Playing pangolin

Lance van de Vyver's Image

Lance had been tracking the pride for several hours when they happened across this pangolin and started to ‘roll it around like a soccer ball’. Lance focused in on this young lion’s claws and the pangolin’s scratched scales, black-and-white simplified the composition. It would be 14 hours until the lions finally lost interest in the pangolin.

Curling into a ball, the pangolin’s armour plating creates an impregnable barrier. These unusual animals often escape unscathed from big cats, but this one, although not appearing to be injured, unfortunately died shortly after. Perhaps the stress and being in the heat all day were too much for this nocturnal creature.

Behind the lens

Lance van de Vyver

Lance van de Vyver

New Zealand / South Africa

Lance was born and raised in New Zealand, but his South African roots and passion for wildlife led him to move to South Africa to pursue his dream of becoming a photographic guide. Working as a field guide since 2013, he is getting closer to his goal of specialising in photographic safaris.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 5DS R
  • 500mm f4 lens
  • 1/1600 sec at f4
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

Wonder wall

Many of these stunning images are available as personalised prints for your home

Shop now

Discover more

A photo of two orphaned chimpanzes clutching the rescue owner

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: The Healing Touch

Community Care won the Photojournalist Story Award in the fifty-seventh Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The images document the efforts of the Lwiro Chimpanzee rescue centre and sanctuary, which rehabilitates orphaned chimpanzees.  

Read article

Sign up to our newsletter

Get email updates about Wildlife Photographer of the Year news, events, science, products and fundraising activities. You must be over the age of 13. Privacy notice.