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My Life with Leopards

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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  10 reviews
When two six-week-old leopard cubs, born in captivity in Zimbabwe, arrive at the Londolozi private game reserve in South Africa, 22-year-old game ranger Graham Cooke is assigned to take care of them. Based in an unfenced tented camp in the Londolozi bush, where lions, hyenas and other leopards abound, Graham’s first task is to gain the cubs’ trust before he begins to guide ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published August 31st 2012 by Penguin Books (South Africa)
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Michelle Curie
This book made more of an impression on me than I expected it to. I don't consider myself a leopard enthusiast (not that I don't like them, but I just don't really know much about them) and I have never heard of Graham Cooke before, either.



I was to find out that Graham Cooke was a game ranger, whom we meet here in 1993 as a 22-year-old working at Londolozi, a game resort in South Africa. Human emotion and animal instinct meet when he is given the opportunity to parent two six-week-old leopard cu
...more
David Canford
Jul 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I had expected to be more gripped by this book than I initially was. The story, which is about raising leopard cubs, was something that appealed to me but at times my attention wandered. However, when I got to the the last quarter where they move them to an island in Zambia surrounded by crocodile infested waters, I couldn’t put it down. It was both thrilling and emotional. To have a close connection with such magnificent creatures must have been the experience of a lifetime for the author.
I di
...more
Nerine Dorman
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has read Joy Adamson’s books will rekindle some of that awe of experiencing life in the company of our big cats.

Graham Cooke’s tale is no less engaging, written as a first-person account by Fransje van Riel. We enter the world of the somewhat whimsically named Boycat and Poepface, a brother-and-sister pair of leopard cubs, and follow their antics from the bush camp in Londolozi to the Zambian wilderness and their eventual release.

From the start, it is clear that over a year Cooke form
...more
Heather
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: animal-books
3.5 stars. Although I am a huge animal lover, and I thought this would be a completely amazing true story, the writing just wasn't great - and there are some problems about the story I just couldn't ignore. Essentially two leopards born into captivity and then hand raised so they can be in a film - which I can't say I support. There are obvious flaws in the care/raising of the cubs - though I guess one can say if they live to adulthood then it was all okay - i think we know a great deal about ho ...more
Sibel Hodge
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Graham Cooke's story told through Fransje van Riel's words is an amazing story of courage, love, triumph, and sadness as he rears two amazing leopard cubs to re-wild back into the plains of Africa. Heartfelt and emotional, this book will make you smile and touch your heart. The writing will make you feel like you're in the heart of Africa. Anyone with interest in bigs cats and a love of wildlife should read this book. ...more
Emily Isratherstrange
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A touching and inspiring book...
Angela
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this book. I love animals and used to dream of having a job on an expedition just like this. Being let into Graham's world was an amazing experience. I love the way he chronicles everything, detailing each little piece so you can be there with him as he raises these two leopard cubs. You can hear the hyenas howling in the night, yipping to each other in their quest for scraps, the lions snuffling as they explore through the camp, it was so "in your face" I loved the raw power ...more
Julia
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
All much more amazing after having been to londolozi! We felt tearful when leaving after only 4 days, I can't imagine having actually living/working there and having to leave. What a wonderful and heartbreaking story! ...more
Hulananni
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Living with leopards.

I liked the description of nature and the sounds you hear in the bush. The bond between Graham and the leopard cubs was amazing. I cried for his loss when he had to leave them in the wild. Anyone interested in African wildlife should read this. If you’ve been on safari I think you’ll appreciate the story even more. I know I did having sent time on game drives over the years.
Tami
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful beyond words. Absolutely loved the writing, easy to read, very emotional, lovely. Would love to know if he ever saw Poepface again or heard of her ........
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Fransje Riel
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Alison
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May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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When Fransje first visited the African wilderness through her work as cabin attendant with KLM in March 1991, an old childhood dream of experiencing the thrill of observing wild animals came true.

Inspired by the writings of Brian Jackman, Fransje tried her hand at writing and fast forwarding a decade later, moved to the tip of the African continent to embark on a new career.

Following many freelanc
...more

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