Picture of the Week 8 – An “Unhappy” Lady

[View all Pictures of the Week 2012]

Most of the time you see a picture of a lion with an open mouth the animal is either yawning or flehming. It may look threatening and intimidating but it really is neither.

The young lioness in this pictures shows that she is quite upset. She is growling  at two young males (one of them in the picture), which were part of a different pride, who walked quietly past her in a show of dominance.

This scene was part of an encounter of the juvenile offspring from two prides on Thanda Private Game Reserve (2 males and one female on both sides). This happened while the adult females of each pride were absent.

During the time we watched the encounter there were no open hostilities, just lots of territorial marking behavior, many growls and fierce facial expressions (as the one in the picture 🙂

But the next day the males of both prides showed obvious signs of a night battle (wounds from claws on his shoulder – see the picture below).

More about lions:

Both males and females defend the pride and its territory against intruders. The male(s) associated with the pride must defend their relationship to the pride from outside males who attempt to take over their relationship with the pride. Females form the stable social unit in a pride and do not tolerate outside females. Membership only changes with the births and deaths of lionesses, although some females do leave and become nomadic and/or form a new pride. Sub-adult males on the other hand, must leave the pride when they reach maturity at around 2–3 years of age.

Picture Data:

Picture 1: Camera: Canon 1Ds MIII / Lens: Canon L 4.0 500mm / Mode: AV / Shutter Speed: 1/500s / Aperture: f/4 / ISO: 400 / Exposure Correction +1eV / Metering: Central weighted / White balance: manual K6500 / Time: midday / Freehand

Picture 2: Camera: Canon 1D MIV / Lens: Canon L 3.5-5.6 28-300mm at 210mm / Mode: AV / Shutter Speed: 1/4000s / Aperture: f/5.6 / ISO: 1600 / Exposure Correction +0.5eV / Metering: Central weighted / White balance: manual K6500 / Time: mid morning / Freehand

For more Lion pictures got to
www.sperka.biz/lion (for African Lion)
www.sperka.biz/lion2 (for African Lion in zoos)
www.sperka.biz/lion3 (for Asiatic Lion)

5 Replies to “Picture of the Week 8 – An “Unhappy” Lady”

  1. Great shots, as always Christian. I am amazed that the second one was at 210mm. How close do these lions let you get to them? Even on the reserve, I assume they are plenty wary of humans, right?

    1. Thanks for the comment.
      As long as you are in a safari vehicle they do not really care too much about you. You can get fairly close, especially if they choose to come to you and stand/lay next to the vehicle.

  2. Hi Christian,

    Your pictures are always great no matter animals or scenes. They are alwas a “time out”.
    For the lions: I did not know they had spots.

    1. Thanks for your comment Karen.
      Lion cubs are born with spots. They loose them as they get older. The lioness in the picture is a juvenile only a bit more than a year old.

  3. Christian, More great pics Love it. In the first pic, her body language shows that she is also confindent. with her head in a straight forward position and her leg in the position that is alert and ready. She looks to me like she’s saying “don’t make me get up, you know I will”. The second pic he’s focused and looking very confindent. Thanks again for sharing your passion for your work and all of beauty of nature in it’s raw form. p.s. It’s snowing in Nash.Tn.

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