Mar 10, 2010, 1:00 PM EST
In the most stirring example of a professional athlete meeting his animal mascot namesake since Sidney Crosby visited Antarctica, here’s Detroit’s Zack Follett paying a visit to Cat Haven in Fresno, CA (Follett, who played for Cal, is a native of nearby Clovis). In the video, the lion seems very interested in Follett’s helmet, then tries to claw it when it discovers that the logo has been updated. Also rather amusing is the lion playfully pouncing on Follett when someone says the word “tackle.”
Video following the jump.
From Follett’s web site:
In my recent visit to the Cat Haven up in above Fresno California, I had a chance to interact with the Lions you saw in the video along with Snow leopards, Bengals, Cheetahs, Leopards, and Jaguars. These animals are breathtaking to see up close. Until the other day I was only able to witness them on Planet Earth, which is one of my favorite shows. As the owners of the Cat Haven spoke more and more about the relief efforts they have been fighting to keep their mission going, I wanted to do my part to help.
As they were telling me about what they do, it’s much more than just help house these animals. They make trips year around to Africa and go on safari trips working with local specialists to help preserve and help many of these animals persevere through the extinction they face. But it wasn’t just the animals they were helping that tugged at my heart. The kids in the villages they stay in while back in Africa have very little. They told me how when they see a pencil their eyes light up with joy so they can write instead of using sticks in the ground to draw or how they have no basketballs, footballs, or soccer balls to play with and use tied up plastic bags to kick around as a soccer ball. WOW! We are truly blessed to be living in this great country of America and how we take advantage of the things we have.
I’m not all trying to make this a sob story or make you feel guilty for what we have so that you donate money. But lets be serious we can at least send 5,10,20 bucks to help get these kids some balls to play with to help pass the time in their day.
I didn’t set any set prices of what to donate feel free to donate whatever you please. Thank you again for your generosity and I can insure you the money you donate goes right to the cause and no 3rd party is going to take their cut!
I’m familiar with Cat Haven Wild Animal Park because a friend, actor Michael Berryman (the original The Hills Have Eyes!), has been directly involved with it. It’s worth a visit, if for no other reason just to see a cheetah run at full speed, live.
Follett visited the Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and talked about it. The audio is here.
Zack Follett on Twitter
Cat Haven Wild Animal Park [Official Site]
Follett gets into cage with lions [Jim Rome Show]
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