James Jablon of Spring Hill in Florida is living with two African lions at his family run Wildlife Centre, the Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando (WROH), to raise funds for operational costs.
So far things seem to be going well in the lions den, but in an interview from inside the lion enclosure with ABC News Jablon admits that things could turn at any moment. Yet Jablon goes on to say it isn't dangerous for him as the lions are still young and they know him. Hopefully he will complete his time with the lions unharmed, despite the risks. Jablon knows:
"I'm still a toy to them,"
His contentious move into the lions’ den is being streamed live on the wildlife centre’s website along with a live chat stream.
Since the 1st of January 2011 this enterprising man has been living with the lions in their enclosure, sleeping near them on the hay and eating once a day when the lions feed. The New York Times reports that he intends to build a shelter
“to sleep and hide in the trees in the enclosure, in case the lions fight with each other.”
The wildlife centre is home to about 100 animals, from alligators, tigers and African Serval to snakes, lemurs and primates. Hopefully he won’t be moving in with any of these animals next!
The Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando centre was established to treat and care for the native wildlife of Florida but today the centre provides refuge to exotic pets and non-native animals in need of shelter. Caring for the wild animals is a costly venture with the centre relying on volunteer support and personal funding, hence this extreme attempt to raise funds.
The lions James is living with are a 2 year-old named Lea and a 1-year old named Ed. The lions can get a bit too boisterous at times according to the Grind TV blog the cats
“…are young and playful, but they're also powerful and their caretaker sometimes feels over-matched”
The National Wildlife Federation is not so sure this stunt is a good idea, and is asking readers on the NWF blog if it isn’t too risky moving in with the lions:
“does it send the wrong message, or is it a clever way to raise awareness on the issues with keeping potentially dangerous animals as pets?”