Atlanta veterinarian remembered on the big screen

The multi-award winning, rescue documentary Lion Ark will be screening at Plaza Theater, Atlanta on February 19th and at the University of Georgia, Athens on February 20th.

The screenings will be a special tribute to Atlanta veterinarian Dr Mel Richardson who passed away in January 2014. Dr Mel, as he was known around world, was the veterinarian for the dramatic rescue of 25 lions by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from circuses in Bolivia that is documented in Lion Ark. There will be a short film about Dr Mel accompanying the main feature. There will also be a Q&A with the director and rescue team leaders who will be coming from a bear rescue in Peru.

WHEN: Sunday February 19, 1:00pm
WHERE: Plaza Theater, 1049 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE Atlanta, GA 30306
TICKETS: Buy now!

WHEN: Monday February 20, 7:00pm
WHERE: Miller Learning Center, Room 148, 48 Baxter Street, Athens GA 30602
TICKETS: FREE Sponsored by UGA student organization Speak Out for Species.

Dr Mel Richardson who lived in Atlanta passed away in January 2014 and his untimely death from heart failure sent a shock wave through the animal protection movement. Vastly experienced, with over 40 years working with captive wildlife, Mel had initially been employed by zoos and the captive wildlife industry before turning his back on that world and dedicating his life to saving and protecting animals. As well has veterinary work, he provided an eloquent voice for animals, giving evidence in Congress and elsewhere.

In an incredibly poignant scene in the film Lion Ark, Mel noted tearfully: “What motivates me now, was all the 42 years I didn’t do anything and all the suffering that I’ve seen with captive wild animals. At least, thanks to ADI and others, I have an opportunity to make amends, that’s what motivates me.”

Lion Ark Director Tim Phillips: “We wanted to bring Lion Ark to Atlanta to honour our friend and colleague Dr Mel Richardson who lived here. Mel played a vital role in Animal Defenders International’s animal rescues and work creating awareness about the treatment of animals and is sorely missed.

“We worked together in some of the most difficult and high pressure circumstances and it was always a pleasure to be with him. Not just his obvious skills, but his humor and good nature, which are captured in Lion Ark. I hope people who knew him will come and see him again on the big screen and those who didn’t know him will get a chance to a remarkable man whose time with us was too short.”

ADI recently rescued over 30 lions from circuses in Peru and Colombia and funds raised at the screening will go towards a natural bush enclosure dedicated to Dr Mel Richardson for a group of those lions. You can donate toward this special enclosure:

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Lion Ark is also available on DVD »