These heart-breaking images show the final days of a frail old lion who was once king of his land.
He’s been kicked out of his pride and is now emaciated after the protection and food that his family used to provide was stripped away.
The lion, known as Skybed Scar, is well known in Kruger National Park, South Africa, where he was pictured.
Final days: The once mighty beast looked down to the ground as he lived out his final days in the Kruger National Park
Painful to watch: The frail old animal appeared to be in agony as it languished in the grass
Stripped of his strength: The lion, known as Skybed Scar, was kicked out of the pride he once ruled and his bones are now clearly visible
Starving to death: The pictures of the once mighty lion were taken by a visitor to the Kruger National Park, in South Africa
The heart-breaking images were captured by Larry Anthony Pannell, 64, from California.
He said: ‘I knew that I was witnessing something very special nature, the real nature both life and death.
‘Life can be very cruel and to be honest during my career I have seen people lose everything in landslides, earthquakes and fires. I have photographed automobile accidents with grave injuries.
‘I do not think any photograph or photo sequence affected me as much as witnessing the death of the lion.
Move out my way: A large elephant brazenly approached the frail lion in the park as it crouched on the floor
I’m stronger than you: The King of the Beasts lets out a half roar of defiance but was in no condition to stand up to the elephant
Get out of here! Skybed Scar is forced to beat a hasty retreat in the face of the advancing elephant
Humbled: Male lions’ role in the pride is to defend it from attacks but when a successful challenger take over, the defeated male is forced out
‘I sat with him only feet away, locking eyes and starting at one another as I watched for an hour as the life leave his body. I wanted him to know he would not die alone.
‘Not wanting to sound crass I remember when my grandmother was in the hospital and I visited her for the last time the night she passed.
‘We did not say a word, both of us just knew this was the end and we just stared at each other locking eyes.
‘This is the first time since then that I felt the same feeling – connecting with another being on a spiritual level, just knowing.’
Male lions frequently leave the pride after losing out in a fight to a challenger,
Fights to the death occur occasionally, and many a male in his prime has fallen acquiring or defending a pride.
Surviving losers often become nomads, and have to fend for themselves so lose weight, and scavenge more than they hunt as they grow older.