The Man Who Lives With Leopards | BEAST BUDDIES
DEDICATING his life to caring for his beloved animals – Armand Gerber now has two leopards living INSIDE his house. Armand, 51, runs the Iron Throne Predator and Wildlife Park in South Africa, and just a few weeks ago, one of his adult female leopards gave birth to two cubs on site. The cubs now live in Armand’s home, being hand-fed with milk bottles and sleeping next to him in bed each night. Whilst Armand expects criticism for separating the mother and her babies at such a young age, he is adamant that this is the best way to raise the cubs in captivity – even with the increased level of danger that he is faced with when interacting with the vulnerable mother. In addition to keeping a very close eye on the cubs and parents, Armand has to maintain the well-being of his other animals at the park – including 10 lions, three tigers and a cheetah. Armand told Barcroft TV: “The cubs now live inside my house – in my mind, it’s the only way to raise them.” Armand admits that taking care of the cubs is like a full time job. They require feeding twice a day for the first six months and the temperature of the milk must be carefully monitored, in addition to the general hygiene of their living space. Armand was incredibly surprised when one of the cubs was born with black fur – this is an extremely rare occurrence with both of the parents having “normal” fur and no black genes whatsoever. Armand said: “The significance of this little guy is that black leopards are extremely, extremely rare. I’d say the ratio is one to 1,000.” Armand is now also making sure to interact with the mother each day. Armand started work at the sanctuary over a year ago and has always taken the cubs into his home in order to imprint them – he now shows no signs of slowing down in terms of the amount of animals he looks after.
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