The Last Gaze: Capturing an Elderly Lion’s Final Moments

    A Heartbreaking Farewell to a Once-Mighty King


    “I sat just a few feet away from him, our eyes locked, as I watched life ebb away from his body for an hour. I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone,” recounts Larry Pannell, a 64-year-old photographer and acupuncturist. These heart-wrenching images chronicle the last instants of a lion, once a ruler of his domain, now frail and forsaken.

    Known as Skybed Scar, this lion was a familiar figure in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Once nurtured and shielded by his pride, he was now expelled and left to fend for himself in his final days.


    Larry Pannell, hailing from California, USA, captured these moving photographs. “I realized I was witnessing something truly extraordinary—nature in its most raw form, both life and death,” he said. In his career, Larry has seen people lose everything to natural disasters and has photographed fatal accidents, but nothing moved him as much as this experience.

    “I don’t think any image or series of images has ever affected me as deeply as watching this lion pass away,” Larry continued. “I sat with him, just a few feet away, our eyes locked, as I watched life leave his body. I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone.”

    Larry recalled a similar experience when he visited his grandmother for the last time before her passing. “We remained silent, locking eyes, knowing this was the end. This is the first time since then that I’ve felt the same sense of spiritual connection with another being.”