Who is Dean Schneider and what is his story?
DEAN SCHNEIDER – Meet the famous Swiss guy who has dedicated his life to animals and whose best friends are lions and hyenas.
Two of the most dangerous animals in the world are lions and hyenas. Lions, for one, are really dangerous because of their predatory and carnivorous nature. They are strong enough to kill huge mammals including adult humans. They are aggressive, quick, strong, and hunt in groups.
Hyenas, on the other hand, are fearful of humans but also eat human flesh. There are striped and spotted hyenas and both types can kill a person. But of the two types, the spotted hyena is the one that is more aggressive, predatory, larger, and more dangerous.
But there’s someone we know who is best friends with these two dangerous animals. Of course, not all lions and hyenas are his best friends but he has a pride of lions and a couple of hyenas that grew up with him. These animals are considering him a part of their families. His name is Dean Schneider.
Before he decided to dedicate his whole life to animals, he has this entrepreneurial spirit and a career in finance in Switzerland. But in 2017, he made a life-changing decision.
He gave everything up including his career and moved to South Africa. He established a wildlife sanctuary and animal rehabilitation center called Hakuna Mipaka. These are Swahili terms that mean ‘’No Limits’’. The animal rehabilitation center is around 400 hectares. Apart from being a home to several species, some animals are also being rehabilitated here before they are released into the wild.
He was only 24 years old when he let go of his financial advisory company with 45 employees and this is because of his fascination with animals which he developed when he was young. His career in finance was driven by his pursuit of money. He was living a life with success, a career, and money but all of these wore off because he has a different passion. He wanted something that is personally fulfilling and he found it in South Africa.
And Schneider is living his dream as a wildlife conservationist.
When asked about how he has built a relationship with six lions, he noted that there is no handbook. He said, “There is no handbook for this, you learn as you go along. I observed the lions and learned their body language. I have what I call an animal-animal relationship with them. I communicate and behave like they do, not like a human being. To greet them, I get down on my knees and press my own head against theirs.”
In their pride, he was a father to them when they were young but Dexter, the strongest of them, is pride leader.
As for the food and wages of his employer, it is mostly dependent on donations. He earns from his YouTube videos but the income is depending on the clicks. He also doesn’t earn on Instagram as he does not make brand deals like the other influencers.
In an interview with Swiss Life, he added that he doesn’t do safaris considering the vastness of the oasis because, for him, the “400 hectares of land belong to the animals alone”. He added, “It’s an oasis that provides them with a beautiful home for life. Part of the reserve is kept for animals born in captivity, some of which have been rescued from terrible conditions. The rest of the land is for wild animals that live freely.”
Check out this video below:
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