Lioness Takes Control of Tourist's Camera, Snaps Selfie
Animals "taking selfies" by poking around near outdoor cameras is an adorable viral trend. But they usually don't take off with the camera. A female lion in Africa has gone viral after unwittingly taking video of herself running off with a tourist's selfie stick. Read on to find out how it went down, what happened to the camera, and what else is happening in viral animal photos.
The lioness in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve took her own selfie on video after running off with a tourist's camera attached to a stick. Clips show the big cat sniffing the camera, then grabbing the stick in her teeth and running away.
According to the New York Post, the footage was taken by Ahmed Galal, a tourist and wildlife photographer from the UAE. He said he attached the stick to his GoPro camera and left it out in the hope the lioness would pick it up.
"We noticed a lioness walking alone, and I wanted to see if she would check the camera out," sais Galal. "We placed a stick with a camera on top nearby her. The lioness sniffed the stick, took it, and ran off."
One complication: Galal hadn't bet on losing the pricey equipment. "I'll admit that I was worried about getting the camera back," he said.
Galal said that he and a companion actually dared to pursue the cat. "We managed to chase after the lioness, and she dropped the camera," he said. "Although it had a few scratches, the GoPro still functioned."
Animals unwittingly taking selfies with security cameras and other devices has become a very cute viral thing online (Reader's Digest UK recently rounded up some of the very most adorable), but experts warn against humans trying to include themselves in the frame with wild animals. That's recently led to some dangerous and even fatal encounters.
In May, footage went viral of a Yellowstone National Park tourist attempting to touch a wild bison—something visitors to the park are explicitly warned not to do. The animal charged the woman, whose companions are heard screaming on the video.
Earlier this spring, a video on the TouronsofYellowstone Instagram account showed a tourist getting within a foot of a resting bison to take a selfie. The action drew ire from animal lovers. "People should be arrested for this, ignorance like this is why people continue to get hurt," one commenter said.
In a June report, international wildlife charity Born Free warned that in tourist hotspots in countries including Mexico, Morocco, Barbados, and Thailand, residents are offering visitors the chance to take selfies with "sedated", "hostile," and "defenseless" exotic animals. They urged travelers not to participate in the practice.
And in August, the Times of India reported that a 27-year-old man was trampled by a wild elephant after trying to take a selfie with a pair of the animals he spotted near the Palacode reserve forest. E. Ramkumar, from Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, died from his injuries. "People should not unnecessarily provoke wild animals," said R. Krishnamoorthy, a local wildlife activist. "The case here of the young lad taking a selfie in front of two wild elephants is never acceptable. The elephant does not know whether the man was out to harm it or not, and naturally, its basic instinct will be to attack."