February 22, 2024

World Lion Day in Celebration of a languid, lithe and lovely beast.

“Shumba” by Lin Barrie, acrylic on stretched canvas, 92 x 92 cm

Musings on the languid, lithe and lovely beast that we call ‘Lion’ …

Panthera leo, creature of fable and bible, myth and immediate powerful reality.

My immediate and powerful reality.

Here below is my sketch in honour of the great artist Rembrandt, who acutely and empathetically observed and sketched lions in captivity:

Recumbent Lion, Ode To Rembrandt, acrylic on canvas, by Lin Barrie

I live with lions, have tracked lions, been growled at by unseen lions, sketched and painted many lions. Their powerful presence is part of my psyche, part of the ‘wild’ in me that celebrates every moment of being a part of the great web of bio-diversity that surrounds us.

Here is a gorgeous male, one of two we spent hours with in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park….

Kgalagadi Lion – photograph by Lin Barrie

Lions..constant inspiration and fascinating in their social family ties…

They hunt warthogs below our Senuko bush house, Tsavene, in broad daylight and their reverberating roars punctuate our sleep on most nights.

They impact fiercely on my beloved African wild dog packs, killing adults and pups when they can. And yet I have to accept that this is the way of the wild, the beast with the velvet glove….

Their footprints mingle with ours on walks and safari drives in the Gonarezhou, after nights spent tucked snugly listening to them, safe in the Mahove Tented Camp run by Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge.

And if we are lucky, we spot them in dense cover, peering at us….

Lion in Gonarezhou , photograph by Clive Stockil

Sometimes at dinner on the high deck of Chilo Gorge Lodge, overlooking the Save River, the roars of lions and yodels of hyenas on the opposite river bank nearly drown out the guests awed conversation!

How lucky am I… living in the wilderness areas of Gonarezhou and Save Valley Conservancy in South Eastern Zimbabwe

Let your mind go- Do yourself a favor and read The Rise of The Vaesons – an African Fantasy/eco-tale by Zimbabwean author P.J.Odendaal, featuring Lions, Wild dogs, and a host of fantastic African creatures..

In celebration of World Lion Day on August 10th, Panthera are proud to share the story of the lion ‘Shy’ and his quest for a safe and lasting home in the vast landscape of Kafue National Park, Zambia. Panthera, Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Willdife and the Zambian Carnivore Program, together with partners, are transforming this park into a stronghold for lions like Shy along with leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs.

Panthera Lion Program Director Paul Funston recommends the new book “The Last Lions of Africa” by Anthony Ham. He says, “With the world’s attention on the upcoming #WorldLionDay August 10, this timely book examines the main challenges and threats to #lion populations through the lens of stories from different parts of the lion’s range. It was my privilege to help the author with some of the research and it is my honor to have this photograph of the magnificent Humba that I took in Hwange selected for the cover. The answers to the threats lion face are diverse and a key thought process deeply engaged in this excellent new narrative.”

The book includes in-depth and previously unpublished information from places like #HwangeNationalPark and includes updates on the descendants of the famous Cecil. For more information: https://bit.ly/2PmFr11

The Kgalagadi lions are legendary, photograph by Lin Barrie

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