THESE powerful images taken by photographer George Logan show why the African lion (Panthera leo) is seen as a symbol of courage and majesty. But the evocative photos, which are a mixture of unedited and conceptual shots, also highlight the plight of these iconic big cats as they face extinction at the hands of humans.
The photos come from Logan’s latest book, Lion: Pride Before the Fall, made in collaboration with the Born Free Foundation, a UK-based international wildlife charity.
Once common throughout the continent, African lions are now extinct in 26 countries and cover a mere 6 per cent of their previous range. The population has been slashed to fewer than 20,000 individuals, mainly due to hunting and increased livestock farming and agriculture across Africa. “They are on course to be extinct in the wild by 2050,” says Logan.
The main image, entitled Everything the Light Touches Used to be Our Kingdom, is a nod to the Disney film The Lion King. This composite shot of an encroaching skyline reveals the extent to which humans have invaded the African lion’s habitat and range.
Other images from the book show: a male lion as it charges through the grass; a lion in captivity, with tally marks edited onto the enclosure’s walls; cubs playing, which is critical for sharpening their survival and hunting skills; a photoshopped lion with wings, suggesting the endangered animal could disappear into myth; and a lioness carrying her cub.
Lion: Pride Before the Fall is available to buy on the Born Free website, with proceeds going towards lion conservation.
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