The lion whisperer

The lion whisperer

Clarissa Ward travels to South Africa and meets a man who has adopted 26 lions to save them from a tourism industry with a sinister side

The following is a script of “The Lion Whisperer” which aired on Nov. 30, 2014. Clarissa Ward is the correspondent. Randall Joyce, producer.

The African Lion is the most feared predator in the wild. It is designed to kill. But tonight we’ll show you a very different side of these awe-inspiring animals. Our guide is South Africa’s self-taught animal behaviourist, Kevin Richardson. Getting up close and personal with lions is his life’s work. It has earned him the nickname “The Lion Whisperer.” We visited his sanctuary, a few hours outside of Johannesburg, where Richardson spends most of his days with his 26 adopted lions. But the story of how he ended up with an extended family of huge cats reveals some disturbing truths about a South African tourism industry with a sinister side.

We strapped a couple of small cameras onto Kevin Richardson to get a good look at the unique relationship he has with these animals. First stop this morning: finding two of his lions, Gabby and Bobcat. When they hear his call they rush out to greet him like a long lost friend. This emotional bond is incredibly rare. Read more.