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April 24 , 2008

My Life With Leopards - Graham Cooke's Story


Human emotion and animal instinct meet poignantly when two six-week-old leopard cubs become the charge of 22-year-old game ranger Graham Cooke at Londolozi. Staying with the cubs in an unfenced bush camp surrounded by lions, hyenas and other leopards, he must first gain their trust before he begins to guide them towards release in the wild. It takes weeks of patience and gentleness for Graham to be accepted into the cubs' small family unit and to find ways of communicating with the young leopards as he slowly begins to introduce them to their new environment. Graham finds himself drawn more to the wary little female than her easy-going brother, but over time both cubs come to recognise him as their protector. They form a bond of friendship through which he can gain unparalleled insights into their development and behaviour. When, a year later, the cubs are relocated to the Zambian wilderness, Graham faces the hardest task of all: to set free the young animals he has become so devoted to so that they can return to a wild existence where he is unable to control their fate.

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