Photographs show how one of Kruger’s most famous lions spent his last days before death old and sick. The lion, known as Skybed Scar, used to lead a pride but had been pushed out from the protection and food his family used to provide.
Photographer Larry Anthony Pannell, 64, watched him for hours before he died, saying he knew he was ‘witnessing something very special – the real nature both life and death’. Once an apex predator, the elderly lion was being chased by an elephant and appeared weak and starving.
Larry describes how he watched the lion take his last drink from a watering hole before the lion staggered away, just ‘skin and bones’. He walked as if drunk, Larry says, trying to catch his breath every few steps, before finally collapsing to the ground. Larry stayed with the lion as he took his last breath. ‘I just wanted him to know that he would not die alone,’ he said. ‘Then, as last twitch of an hear, his last breath, he was gone. The King was dead.’