A Ukrainian zoo owner risked life and limb when he walked into a lions' den in 2011 and didn't come out until five weeks later. Now, Alexander Pylyshenko plans to live with lions again. But this time around, he's pledging to reside among the large felines for one year.
According to Russian-language newspaper Segodnya, Pylyshenko will live in the lions' den at his small, private zoo in Vasylivka for the next year in order to raise funds for the construction of a rehabilitation center for lions and other big cats. He set his fundraising goal at 365,000 UAH (nearly $45,000).
If Pylyshenko is able to live among lions for an entire year, he'll surpass the current Ukrainian record of 35 days, which Pylyshenko himself set in 2011. At the time, the zoo owner lived in the same confines as two lions, sharing their sleeping quarters and their meals of raw meat, fed to the animals through the bars of the cage.
Given the extended duration he plans to live among the lions, Pylyshenko will split his time between the lions' cage and his country house, where the felines will also join him. In his leisure time, the zoo keeper plans to spend his days painting and writing a book about lions.
As he did during his previous stint in the lions' cage, Pylyshenko plans to broadcast video footage of his experience on his website.
The date Pylyshenko plans to enter the cage is still undetermined. (He's waiting on potential donors.) But it's likely he'll begin his quest within the next year.
Pylyshenko is not the only person who has voluntarily taken up residence with lions. In early 2011, before Pylyshenko entered the lions' cage, Wildlife Rehabilitation of Hernando owner James Jablon announced his plans for a similar fundraiser. For the month of January, Jablon lived in an outdoor lion pen in order to raise money for his nonprofit wildlife rescue center. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Jablon estimated that made he about halfway to his $150,000 donation goal, which should cover food for the center's animals for the next year.