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Dinokeng, South Africa - 2018
Dinokeng, South Africa

As we all know, in Norse mythology Thor was the god of thunder and lightning. Kevin Richardson - The Lion Whisperer - had a favourite white lion on his wildlife sanctuary which he named Thor and the two built up a remarkable and trusting bond. Thor was magnificent and handsome - truly the stuff of fairytales.

On the evening of December 5, 2013, Kevin struggled to sleep, as violent storms swept across the veldt and he had a premonition that something was wrong. He went to check on his lions and his instincts were sadly right - Thor had been struck by lightning and killed. This is no myth or fable - it is the heartbreaking reality. Astonishingly, it was also the day, that Nelson Mandela - the lion of Africa passed away - less than an hour's drive from where Thor had been struck by lightning.

This remains one of the most extraordinary stories I have heard in the wild and hints at dark powers somewhere up in the sky. You could not make it up.

White Lions are a colour mutation of the lion and rarely found outside the Timbavati region of South Africa. To Kevin, Thor was unique and seemingly irreplaceable. But over time, the wounds healed and it was a spiritual moment to recently find that there was a beautiful new three-year old white lion in the sanctuary.

It must have been an emotional and difficult decision - but Kevin has named him Thor. He is a stunner - just like his namesake.

It must have been an emotional and difficult decision - but Kevin has named him Thor.

David Yarrow

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