Vicki Santello

Camera: Canon R5

Lens: RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1

Aperture: f/5.0

Shutter speed: 1/1000

ISO: 2500

Description: An alpha male lion allows his offspring to rough house all over him, even waking Dad from a sleep. Alpha males typically don't interact with their cubs. They usually often snarl or abruptly move off.

Story from behind the lens: I felt so fortunate to witness this unusual interaction between a young cub and his/her father. The cub was clamoring all over his Dad even chewing his mane and ears. The male patiently tolerated his cub's in-your-face play attack which eventually woke him from a deep sleep. Instead of snarling as one might normally see or abruptly moving off, Dad took his giant paws and tenderly pushed his offspring away. The unique moment showed exceptional tenderness as well as providing a sense-of- scale. The Alpha Male's paws were larger than his cub's entire head! I got the image from a doors-of safari vehicle.