Paul’s heart raced excitedly as he found himself amid this incredible spectacle. Only a few centimeters away, the majestic lioness came close and looked at him with piercing amber eyes. How is this possible!!! 

A tidal wave of excitement swept over him as he caught himself in his carelessness. How could he have missed such a thing? All his attention was on the group of zebras. He was so absorbed in taking pictures that he didn’t notice the lioness sneaking up on him from behind. His heart beat faster when he felt her breath, and he realized that the next few seconds mattered. 

The light pressure of her paw on his shoulder caused Paul to shift his attention abruptly from the zebras to the lioness. Goosebumps ran down his skin; a cold sweat broke out on his forehead. He held his breath, his body tensing as he turned to face the unexpected visitor. His eyes widened in shock as he stared into the eyes of the formidable lioness, whose muzzle was frighteningly close to his face. In any case, Paul knew he couldn’t turn away from her, even if he could. 

Wildlife photographer Paul Dean lurked in the bushes, his camera lens pointed at a group of peacefully grazing zebras in the distance. He held his breath, his heart pounding with anticipation for the perfect shot. Although he was aware of the unpredictability of wildlife, he needed to prepare for the fantastic event to come. 

The atmosphere in the park seemed to become tense and heavy as if the air itself was filled with anticipation. Paul made his way deeper and deeper into the savannah, his camera ready for anything that might happen. 

Concentrating, he lay watching a herd of zebras grazing in the distance. But then something abruptly changed. The zebras scattered and disappeared.  

Suddenly a light touch on Paul’s shoulder caught his attention. 

Slowly and cautiously, he turned his head to meet his gaze with the unexpected visitor. His eyes widened in shock as he gazed into the face of the lone lioness.  

When Paul finally found the courage to look into the lion’s eyes, he immediately knew something was wrong. 

The lion’s eyes met Paul’s, and he saw a desperate plea for help in the animal’s gaze—something needed to be fixed. 

When he examined the lion more closely, Paul could not believe what he saw. This was no ordinary lion. His eyes widened in shock as he looked at the unnaturally swollen lion. 

The distraught animal was breathing heavily as if something terrible had made it so big that its body could no longer take it. It seemed as if the lion’s massive body was about to burst. Paul realized that it was a matter of life and death.

At that moment, Paul realized that the lioness meant him no harm but desperately needed help.  Her heavy breathing and the desperate look in her eyes were unmistakable signs of her distress. 

Paul’s adrenaline spiked, and his heart raced as he realized the enormity of the situation.  He realized that rescuing the lioness would be his career’s most challenging and dangerous job.  

With unwavering determination, Paul took a deep breath, put the camera aside, and prepared to do whatever it took.  

Full of adrenaline and driven by a deep sense of compassion, Paul decided to act.  He was overwhelmed and knew he could not handle this situation alone.  

He decided to call one of the veterinarians he knew who could help the lion.  

As he waited for the vet to arrive, Paul couldn’t shake the nagging suspicion that the lion’s predicament was connected to something more significant, something sinister lurking inside the animal. 

In his five years at Kafue National Park, Paul had had countless encounters with wild animals, but never anything like this.  

Although this situation was highly unusual, it was not the first time Paul had set aside all business to help a needy animal.  While waiting for Dr. Ndabu, he recalled how he rescued a stranded zebra. 

On one of his regular photo excursions, he encountered a zebra stuck in a deep hole in the ground.  Paul worked tirelessly for hours to get the terrified animal out of there.  As he watched the desperate lion, he was comforted by the memory of that rescue.  

The lioness was breathing heavily, and Paul could see that she was getting weaker and weaker.  Many lions were in the national park, but none had ever been this big. 

It was unnatural that lions could grow so big, mainly when they roamed all day for food to survive.  

After an eternity, Dr. Ndaba finally came to see them.  He was as amazed as Paul was.  An encounter with a lion in this part of the park was already unusual, for this was not the territory of a known pride.  Dr. Ndaba could hardly believe that a lone lioness had approached Paul. 

What struck the veterinarian most was the sheer size of the lioness. 

When Paul saw the concern on the vet’s face, he knew something was wrong.  He still needs to realize the extent of the problem. 

Dr. Ndaba decided to put the lion to sleep first.  Then they took the animal to a nearby clinic, hoping to discover the truth about the lion’s strange condition.  

Paul was not allowed into the operating room, so he walked around the waiting area.  

