Living With Lions

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 10:53am

Man moves into lion den to raise money for big cat shelter.

A Florida man plans on spending the next month sleeping under the stars, but he won't be alone.

He'll have lions to cuddle with.

Jim Jablon will be living with is moving in with 2-year-old African lion Lea and her year-old male companion Ed.

Jablon, the director of Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando, moved into the animals' enclosure New Year's Day.

"I'm doing this to raise funds for the facility because we're broke," Jablon says, "Times have been tough and the bills are real high...the food bills, medical bills and I had to come up with a way to raise funds."

He plans to live with them for 30 days.

Lions aren't the only animals Jablon cares for on the property.

He has more than 100 animals, from lemurs to emus.

Most of them are rescue animals from facilities that close or people who give-up their wild pets.

Food and veterinary expenses cost nearly $70,000 per year.

Jablon has no staff, just a few volunteers and his 13-year-old daughter Chelsea.

She helps monitor the sanctuary's live video stream.

People from all over the world are watching on the web.

"I'm just answering their questions. Pretty much just asking, mostly how old are they and different things about the animals," Chelsea says.

Jablon has a portable potty, and a small fenced area where he can get away from the lions if he has to, but he's not afraid.

"I can do this and I can kiss her because any action she makes I can control," he claims.

Jablon hopes his extreme fundraising attempt pays off for the animals.

He says his biggest challenge is passing the time.

The lions sleep 20 hours a day.
 

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