Lions: The Faces of a Predator

Copyright notice: All photos on this blog post are copyrighted by Jo Ann Creore. All rights reserved.

 

 

If the leopard is a marvel of grace and beauty from the whiskers on its nose to the white tip of its tail, the same cannot be said of lions. Powerful and majestic? Certainly. The top predator of Africa looks the part, but that powerful, majestic body is not what drew my eye when looking through a viewfinder. I have perhaps a hundred photos of lions on my memory card, and almost all focus on the head. With the cubs, it’s the eyes that grip me. With an adult male, it’s the incredible range of expressions. In fact, the photo below is one of only three that I took of  lions standing up. The other two were taken a few seconds later and are even worse.

Brothers

Brothers

I much prefer the following view of the male.

Here I am at my best.

Here I am at my best.

Okay. Maybe he looks a little like Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz, but he’s a lot more impressive lurking quietly in the grass than wandering through the brush.

Sunlight and a sculpted head make beautiful images.

Cub looking for Mom

Cub looking for Mom

She's not there either.

What’s over there?

And then a cub turns his eyes on me.

Do I know you?

Do I know you?

And what eyes!

Through the lens, we share a private moment.

Through the lens, we share a private moment.

We came upon four cubs devouring a baby zebra. After a first glance to confirm that we were irrelevant, they returned to feasting.

This is OUR meal!

This is OUR meal!

It didn’t take long for the zebra to become unrecognizable. And as the pieces got smaller, brotherly love turned to fierce competition.

It's mine!

It’s mine!

We stopped by the scene next morning. The cubs didn’t leave much.

Remains of the feast.

Remains of the feast.

Remains of the feast

Remains of the feast

Remains of the feast.

Remains of the feast.

Where did it all go? It was still there, waiting to be digested twenty-four hours later.

A very full belly.

A very full belly.

With a little water to wash it down. Note that one cub is a lot smaller than the other. We weren’t sure why.

Brothers

Brothers

The cubs are cute, but an adult male is a master of expressions that almost require a human interpretation. The following photos were taken of the same lion over a period of several minutes.

Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth.

Butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth.

Yawn! See what a big tongue I have.

Yawn! See what a big tongue I have.

I am oh so superior.

King of the beasts? Indeed!

The laugh's on you.

The laugh’s on you.

The most memorable encounter with the lions occurred as daylight was failing. Two brothers asleep, wrapped in each other’s arms. As the limits of my ISO were exceeded, they proceeded to wash each other like house cats before finally rising and wandering off for the night’s hunt.

Male bonding.

Male bonding.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s