A mere roar from a wild cat is enough to send most of us scampering for cover, so you can only imagine what kind of courage it would take, to spend an entire month living with not one, but two wild cats!
But that's exactly what Tampa resident, Jim Jablon has been doing since January 1st, in a bid to raise funds for The Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando, his refuge for orphaned, injured or abandoned animals.
Mr. Jablon opened the center in 1999 in his backyard in a remote area of Spring Hill, Florida. He began by helping out smaller benign animals like raccoons, deer, eagles and snakes, which were returned to the wild in relatively short periods of time.
However, as the refuge began to gain popularity, he started receiving larger and more exotic animals like monkeys, alligators and wild cats that included lions, pumas and even tigers.
And, since he doesn't like to turn any animal away, he kept accepting them. However, not only do these animals take longer to rehabilitate, but they also, require much more care, space and food.
All these years, Mr. Jablon has funded the sanctuary from his own savings and managed the animals with the help from an army of volunteers, which include his 13-year old daughter, Chelsey. But, as years have gone by, his savings have depleted and costs have risen, forcing him to finally ask for some help in order to keep the operation running.
He therefore came up with this rather radical idea of spending the entire month living with Lea and Ed, both of whom he has raised since they were little cubs. He hopes that when people see him playing, eating and even sleeping with these gorgeous animals, they will open up their hearts and donate to his cause, helping him meet his goal of raising $200,000 USD.
So far, the 46-year old man who has set up a 24 hour live webcam inside the lion's lair, seems to be doing fine. He does not however advocate this for anybody else, knowing that the only reason he can even attempt it, is because he has brought up the cats since they were born. But even then, he is not blind to the fact that they are wild animals and could change their behavior anytime - To safeguard himself incase this happens, he has built an emergency bed atop a high tree, where he plans to escape.
Despite these precautions, some wildlife advocates believe that he is being irresponsible, not only with this endeavor, but also, for rescuing all these wild animals. What do you think? Be sure to let us know by adding your comments below.