Lina Jek simply wanted her husband, Chris, to take a photo of her with the African savannah in the background. But Chris, a wildlife photographer, got a more dramatic photo than either of them expected. [readon]
At Lion Park in South Africa, you can walk among the lions until they’re eight months old, at which time they move to the adult section. This lioness was just turning eight, so this might have been her last chance to climb on the visitors’ shoulders and lick their ears.
The 500-acre Lion Park isn’t a zoo; more like a conservation area that’s working to return lions to the wild. Part of it is run by Kevin Richardson, the well-known “lion whisperer.” It’s maybe not the ideal situation for lions, but in a world where the population of the “king of beasts” has dropped from 450,000 to 20,000 in the last 50 years, it’s a lot better than most of what’s happening to lions and other animals all across the continent.
Chris called the photo one of the luckiest shots he’d ever taken. A few days later, the lioness and her brothers and sisters were moved to the adult area of the park.
Check out some of Chris’s best-of photos of lions and other great African animals, like this one: