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

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    should’ve bought a Fatboy sound blimp to keep his camera safe/safer

  • Sam Donovan

    Stupid lion.

  • Pumba

    That lion has a totally mischievous look on her face in the last photo! Ha!

  • Zágros Os

    if he gave it to me .. i’ll bite the camera as much as he want! T_T

  • Guest

    So much emphasis on brand of camera and lenses along the article which makes me believe this story was a set up by Canon :-p

  • pakita_ko_sayo

    A Canon special moment?

  • LeJacobRoy

    I like the shots at ground lever, when the lioness is approaching :)

  • Photo tiger

    Canon = lion catnip.

  • Bruno Willian

    If it was an Olypus, he would have walked right through

  • Maria

    Or maybe just a way to show the value of the camera? A 550D with a kit 18-55mm lens wouldn’t get the same response…

  • Chad Matthew Moi

    If it was setup by Canon, the camera would have survived.

  • InTheMist

    That’s a lens to keep and use forever. What an icebreaker!

  • Chad Matthew Moi

    The third image from the 5D II is worth it.

  • Pantharen

    Canon = Cat fodder.. Thanks I’ll stick with Nikon, at least I know the cats wont be feeding on my camera tonight, and they take better pictures then a Canon hands down..

  • Mansgame

    A couple of years ago other guys did this with a remote control car and flash. I think theirs survived better until the lions got to it. Lions – jerks of the wild kingdom.

  • EDB Photography

    Canon, tastes better than nikon!

  • Jon Wood

    Who cares what kinda camera it was..Give me any kinda camera and I’ll have fun..:)

  • Matti Remonen

    Someone said: stupid lion. I would say that stupid photographer. The golden rule of nature photography and more so wild animal photography is: take only photos, leave nothing but footprints. What if the lion would have chocked on camera parts. Would the guy then rush the site and do Heimlich? This is stupid, stupid and stupid. Nothing else.

  • Dave

    Not to mention the toxicity of the electronics in the camera.

  • troyll

    Horizon not straight. l2shoot pics

  • tracy

    So sorry for the traumatic experience your camera endured! But those pictures are AMAZING!

  • Zta

    Hah =)

  • David Kapernick

    Jealousy personified lol

  • Felipe_Paredes

    no, is just stupid, like U LOL

  • Alexander Petricca

    I’d love to know how he got it back! The third “first person” shot is awesome :)

  • Stuart

    I blame the parents .Cubs have no pride !!!

  • Mark

    I’m not sure using the word “killed” is appropriate for a non living thing. It’s just a camera. Also, whatever happened to capturing the wild life without any disturbances? Camera guy totally deserves what he got.

  • Syuaip

    I’d use a Nikon

  • Kamo Photos

    “I said no photos!”

  • Glenn

    Complete clown, Shows his lack of bush craft skills. These are cats. Nothing to say you actually thought of their welfare either. Did a ‘What if” question not cross your mind? That alone should have stopped him. To add insult to injury, none of the images are worth it. Bad Publicity stunt.

  • mo

    the canon king

  • William MATAR

    Hehe nice… that series

  • Mike

    Let Nikon cameras take pictures till the end of time. The results are better with Canon photographers.

  • Tim

    Why oh why are you chops always fighting over Cannon Nikon. Just enjoy the pictures for once

  • Merv

    Wishful thinking mate.

  • frizztext

    the lion needs some lessons how to handle a camera – at least he is already very interested – that’s the chance to make him the first natural wildlife photographer!

  • mannybayani

    WOW! that’s really amazing, not to mention terrifying. Great job..

  • manwithacamera

    Nice photos. But he should have used like ‘spy cam’ of BBC. Epic fail :)))

  • Tasha Borden

    i dont think any of those shots were worth it.

  • dundalkman

    I like the lionesses editorial comment, framed by the Canon strap!!

  • dundalkman

    this about says it all…..five times!

  • Jonathan Maniago

    Seems like fellow Canon shooters tend to be a bit careless with their gear when shooting wildlife. First, there was the polar bear incident. Now, it’s a lioness. Who wants dibs on an encounter with a great white shark?

  • frizztext

    funny reportage!

  • Brett Martin

    What tripod is that?

  • Brett Martin

    Does anyone know what tripod that is in the pictures?

  • Vin Weathermon

    Funny to see all the negative comments; this is brilliant. He has captured everyone’s attention rather inexpensively….and got some great “product placement” shots. I’d be pleased if it were my camera :-)

  • Brett Martin

    Apparently its T-Pod

  • James

    Why would a lion be more likely to eat a camera than a rock or a log or a turtle or something equally small, mysterious, and chewable that already lived there? There’s no reason for the photographer to think that the lion would try to eat the camera. Ditch the needless self-righteous environmentalism.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Wait a minute…how come the perspectives are changing in a lens that is fixed to focus? the two trees are farther apart in the first few frames…then much closer in the latter ones….how is that possible unless there is remote zoom?

  • Jon Woodbury

    If it were a Canon M, the lioness would have just ignored it like everyone else.