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Africa's Gold - a celebration of lions throughout history


In the next few pages, we'll take a closer look at how lions have been depicted in different cultures and religions - and how, historically, that has led to their gradual decline in numbers. At the same time, wildlife photographer Bjorn Persson will showcase some of his best lion pictures that celebrate this magnificent and majestic species. These pictures took years of travel (and a lot of passion) to capture – with the intention of capturing the soul and beauty of this feared and beloved king of the wild.


We often see them on the shields of European armies, as monuments outside official government buildings or on various flags and coat of arms around the world. Throughout history, lions have been a symbol of strength, power and pride. However, our admiration has also become the reason for their slow demise. They have been slaughtered in ancient rituals of bravery, as hunting trophies – and, as has been the unfortunate case for many different great African species, for their perceived medicinal and magical powers.


Only a few hundreds years ago, there were wild lions roaming the fields of southern Europe. Today, the number of lions in the wild is steadily decreasing. In just two decades, Africa’s entire lion population has decreased by 42%; there are now estimated to be fewer then 30,000 lions left in the wild.


Oscar Wilde once said that we always destroy what we love the most. When it comes lions, that is unfortunately seeming to hold true - but the power lies in our hands to save them.


Navigation: click on the 'Next' or 'Back' buttons above each image to view Bjorn's amazing visual celebration of lions.