Panthera leo African Lions

The African lion, an iconic beast representing the untamed, the majestic and the top of the food chain. And today, in honor of World Lion Day, I share with you some of my favorite images of these icons photographed in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya.

KENYA

A lioness rests on the shore of the Uaso Nyiro River in Samburu National Park, Kenya
Black-maned lion in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
Black-maned lion rests on the plains of the Maasai Mara, Kenya
A lioness in the Maasai Mara pants as she lays next to her recent zebra kill. She will most likely bring her pride back to this site to feast later in the day.

SOUTH AFRICA

In South Africa, the Eyerfield Pride has been tracked in the MalaMala Private Game Reserve since the 1980's providing crucial long-term data on lion population and territory migration to aid in conservation efforts.

Well camouflaged in the yellow grass, this lioness sits up to stretch. MalaMala Private Game Reserve, South Africa
A juvenile male of the resident Eyerfield Pride, feasts on the pride's overnight buffalo kill. MalaMala Private Game Reserve, South Africa.
A lioness of the Eyerfield Pride rests and is easily camouflaged by the banks of the Sand River in MalaMala Private Game Reserve, South Africa.
After feasting on the buffalo carcass and with a full belly, a juvenile male drinks from the Sand River, MalaMala Private Game Reserve, South Africa

BOTSWANA

Tracking a juvenile male through the waters of the Okavango Delta.

Lions of the Okavango Delta in Botswana have developed specific adaptations to accommodate living in an aquatic environment. They have broader chest plates and strong chest muscles needed to power through and traverse the deep waters, and have subsequently adapted swimming skills in order to survive fluctuations in the flooded plains.

A lone, juvenile male briefly looks back as it pursues and tracks a buffalo heard, in hopes of making a kill.
Traversing the waters of the Okavango Delta.
With long and purposeful strides, this lion is on a mission.

The Okavango Delta was recently named the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Intently watching a herd of buffalo.
Realizing a moment of opportunity, this juvenile takes off in a sprint towards a buffalo herd.
Lowering its body into stalking mode from the top of a berm so as not to be seen by the buffalo herd. Notice the strong shoulder and back muscles flexed as it is poised and positioned for an explosive attack.
Realizing the herd has moved too far, the lion utilizes his vantage point to determine his next move.
Taking a break, the lion rests next to a large termite mound, also providing the perfect opportunity for game drives to give guests an up-close and personal view of this beautiful animal.
And thus ends an unsuccessful hunt.
Perfecting the stare-down, it's hard not to feel they are looking into your soul.
This lion lets out a big yawn as he rests in Moremi National Park.

To learn more about African lions, check out the Big Cat Initiative started by Derek and Beverly Joubert and in conjunction with National Geographic.

To see more of Yasmin's work, please visit YasminTajik.com. (All photos and video are copyrighted by Yasmin Tajik).

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Yasmin Tajik
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All photos and video copyrighted by Yasmin Tajik/Shalimar Studios.

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