His intense love of animals made the wait seem endless, and the tension in the air was palpable and sent shivers down his spine.  Finally, the door to the operating room opened, and Dr. Ndaba emerged with an incredulous expression on his face. 

“I can’t believe it!” – exclaimed the vet, looking shocked.  Paul could hardly suppress his anxiety and curiosity, approaching the vet and looking for answers.  

Paul prepared to inundate him with questions, but before he could utter a word, Dr. Ndaba hurriedly said, “Excuse me, I have to hurry.  Wait a little while.” Then he walked away, leaving Paul confused.  What on earth had happened? 

Paul headed after the vet, barely keeping up with his stride.  When they reached the phones, the vet stopped and immediately dialed a number.  Paul realized it was the police. 

The vet had discovered something profound that required immediate notification to the authorities. 

The vet was on the phone for five minutes.  Paul tried to catch the meaning of the conversation but understood only fragments.  

When the vet finally hung up, Paul flooded him with questions.  What was going on?  Why did the police need to be notified?  Was everything okay with the lion? 

Finally, the vet took the time to answer Paul’s questions.  He discovered something inside the lion – something completely shocking.

Dr. Ndaba apologized for waiting for Paul to explain and stressed that going to the police was necessary. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, he finally revealed the problem that plagued the obese lion. Do people exist who are capable of such monstrous acts? Paul became enraged. Occasionally, he encountered poachers, greedy people who ruthlessly hunted the park’s valuable wildlife. Their ultimate goal was to sell various animal parts for large sums of money, disregarding the devastating effects of their actions on the ecosystem. 

During the operation, the veterinarian made a shocking discovery: a tracking device was found in the lion’s stomach. The poachers had been tracking the lion’s movements and were waiting for the right opportunity to strike. This discovery indicated that the poachers were using high-tech devices to increase efficiency and avoid detection, making their illegal activities even more insidious.

The use of such advanced technology not only demonstrated the poachers’ determination and underscored the growing difficulties park rangers face in their efforts to protect endangered wildlife. However, installing the tracking device inside the lion did not go as planned….. 

The lion’s body tried to reject the foreign body, resulting in a severe infection and swollen stomach. The lion was very lucky to have been discovered by Paul, as his condition was catastrophic, and his chances of survival rapidly diminished. The infection had taken its toll on the animal, leaving it alarmingly bloated and visibly upset. 

This discovery illuminated why the lion wandered so far from its pride. 

The veterinarian determined that the lion most likely ate meat containing a tracking device that the poachers had intentionally discarded.  

Fortunately, the veterinarian removed the tracking device from the lion’s stomach and administered appropriate antibiotics. The lion was expected to recover with plenty of rest and time entirely. It seemed that the lion would recover no matter what. 

Meanwhile, the situation for the poachers had deteriorated dramatically. They did not yet know that their careless actions had set a chain of events that would eventually lead to their deaths. 

When the police arrived, Dr. Ndaba led them – including Paul – to a safe room in the clinic. The vet placed a small metal object in the center when everyone was seated. It was a tracking device that he had removed from the lion’s stomach.  

The detective examined the device closely and frowned anxiously. “This is the latest technology,” he said. “It looks like the poachers used it to track the lion’s movements and were waiting for the right moment to strike.  

What these miscreants don’t know is that these devices also work in reverse,” the police officer continued. That means they can track down and arrest the poachers. They were preparing for an operation to apprehend those responsible for the horrible act on the unfortunate lion. 

It wasn’t long before they traced the signal from the homing transmitter to the poachers’ hideout.  

As the team approached the poachers’ refuge, they discreetly surrounded it and waited for the detective’s signal to intervene. 

When the signal came, they burst through the door and took the poachers by surprise. A fierce fight ensued, which the authorities won in the end. They succeeded in arresting ten poachers in their hideout and discovering a large stock of illegal animal products. 

Without the GPS transmitter, they would not have been able to hit this illegal operation so hard.  

The police decided to thank photographer Paul and give him a medal for his services. Thanks to the photographer’s vigilant intervention, the park was safe again. They apprehended a group of criminals and managed to save the lion, which fully recovered and was eventually reunited with its family.  

In the following days, the story of the lion and the gang of poachers made many headlines. Paul’s photos and eyewitness accounts brought attention to the ongoing problem of poaching and led to a surge of support for conservation.

In the meantime, the lion is still alive, and you can see it if you visit Kafue National Park in Zambia. After the lion fully recovered and was released back into the wild, the park honored him for his courage and commitment to the natural beauty and wildlife of the park.