Father is living in lions den for 30 days

7:05 PM, Jan 3, 2011   |    comments
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James Jablon is living in a lion's den for 30 days.
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  • Spring Hill, Florida - This is the time of year when a lot of people make New Year's resolutions to lose weight or spend more time with friends and family, but a Spring Hill man has a different goal in mind. James Jablon is living in a lion's den for 30 days.

    Jablon, a wildlife rehabilitation expert, plans to spend the month of January inside the fenced enclosure where two African lions named Lea and Ed live. He says he will sleep on hay next to them and eat when they eat.

    PHOTO GALLERY: Man Lives With Lions

    He says he understands the danger. "Especially if they're playing with something and you try to take it and you go near it, they go after you and when they fight with each other - which they do - you don't want to be near them because as soon as something touches them, they don't concern themselves with who's touching them. They're going to bite."

    Jablon says to stay safe he will depend on the trees in the lions' enclosure. "I will attempt to build a place to sleep and hide when the play gets too rough."

    And he's not rushing into the process. He says, for the first few nights, he will slowly attempt to sleep near them until the lions can become more comfortable with his presence. He says they recognize him as their caregiver but he has never attempted to spend this much time up close with them.

    Jablon, a father, owns and runs the family owned non profit  Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando, where the lions live. It's located at 360 Suncoast Boulevard in Spring Hill. The facility has been around for about ten years and about 100 animals - including, monkeys, alligators, coyotes, eagles and owls - live on 14 acres of property.

    The facility was set up to provide a place for injured or orphaned wildlife to be taken, given medical treatment, food and a chance to recover. Jablon says, until recently, they were devoted mainly to native wildlife but now they're being asked to provide homes  for exotic wildlife.

    With the downturn in the economy, Jablon says he needs to raise money and awareness to keep the facility open. He says, "This place takes about $75,000 to $100,000 a year to run just to take care of the animals. I would be comfortable with having between a hundred and two hundred thousand dollars made from this to put into the account, so I know we have what we need for these animals right now."

    From now until January 31, Jablon will spend his days and nights inside the lion's den to raise money for his facility. His every move is being broadcast through live streaming video. Click here to watch. Viewers can also chat with him and donate at his Web site.

    He adds, "It's going to be a really hard month for me and my family but we'd really like the community to try to step up."

    Jablon says he will no longer eat three meals a day or snack before and after meals. He will only eat when the lions eat and he says it won't be easy. "30 days without a Pepsi. Oh, boy!"

    While the lions eat 12 to 14 pounds of raw meat in the evenings, he will eat regular cooked food at that time each day.

    Jablon says all the money raised is going to be used strictly for items like food, housing material and medical care for the animals and all donations are 100 percent tax deductible. 

    Tammie Fields, 10 News

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