Incredibly Rare White Lions With The Most Luxurious Manes Are Captured By A Wildlife Photographer [Interview]

To increase public awareness of threatened animals and to stimulate conservation activities. Simon Needham , a wildlife photographer located in Los Angeles, has created gorgeous photographs of many animals. During a recent visit to Glen Garriff Conservation in South Africa. He was able to go up close to some of the rare white lions and photograph their remarkable hue.

White lions, which are occasionally mistaken for albino lions are the result of a recessive genetic abnormality known as leucism. Both parents must have this recessive gene for a cub to be born with white fur. While white lions are endemic to South Africa, trophy hunting has reduced their numbers in the wild, therefore they are almost solely found in sanctuaries like GG which provide them with a huge and safe habitat. Needham paid a visit to the location to capture free promotional photographs of the lions that GG could use to promote their cause.

In our site exclusive interview with Needham, discover more about his time with GG Conservation.

Can you explain to us about your artistic background?

I studied graphic design in college before starting my firm (ATTIK) at the age of 18, which I built with my partner James Sommerville to a point where we had offices all over the world and employed 350 people. I was the group creative director, focusing on our company's creative side, which entailed directing many commercials for my clients as well as a few photo shoots, which I thoroughly liked. After 25 years, we sold the company, allowing me to devote my time to the things I was devoted to.

What sparked your interest in wildlife photography in particular?

I needed to do more traveling and photography, and I discovered that volunteering my time to humanitarian and conservation organizations would allow me to give back while also allowing me to visit and capture some truly interesting settings and topics.

You recently had the opportunity to shoot the lions at GG Conservation. Why did you decide to visit this particular location?

It was simply because I knew Suzy from GG and provided her my time to film content for her to use in promoting their vital cause.

What was your impression of the experience?

I've been there a few times and each time it improves. I'm also more comfortable working with the lions, who can be rather terrifying!!

Your white lion photos have gotten a lot of attention. What do you have to say about this unusual mutation?

Although there are several white lions at GG Conservation, white lions are uncommon in the wild. This is since their coloring is the product of a genetic mutation in which two copies of the gene must be present for the animal to have a white coat. Towny African lions are the white lions' classification (Panthera leo).

What was it like to witness a white lion?

Being close to any lion is incredible; their strength is tangible, but being near to one with a distinct white coat is even more amazing!!

Can you tell us a little about how GG Conservation is assisting these lions?

GG looks after approximately 77 lions who would not otherwise be with us. Their compassion for these creatures shines through, and they work tirelessly to ensure that they are both happy and healthy. However, they are having financial difficulties in a variety of ways including maintenance and vet fees!

What do you think the most important aspect of wildlife photography is?

I've only been capturing animals for almost three years, so I'm constantly learning, but one thing I've learned is that patience is required!

What are a few of the difficulties?

Finding wildlife is obviously one of the logistics, and getting to the point of really obtaining that spectacular photo typically takes a lot of effort and time. The other is determining the best location in terms of lighting and background. Then all you have to do is hope the animal does something fascinating!

Do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us?

In April or May, I plan to return to Africa to photograph some more sanctuaries (assuming the COVID issues are more under control).

Via: My Modern Met

Simon Needham: Website | Facebook | Instagram
Glen Garriff Conservation: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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