Photographer Has His Canon 5D Mark II Kidnapped and Killed by a Lion

Atlanta-based photographer Ed Hetherington makes a living photographing weddings, but earlier this month he traveled to Zimbabwe for a wildlife photography adventure. While there, he had a unique experience he won’t soon forget: a lion stole his camera.

Hetherington was shooting with a Canon 7D, 5D Mark II, a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, and a 16-35mm f/2.8L II. Wanting to photograph wild animals from an “on the ground perspective,” he also brought along a wireless remote and a small camera stand.

After successfully using the remote camera to photograph elephants and African wild dogs, he witnessed a lioness killing a buffalo a short distance away from his camp. When the lioness wandered off to a nearby stream for a drink, Hetherington decided to try and snag some up-close photos of the creature feeding on the carcass.

He quickly placed his 5D Mk II and wide-angle lens next to the carcass, retreated to a safe distance, and then waiting for the lioness to return:

Unfortunately for Hetherington, the lioness turned out to be more interested in gear than grub.

Here’s a sequence of photographs snapped by the remotely-triggered 5D that shows what unfolded from a first-person point-of-view:

You can almost see the gears turning in the lioness’ head. “What the heck… is this thing?! This wasn’t here when I left…”

She even managed to snap an artsy photograph of her own poop (we’re guessing this is the only photo of lion poop ever shot that was snapped by the pooper itself):

Hetherington was also snapping away from a distance through his 100-400mm lens. Here’s what the whole thing looked like from his perspective:

Sadly, the camera and the remote attachment didn’t survive the ordeal — both are broken and are scheduled for an appointment at the doctor’s office repair center. The 16-35mm lens was a little luckier: although the lioness popped off some plastic from the front and got the lens dirty, it still works and was used for the rest of Hetherington’s trip.

A Lion Steals My Camera [Ed Hetherington Photography via]

Image credits: Photographs by Ed Hetherington and used with permission

  • Jon Woodbury

    I’m guessing the image is cropped.

  • Hawkeye

    The lion is a predator. Naturally it is going to be curious about a foreign object left right next to the carcase. Good risk and publicity stunt for the photographer.

  • val escobar

    Don’t drag environmentalist into this. Otherwise I agree..

  • val escobar

    Great story and photos. Its so nice to see so many people with cameras have never had an idea go bad, after the fact. If the lioness hadn’t been attracted… no bashing.
    Good idea, though maybe less so….after the fact.

  • GS

    I REALLY hope yo had insurance to cover that….and that it covers this situation….

  • zamri mry

    5d mark II good image for shooting drama or tele movie….

  • quickpick

    sincere recommendation to mr. hetherington: stick to weddings

  • Pete

    Mind blowing.

  • Jade1

    For all those who thinks one brand or size of camera is better then the other i have news for you, its not the camera that takes good pictures but the photographer, who knows how to take a good photo whether hes professional or not

  • Jefferson L. Morriss

    I think the “killed” title is a little much. You can’t kill something that isn’t alive. How about “destroyed” or “broken”?

  • Ryan Villanueva

    I guess its pick what munches on your gear huh? How about Leica owners? :)

  • Bogy Registrar

    Serious hobbyists are serious about their hobbies. Who woulda thunk it?

  • Morgan

    I love how the lioness has just been eating out that bovine’s bloated, engorged ass and people are wringing their hands over a flimsy camera that’s softer than the bones she snaps apart with her teeth or the kicks she has to dodge from zebras on a regular basis. The pics are great.

  • thghost

    The lion noticed a new foreign object near its’ kill, DUH

  • Tom Teow

    Some photographers would even photograph owls with strobes and flash.No ethics, no morales.When do we give respect to privacy. Some photographers should be restricted to zoos only and no where else.

  • Tom Teow

    Posed photography for the sake of you tube alikes is tops now. If don’t succeed try try again, If the lion had injested the battery and glass from the lens, just a lion gets injured or dies…..zoo photographer of 2012 award.

  • David Wirtz

    It’s just a Canon… not a Nikon…

  • Matti Remonen

    Probably it just might have an insight that rocks are not edible. The camera looks, feels and smells quite differently. And there is no environmentalism here. If you think this kind of behaviour is ok, it is you right to think so. In my opinion it is just stupid (did I already say that?). I saw this kind of idiots enough in Kenya last summer.

  • WannaMontana

    Actually the camera is quite different. It has spent much of its time being “scented” buy use. This likely has something to do with the continued attention. I don’t know, but my guess is that it stood a greater chance of being ingested than some rock.

  • Alessandro Rossi

    Wooooow :O

  • David Haddad

    Great/happy/cute story. In other words, expect some miserable people with miserable lives to be commenting trying to spread their misery by complaining about a feel good story. “That stupid photographer, how dare he, that lion could have killed them self eating that camera”. Because as we all know, lions frequently kill themselves by eating cameras.

  • Pepperpotpics

    Stick to wedding pics mate! Animals, especially wild animals, are a different kettle of fish and mistakes can be expensive as these pics show. How many $’s per pic? Is it worth it?

  • Pepperpotpics

    I agree with you whole-heartedly mate! Too many stupids out there, try the dunces who get out of their cars in Kruger Park to get a close-up of a lion or elephant bull in Musth!

  • chiccosinalo

    I sent the lion. wow shots there, once in a life time shots.

  • ShootnHooton

    Had the photographer been paparazzi, this would be understandable, however no animals were harmed during the making of these pictures..

  • Paul McCarthy

    I dont think that was a wise move, time and money wasted.

  • Nancy Feipel Pochily

    She probably suspected it might be some kind of animal or bird trying to muscle in on her kill, so she decided to “dispatch” this intruder!

  • Chris

    Sure, the lion was appointed by Nikon…..

  • Darrin Diem

    The shot were worth it. Next time use a $50 camera or an underwater case.

  • Everett Engbers

    A Nikon D4 would have survived the ordeal.

  • amatuer photographer

    Smart Lioness! She knows that a Canon 5D II is worth more than the carcass :-p

  • Dianna Castonguay

    I agree

  • Leanne Martin

    Probably recognised the aroma of ‘long pig’ on the camera

  • zeboulon richard

    qui va toucher les droits d’auteur ?

  • Frazer Irwin

    Apart from a couple none of you looked at it from the Cat’s perspective. Scents! Man scent. One does wonder at the lack of understanding by travelers in game reserves. As we say in Yorkshire – more brass than sense – great pics otherwise.

  • Anthy Tees

    … because unlike the rock or log, the camera smelt of human.

  • Jeremy Branham

    The up close photos of the lion may be better than any other wildlife photographer could possibly take! Granted, those other photographers don’t have to buy a new camera either :)

  • Cindy Finch

    “CAT” caption: I TOLD you, What happens in Africa, STAYS in Africa!!! Great pictures!

  • john

    If it WERE

  • Who let the dogs out

    This is what happens when someone oversteps into wildlife’s space. Obviously the camera distracted the lion off its prey. Wedding photographer huh.

  • Who Let The Dogs Out

    Stupid lion or photographer?

  • Guest

    ‘than’ a Canon…

  • Stanley77

    She probably wanted a D800, camera envy…just sayin