

The correct terminology here would be pod. Shoal or school is used in context of fish.


School is very much the correct collective noun for a group of whales, although scientifically herd or pod is much more well recognised. The following can also be used but are much less common - float, gam, mob, run, troup and shoal.


Interesting, I have never heard of a group of dolphins being referred to as a school or shoal before but having just googled it it certainly seems to be a valid definition despite being rarely used. Thanks for the additional info capercaillie.
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Re: "Living with Lions" - asking for trouble?

Post by Thumper »

I couldn't Google it at the time as my phone doesn't handle more than 1 tab very well so my guess was shoal, I knew that was for fish and that whales are mammals but I couldn't think of what a group of whales or dolphins were anyway, hence the bracketed question mark. Quite pleased that in a roundabout way I managed to get it right, I appreciate the explanations though! :wink:

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