Kevin’s Background

Kevin’s unique relationships with these large predators have opened many doors and captivated the imagination of many people throughout the world.  He has presented and produced several documentaries that detail his relationships with the animals and highlight the plight of lions both in captivity and in the wild.

 

Kevin has also written a book appropriately named, "Part of the Pride" detailing his work over the years with the large carnivores and is now affectionately known by his fans worldwide as “The Lion Whisperer”. He’s currently updating the book to reflect his current views on lion breeding, hunting and the new threats lions are facing. He also touches on how he has evolved as an individual who fell in love with two lion cubs in the late 90’s and how they help changed his life.

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Kevin’s Past Work

Growing up Hyena 2003

The story of a remarkable young hyena and one man’s quest to change people’s misconceptions of these remarkable animals. In tales of courage and strength in the animal kingdom it is the lion which is crowned king of the beasts; its rival the hyena, is left with a more tarnished image. Always the scavenger, always the villain, the hyena has traditionally been feared and loathed as the embodiment of evil. There are a few people who have set out to change those misconceptions. He has a truly unique bond with the hyenas he cares for, so much so, that he is almost an honorary member of the clan.

Dangerous Companions 2003

Kevin Richardson, animal behaviorist, works with some of the most dangerous animals known to man. He sleeps with lions, cuddles newborn hyenas and swims with lionesses. Rather than train the animals he persuades them. To do this he uses his own unusual methods. He uses love, understanding and trust; and has developed some very close bonds with these animals. He has become many things: a trusted ally, a dominant member in a clan of hyenas - a brother. But most of all he is well loved and trusted by his animal friends.

In Search of a Legend 2004

Passion, dedication and sacrifice: A tale of one man’s journey to find the elusive black leopard.

The black leopard, silent, solitary and magnificent. It has to be one of the most elusive animals in the world…and feared by most. From the cold temperatures of Europe to the hotter climates of Africa there have been reports that people have seen this infamous creature. But a small farming town called Lydenberg in the North East of South Africa has had more sightings in the last 50 years then anywhere else in the world.

In Search of a Legend”- Kevin heads to Lydenberg to talk to the people and hopefully catch a glimpse of the black leopard. Kevin has an uncanny ability to communicate with leopards and other large carnivores. Kevin’s work at The Kingdom brings him into contact with many amazing creatures, but he has formed a unique relationship with two black leopards, Coal and Nikita.

His love for these animals has taken him out of The Kingdom and deep into the African mountains. How could so many sightings have been recorded in one small farming town in South Africa? He wants to know more. Why do they exist, how many and where? His mission is to find a black leopard, but along the way he puts himself in the firing line to protect these animals from their biggest enemy-Man!

The Lion Ranger Series national Geographic Wild 2010

A series for National Geographic Wild consisting of three episodes. Each episode covers the daily life and dramas at Kevin's facility "The Kingdom" as well as other conservation work that Kevin is involved with in Botswana.

Lights, Camera, Lions! 2010

Kevin Richardson is known as “The Lion Whisperer,” which one would figure is probably a bit more dangerous than Cesar Milan’s job. And when he took on the role of lion wrangler for white lion, a fictional film that would in the end take four years to complete, he probably had no idea of the obstacle course that lay before him and the rest of the crew. The lions – all indigenous to South Africa – weren’t trained performers and in some cases, didn’t take too well to direction. Throw in horrible weather and rising costs, and it would be safe to say that the production process was far from “purr-fect.” This documentary traces the triumphs and travails behind the making of the feature, and provides a window into the often untamed world of wildlife shoots.

