We, humans, tend to think of big cats like lions, tigers, and leopards as dangerous. The vast majority of us would never go near one. The very sight of these creatures is stunning, yet they are not the kind of animals we should be interacting with. We’d rather admire these animals from a distance, where we’re out of harm’s way. However, there are people who have the courage to rub shoulders with such wild cats as lions, tigers, and leopards.
The Gerbers, especially Armand and Beatrice, are examples of courageous people. The duo frequently interacts with some of the world’s most dangerous wildcats.
The South African park Iron Throne Predator and Wildlife Reserve are under their management. Ten lions, two leopards, three tigers, and a cheetah live at this 200-acre refuge. These large felines have found a happy home with other rehabilitated wildlife.
All of the animals in the refuge were born in captivity and have found their permanent home at the sanctuary. These wild cats share the pleasure of being snuggled with domestic cats and dogs. Armand is not your average human being; most people would say “hell no” if offered to embrace a lion or tiger. He spends all day every day snuggling with and playing with these creatures.
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Armand knows there is a great deal of danger in his line of work with top predators, but he does it because he loves and trusts these animals and because he needs the money. Some people believe he’s insane for interacting so closely with such potentially dangerous creatures. Armand, though, knows he is lucky to have the chance to work with and care for such wonderful creatures. If you’re going to be around big cats like lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs, he says, you need to keep your head on straight and treat them with the respect they deserve. This human being also suffers occasional scratches and bites. He loves leopards more than any of the other wild cats, yet he treats them all like members of his own family.