Bob Junior, A Tribute to an Icon of the Serengeti

In the animal kingdom there are those that, just like in the human world, stand out for being exceptional. There are not many of them and I have for over three decades sought them out to create imagery that celebrates these icons of our natural world.

It is with a huge mix of emotions that I heard of the natural passing of one of Africa’s most famous lions, Bob Junior.

This truly magnificent lion held sway over his pride and kingdom for nearly a decade in one of the Serengeti’s most prized territories.

He was killed by three nomadic lions that passed through his kingdom on Saturday morning the 11th March.

As violent a death as this may have been, in a predator’s bloodied world it is one befitting of a warrior that himself ruled by fang and claw.

I have many memories of this most beautiful of great cats who was the Fabio of the lion world.  I can still see his huge dark mane garnishing his regal countenance that was complimented by his proud swagger as he walked towards me.  

On another memorable occasion, I can see him sitting a few yards away from me as fronds of grass moved in synchrony with the hairs of his huge groomed mane, each being in equal part caressed by the early morning breeze.

It was on this occasion, as the first kisses of early morning light greeted both king and new day, that I had the pleasure and privilege of creating the work that honors his name.  

These were the days when Bob Junior was in his prime, a powerful adversary, a sire to many cubs, and a ruler of the open plains of one of Africa’s most special places.

In a weeks’ time I will return to the spectacular Namiri Plains in the Serengeti and I will look out upon the endless grasses and granite koppies that have lost a king.

Here I will celebrate the fact that in a time of unprecedented human impact, his life, from birth to death, was natural.

For all those that saw him and all the guides of Namiri Plains, Asilia Africa, that cherished him, his roar will be eternal. 

Copyrighted by Chris Fallows @2020