Upsetting photographs show how one of Kruger’s National Park, South Africa’s most famous lions has grown old and sick. The lion, known as Skybed Scar, used to lead a pride but has now been pushed out from the protection and food his family used to provide.
Photographer Larry Anthony Pannell, 64, watched him for hours saying he knew he was ‘witnessing something very special – the real nature both life and death’. The elderly lion was being chased by an elephant and appeared weak and starving.
Larry, from California, US, said:
‘Life can be very cruel and to be honest during my career I have seen people lose everything in landslides, earthquakes and fires.
I have photographed automobile accidents with grave injuries. ‘I do not think any photograph or photo sequence affected me as much as witnessing the death of the lion. ‘I sat with him only feet away, locking eyes and starting at one another as I watched for an hour as the life leave his body. I wanted him to know he would not die alone.
Not wanting to sound crass I remember when my grandmother was in the hospital and I visited her for the last time the night she passed. ‘We did not say a word, both of us just knew this was the end and we just stared at each other locking eyes. ‘This is the first time since then that I felt the same feeling – connecting with another being on a spiritual level, just knowing.’