Lions on The Move 2012-2013

Kevin Richardson shares an extraordinary bond with Africa’s most fearsome predators, and together with them, he has experienced quite some adventures. However, moving 27 lions and 14 hyenas to a new home presents a different challenge.
The lions’ new home will be a sanctuary on the edge of Dinokeng, a South African game reserve spanning 18,500 hectares. A huge task lies ahead of Kevin: planning and designing the new enclosures and securing permits to move the animals.
To prevent stereotypical behaviour developing out of frustration and boredom, Kevin tries to make sure his animals live as enriched of lives as possible. The animals are therefore regularly rotated into new enclosures, encouraging them to explore and establish new territories as they would in the wild.
Meanwhile, work on the animals’ new home at Dinokeng is still in progress. Kevin takes us on a tour of the already existing and occupied enclosures and explains how their design is crucial in meeting the animals’ requirements. However, the permits to move the animals are held up. Everything takes longer than anyone predicted. And every day, the pressure to move the animals increases.
Weeks away from the move, the permits are turned down. When they are eventually granted, moving the animals presents the next major challenge. Being able to understand the individual characteristics of his animals will be key to moving them safely. But a few of them are not that keen on climbing into the specially adapted van. Can the reluctant Lions and Hyenas be persuaded to join in on the move?

Kevin Richardson - l'homme qui murmure à l'oreille des lions (The Lion Whisperer) France 2 2012

A documentary produced by well know filmmaker (Gilles de Maistré) about Kevin’s relationships with his lion and hyena friends and about his mission to expose the link between the cub petting industry and the morally repugnant practice of ‘canned’ lion hunting. It was extremely well received and beat viewing records on France 2; despite soaring summer temperatures with over a million people watching the documentary representing 11.5% market share and +25% for this particular time slot! Well worth the watch!

GoPro – Lions The New Endangered Species 2013

The GoPro production crew journeys to Africa to explore the danger and beauty of Kevin Richardson's passions for lions and their future.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNCzSfv4hX8

Killer IQ : lion vs hyena 2014

This is not a battle of eternal enemies – but a war of wits. Join Kevin Richardson and some of the world’s leading behavioural zoologists as hyenas and lions are pitted against each other in a series of exciting, entertaining and ground-breaking puzzles and trials, to discover what makes them the ultimate apex predator…
In this series, world-famous ‘lion whisperer’ Kevin Richardson will be joined by a team of highly qualified experts, such as researcher Natalia D. Borrego (USA), world-renowned lion authority Dr Craig Packer (USA) and zoologist Dr Christine Drea (USA). Together, they will identify the lions’ as well as the hyenas’ behaviour when it comes to solving tasks and riddles, custom-tailored to the animals in question. The different trials will focus on specific abilities and aspects of the animals’ behaviour. Cognitive awareness and social intelligence will be put to the test: how well will the animals fare when it comes to various tasks, such as puzzle boxes, rope pulling or mirror mazes? Will they share their findings with animals from their own family or clan – or will they keep their knowledge to themselves?
The animals will work alone as well as in pairs, in constellations they may not be used to and which will challenge them even more. How will subordinate or dominant animals change roles when paired differently, to fulfil a task as yet unknown to them?
We will also explore numerical assessment skills – can these animals understand the concept of less and more, bigger versus smaller? Can they display their understanding by operating touch screens? It will be demonstrated why understanding these concepts might be helpful for the animals even in the wild.
Under the surveillance of our experts, the animals’ learning behaviour will be analysed. How quickly do they understand a task, learn how a puzzle can be solved and even teach other fellow species how to proceed? Puzzle boxes with different solutions will be presented to the animals, and only a few of them will be taught to solve them beforehand. Will they pass on their knowledge to their kin or group?
Usually, lions and hyenas need to hunt for food, protect their cubs and territory – and in order to do this they need to recognise group members. But how does remembering who individuals are and learning to interact with them help to solve problems?
Social politics in lion prides and hyena clans differ; will these differences play out in the end, when it comes to solving various puzzles? Which animal is more hard-wired for social co-operation and forming alliances, lions or hyenas? And why?
This series is not about trying to find a winner, but instead will reveal why each of these species is the ultimate specialist in their own unique way.