Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wild Kingdom

Kevin Richardson of Johannesburg, South Africa has been named the "lion whisperer" by the Daily Mail. It appears that his shtick schmoozing with the big cats and other predators.

It’s been more than two centuries since Jean Jacques Rousseau made romantics of us Westerners, and judging from the reader responses to the article his influence hasn’t waned, at least in some quarters. Some used the adjective fantastic in a predictably breathless manner. One commenter observed that big cats are just like little cats, needing only love and chin chucks.

Every few years something like this story crops up, a human interest piece intended to nurture a sentimental and thoroughly unrealistic view of the natural world. Several decades back we got Joy Adamson, a hit song and a movie, followed by a spate of popular nature programs which specialized in anthropomorphic narration of wildlife films. Magicians Siegfried and Roy did their bit. Then came the Crocodile Hunter and the Grizzly Man. Adamson got eaten. So did the Grizzly Man. Roy’s not pretty anymore, and the odds caught up with Corwin.

My apologies to all animal lovers, but big cats are different from house cats, in the case of lions much more so. Thousands of years of co-evolution with humans and small size make Tabby more manageable than Leo. If your moggies weighed 300 lbs you’d have more respect and they would have less. Richardson is doing neither himself nor the lions any favors. Sooner or later he’s going to get grievously injured, probably killed, and incurable animal romantics won’t get the lesson.

1 comment:

TheRankingMissP said...

Yay! Lion whisperer!