Mane attraction: camera-stealing lioness caught on video — lick that!

2011-05-31 00:00

A VIDEO of a camera-pinching lioness recorded by a Howick man, is proving to a big hit on social networks like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

By yesterday afternoon the footage had 210 921 hits on YouTube. It has already been broadcast on international networks like the ABC’s Good Morning America and Animal Planet and has been published in the London Telegraph and Huffington Post, to name a few.

The video is the work of Roger de la Harpe, owner of Africa Imagery and former photographer for Wildlife magazine. De la Harpe and his wife Pat were busy shooting for their latest book on lions, which will highlight the dwindling African lion population.

De la Harpe said they were driving down the fence line of the Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve when they noticed three lionesses coming towards them.

“We didn’t have any real still images, so I attached my G-Pro action camera, which cost R3 500, on a stand and placed it on the ground in the line of the oncoming lions, expecting to get some nice wide-angle shots of the lions walking past.”

De la Harpe said they retreated a little in their Land Rover, waiting for the lionesses to approach. But to their amazement the first lioness took a liking to the camera.

“She walked up to my little HD video camera about the size of two match boxes, knocked it on its back, licked it and then walked off with it into the bush. We were stunned. I thought, ‘My camera!’.”

The De la Harpes, with production secretary Sarah Caithness, managed to follow the lioness, trying to keep out of the way of the other two.

“She dropped it and licked it a couple of times and then she and her partners in crime walked off in their search for prey. We got in as close as we could to where we though she had left the camera.

“Pat and Sarah kept an eye out for the nearby lions while I thrashed around in the long grass searching for it. It took a while, but there it was, completely intact and covered in lion saliva.”

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