“The lion, more than any other creature, is our inspiration,” says wildlife documentary presenter Jonathan Scott, who along with his wife, award-winning photographer Angela Scott, has been documenting the lives of Africa’s big cats in Kenya’s Masai Mara for over 40 years.
"When we see a lion standing tall as the sun goes down, we are reminded that we once competed, side by side, for food in the same environment,” says Jonathan. “This is the real struggle for life and death, and lions represent the true warrior spirit. I think people instinctively react to this powerful connection to nature. This is the essence of Sacred Nature.”
Sacred Nature is an initiative that was founded in 2019 on the heels of the publication of Sacred Nature – Life’s Eternal Dance in 2016. Sacred Nature 2 – Reconnecting People to Our Planet is the couple’s latest book. As the title implies, the second volume highlights the world’s great wilderness areas and iconic animals through rich storytelling and breathtaking imagery. The book serves as a poignant reminder of the beauty and fragility of the Earth. Unsurprisingly, the lions, cheetahs and leopards that have played a key part in the lives of Jonathan and Angela Scott, aka “The Big Cat People,” play a prominent role in this book as well.
"Every pride of lions is based on a female lineage, a sisterhood. The lives of all lions are embedded in nature and they still live according to nature’s rules. That is their great lesson to share,” says Angela.
For the couple, there is a true urgency to their work. Climate change and biodiversity loss are threatening the world’s last wilderness areas like the Masai Mara, where the couple have worked for over 40 years.
“We need to remind people that we are killing the last lions. They want and need the same resources that we do but we are taking the last wild habitats for ourselves. The last wild places on earth,” says Jonathan. “It used to be that lions were the most widespread animals on earth after humans. They were in Africa, Asia, North America, Europe. Now there are just 20,000 of them left.”
The lion, which has been heavily mythologized throughout history, is now making its last stand. Through their imagery featuring lions, the couple hope to remind people of humanity’s connection to the big cats of Africa, but also to create stakeholders for the preservation of all the world’s wild places.
“One hopes that if you show people the majestic aura of lions and what they represent that people will realize: this is what we are losing,” says Jonathan. “Seeing our pictures hopefully creates a connection, even amongst people who may never see a lion for themselves in the wild.”
Angela and Jonathan Scott are passionate storytellers and photographers who help people to reconnect to nature and the world’s wild places. Their storytelling and photography, as featured in the long-running BBC documentary Big Cat Diary and, most recently, Big Cat Tales on Animal Planet, brought the drama of lions, cheetahs and leopards into millions of living rooms in Europe, the United States and beyond.