Stunning close-up footage shows lion growling and baring its teeth
12th December 2018

Roar power: Cameraman doesn’t flinch as lion growls and bares its teeth at him in stunning close-up footage

  • Photographer Pat Shannon stood his ground as the lion went to defend its mate
  • He filmed the incredible slow-motion footage from behind a sanctuary barrier
  • The male lion, TJ, was protecting his mate Ruby at a wildlife site in South Africa 

This incredible close-up footage shows a lion roaring and baring its teeth just inches away from a photographer who refused to flinch.

The close encounter was captured in slow motion from behind a sanctuary fence, as the protective lion sprung into action to protect its mate.

In the slow-motion clip captured at the GG Conservation reserve, male lion TJ tries to defend his lifelong mate Ruby by growling at the cameraman’s iPhone.

Photographer Pat Shannon, 74, did not jump or drop the camera as he filmed the remarkable scene at the wildlife site in Harrismith, South Africa.  

The 13-year-old lions were rescued from the canned hunting industry – areas where the animals cannot escape and people pay to hunt and kill lions as trophies. 

Conservation director Suzanne Scott, from Leeds, Yorkshire, said the two old lions had ‘been together all their lives’. 

The 50-year-old said: ‘They are on contraception, but when Ruby came into heat it drove TJ wild.


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‘During this time the male becomes very protective of his female and doesn’t want anyone else near her, which is why he was acting aggressively at the fence-line.

‘It gave us a reminder of the power and aggression lions are capable of.

‘Others on social media, could not believe Pat didn’t flinch whilst filming as they would have run for the hills to be in close presence of such fury.

‘The videographer was Pat Shannon, the owner and founder of GG, and he was at the fence with an iPhone, so no big zoom camera, and the lion was inches away.


The close-up footage shows the male lion growling and baring its teeth as it moves to defend its mate, in a slow-motion video captured at a wildlife reserve in South Africa

Pat Shannon, left, with a GG Conservation worker next to a sanctuary fence of the type he was standing behind when he took the stunning footage of the lion 

‘It takes nerves of steel to not drop the phone in this instance because in these moments of high-volume aggression, it’s easy to forget the fence is there.

‘It’s a natural human instinct to panic, however, having the fence there helps and we are more used to it than the average person.’

GG Conservation are a non-profit lion sanctuary that aim to protect, preserve and show love to the lions within their care. 

The non-profit is desperately trying to raise funds to meet to costs of running the sanctuary and keep lions safe.

Currently they have 77 lions, both white and tawny, living as part of multiple prides in separate camps.

As well as providing guided tours, GG Conservation are also renting out a property within the sanctuary to allow visitors to view their ‘majestic lions’. 

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