A couple of months ago, photographer Barbara Jensen Vorster was at the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana when her DSLR was stolen by a… cat burglar.
Taking photos of a pride of lions from her 4×4, Vorster accidentally dropped her camera kit – worth over US$2,000 (AUS$2,800) – on the ground. The sound made a loud thud, causing a nearby lioness to investigate.
Using a spare camera, the photographer was able to document the animal taking away the device in her mouth and presenting it to her cubs as a toy.
“[The lioness] carried it for quite some way before she dropped it and the cubs pounced on it and started to play with it,” said Vorster. “They dragged it through the dirt, chewed on the lens hood and then fortunately, like most kids, soon grew tired with their new toy.”
After the pride left, Vorster retrieved her camera and found that it was still working – save for a few bite marks.
“There are two huge teeth marks on the rubber focus rings of the lens and small teeth marks on the plastic lens hood, both of which I decided not to replace.”
It cost her about US$260 (AUS$365) to have the DSLR fixed, but it was a small price to pay for a “priceless experience.”
She added: “What photographer can boast that their lens had been in a lion’s mouth?”