MANE EVENT: Demetri hard at play with one of the big cats at Animals of Montana.
MANE EVENT: Demetri hard at play with one of the big cats at Animals of Montana. Animals of Montana

Demetri in a good lion of business

A FORMER Maclean High student who has been working with lions and bears in the US for more than 10 years is back home for a short time.

Demetri Price is the head trainer for Animals of Montana in Northern Montana where he trains apex predators and works with big cats, wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and other animals.

Animals of Montana supply the animals in an ethical manner for film, television and photography.

Mr Price describes getting into training apex predators as being sucked in by the rabbit hole effect.

"It basically ended up being everything I wanted and more,” he said.

He said enriching the animals' lives is at the forefront of what is most important for him.

"What we do is a very interesting thing, on the surface it does help the animals in the long run,” he said.

Mr Price said their business allows the animals to have a face in the modern age incorporated in media in our culture, movies and art.

"It gives them a public face,” he said.

"I believe animals in the wild have it very tough. Keeping them in captivity and in an ethical fashion with that as a core part can give them a meaningful and happy life and preserve them for future generations,” he said.

He said humans on the planet have made it very difficult for apex predators to be the way nature intended and inadvertently destroy their existence.

"From human interaction we as a whole are invading in every system they exist in, especially displacing large predators, who rely on large open spaces and prey to exist the way they are meant to,” he said.

Mr Price said he has always been animal-centric, leading him to where he is today.

"I was lured towards big cats and they intrigued me in a particular way, making me want to work with that species,” he said.

Last week he was invited as a guest speaker to the Palmers Island Public School award ceremony where students were honoured for upholding school core values.

He said he talked about the value of integrity and identified it with something that comes out from inner dealings with another person.

"I really think Palmers Island is a diamond in the rough, it is a school that really upholds the value of small town Australia, it's not lost in the larger spheres of our culture,” he said. ”They are going to be producing some really high quality Australians.”

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