There are many careers hobbies and endeavours that are dangerous. As far as the many dedicated people who make the choice to give there life for the benefit of a species of animal can and do put themselves in a dangerous situation, however the few who do it with a complete understanding of that species can greatly limit the risk. That is what I want to focus on. No matter how you feel about wild animals in captivity, in certain environments it is necessary to bring awareness for that species.
For the cheetahs of Africa Riana Van Nieuwenhuizen is that voice and risk taker. Riana has all the tools needed to be that voice for the cats of Africa who really knows if she chose them our they chose her. Another point of view and two videos about Riana
South Africa’s Riana Van Nieuwenhuizen, 46, shares her home with five lions, four cheetahs, and two tigers. In the past, I’ve dispensed advice on eco-friendly cat-keeping but my knowledge of litter boxes and scratching posts are useless here. She really gives the title “crazy cat lady” new meaning.
Nieuwenhuizen actually runs a nonprofit that helps ensure the survival of the big cats, all orphaned, so she’s not completely insane. But here’s the thing: she lets them in her home … they prowl around her kitchen, sleep in her bed, take catnaps with her dogs. The animals are provided with ample outdoor space, of course, but they also have the luxury of being treated like a domesticated household pet. As you'll see in the pictures and video clip, it's all too weird ... think National Geographic meets Sunset magazine.
Personally, I’m a traditional pet kind of guy. Dogs, cats, certain birds, reptiles in well-secured cages, rodents, are all acceptable animals to share a home with. Lions and cheetas? Absolutely not.
What instantly comes to my mind is the horrific case of Travis the chimp, a 14 year-old primate that lived in Stamford, Connecticut, with his owner, Sandra Herold. Travis had full-run of Herold’s home; he bathed and dressed himself, ate at the dining room table, and used a computer. One day last February, Travis was on edge so Herold slipped him a Xanax. Later in the evening, Travis mauled and ate the hands off of a female friend visiting Herold’s home. The police arrived and Travis was killed.
The cases of Jackson, Nieuwenhuizen, and Herold are all extreme, yes, but what are your thoughts on keeping non-domesticated animals, endangered or not, in one’s home? Have you or do you currently provide shelter to critters normally found in the wild (and zoos)? Do you know anyone that does? If so, does going over for a game of poker or afternoon tea put you on edge? Or are you chill with a lion sprawled out on a chaise in the living room?
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