Remembering Cecil the Lion

For the last decade, Brent Stapelkamp has been studying and photographing lions with Oxford University's Hwange Lion Research Project. The Zimbabwe group's work gained international attention after Cecil, a 13-year-old local favorite, was shot and killed by a Minnesota dentist last year. “Thousands of hours in the company of lions meant I got a unique perspective of their lives and the threats that they face,” Stapelkamp said. His images, which are currently on display at the Anastasia Gallery, are perhaps the best way to understand the world that Cecil inhabited. Within the 5,657-square-mile national park, the lions in Cecil’s pride can be found hunting, playing, and resting within close proximity to human visitors. It was this exposure to tourists, Stapelkamp said, that made Cecil vulnerable to the hunters who were waiting just beyond the railroad that serves as a border to the park. “He was the biggest on the block,” Stapelkamp said, “that gave him a real confidence that people found mesmerizing.” The final photo in this series was taken the last time Stapelkamp saw him, a little more than a month before Cecil was killed.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Andy Buchanan / AFP / Getty

    The Up Helly Aa Viking Fire Festival

    Images of the annual fire festival held in the Shetland Islands from the past 20 years.

  • Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty

    The Snow Monkeys of Nagano

    Images of Japanese macaques relaxing and staying warm in the waters of a mountain hot spring

  • Peter White / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Firefly Forest, Husky Club, Turnip Toss

    Frustration at the Australian Open, a light show in London, Republic Day parade rehearsals in India, snow cover in Yosemite Valley, anti-government protests in Peru, and much more

  • Yannick Gouguenheim / Ocean Art

    Winners of the 2022 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from the 14 categories of underwater photography in this year’s competition