Buzz off! Lions’ snooze
in the shade is ruined when they are attacked by a swarm of pesky bees (Photographer Andrew Forsyth)
This is the moment a sleepy pride of lions had their afternoon snooze in
the shade interrupted by a furious swarm of bees.
The lions struggled to defend themselves when the insects launched an
attack near a watering hole in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Despite their fierce reputation, the big cats were too slow to swat the
angry bees away and become increasingly frustrated in the 40C heat.
The African bee is known to be more aggressive than European honey bees and
while their sting is no more venomous, they usually attack in greater numbers
and target more frequently.
The pictures, captured by wildlife photographer Andrew Forsyth, 47, who
likened the scenes to a boxing match.
He said: ‘It was like watching a contest between a lightweight and
heavyweight boxer, with the lightweight just moving around scoring with little
jabs that slowly wore the opponent down.’
He said the Kalahari lions were relatively easy to spot with daytime
temperatures in excess of 40C.
'Lions spend much of their daytime sleeping so for wildlife photographers
most our time with lions is spent waiting for something interesting to happen.
The intervention of the bees provided some welcome entertainment, although the
lions weren’t amused.’
During the process of photographing the animals, Mr Forsyth himself was
stung by one of the bee.
Helen Anderson is a cataloguer for the
African rock art image project. Here she talks about some of her personal
‘I’ve been working on the African rock
art image project for two years. It has been a real privilege to study the rock
art of a continent from prehistory to the present and across a variety of
landscapes and regions.
‘For me, one of the most interesting
aspects of the project has been to think about rock art as part of the human
story. This was made very apparent last year when the Museum became home to a
colony of bees on the green roof of the new World Conservation and Exhibitions
Centre. Depictions of bees, their nests and the harvesting of honey can be
found at rock art sites across Africa, and shows that the human-bee
relationship is very likely to be several thousands, if not tens of thousands
of years old.
‘With the first representational art
dating back 30,000 years in Africa, the rock art that I am cataloguing and
researching is part of a much longer artistic tradition that resonates over
millennia. Engravings and paintings of animals such as crocodiles, hippos and
elephants in the Sahara are testament to an ancient watery environment. Cattle,
sheep and goats point towards the development of a farming economy, moving
herds from one fertile place to another.
‘Depictions of people engaged in activities
such as hairdressing, wedding preparations, fighting and dancing provide
insightful glimpses into the past lives of peoples who once inhabited this continent
and who made their marks in the landscape.’
Image captions from top:
Beekeepers from the Urban Bee Project on the roof of the WCEC building.
The flame throwers are legal due to the risk of africanized honey bees, which are a risk to humans unlike regular honey bees. Also because wasps, hornets, yellowjackets ect pose an existential threat to humanity. It's not for human on human combat fyi.
Still, there’s nothing stopping someone from defending what he/she loves with one!
Or pulling a Rorschach, depending on your stance in the political spectrum.
Me: [is talking to another counselor]
Camper: “Ooooooh! Shiiiip! I saw you talking to that giiiirl! You were flirting!”
Me: “I was just clarifying some
misconceptions about Africanized bees.”
Camper: “….so you were flirting?”
Me: “What? N— Yes. Girls love nothing more than sweet whispered nothings about killer bees. Try it.”