When photographer Ed Hetherington set up his Canon 5D Mark II to capture wildlife in Zimbabwe from an ‘on the ground’ perspective, he didn’t expect to get quite so up close and personal with the local wildlife….
When he heard news that a lioness had brought down a buffalo near his camp, he rushed out to make the most of the great photo opportunity. After the lioness moved out of sight to drink from a nearby stream, Ed placed his camera near to the carcass to capture the lion when she walked past, confident that she wouldn’t pay any attention to the new object. But his confidence was misplaced, and the lioness decided that she was more interested in trying her paw at photography than in finishing her meal.
Ed describes that the big cat picked up the camera rather as she would pick up a cub and carried it off. So at least, for a lion, she was careful! Unwilling to let his camera go so easily, Ed drove after the lioness. Fortunately for him and his camera, she quickly lost interest in it and put it down.
Ed has stated that he would not attempt to do this again, if not for the camera, but for the sake of the lions. He says, “The intent was for this to unobtrusively allow for a unique image but ironically it ended up being a distraction.”
Some damage was sustained by the camera and lens; some plastic covering on the front of the lens was loosened and the lens itself needed a good clean, but apart from that Ed says that ‘you would never know that a lion had carried it’. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing as the camera will currently not switch on!
As well as making herself into an internet celebrity, the lioness is also unknowingly helping the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative as Ed is using the images he captured to raise funds and publicity for the cause.