Project Portrait: Day 67
Day 67 of Project Portrait. This is the last in my series in Gambia, and it’s a photo I never thought I’d be able to take. This is Assan the 18-month-year-old male lion. This was taken at the Fathala nature reserve in Senegal on a very hot and sunny day. Assad was one of five lions that take part in something called a lion walk in which members of the public can spend 45 minutes in the company of two adolescent lions. No collars, fences, just a carved wooden stick and a healthy sense of paranoia. Lions aren’t native to Senegal and these five were brought in from the Kalahari. While we were under the impression they were trying to start a colony in Senegal it turns out that these had been reared by humans and as such wouldn’t survive in the wild. But, in light of it being basically a tourist attraction it was incredible to be as close to something as powerful and dominant as a lion. They say you should never look directly into a lion’s eyes as they’re very good at reading fear – and acting upon it – so Assan is just looking into the lens while I tried to look as calm as possible (difficult, very difficult). I’m still amazed at just how this picture came out.