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Lion © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Hyena © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

Under the inky cloak of night, the lions and lionesses of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, or KAZA, roam free across 109 million acres, evading the curious eyes of mankind. These noble carnivores are timid and fleeting, having only been captured in cloudy, infrared research pictures as they stride the vast expanse. Until now.

UK-based wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund and Lise Hanssen, founder of the Kwando Carnivore Project, to record for the first time in DSLR images the secret activities of Namibia’s untamed creatures.

For the first two weeks of his time in the Zambezi region, Burrard-Lucas witnessed not a wild soul; it was only after setting up remotely operated, motion-triggered cameras and flash systems that he was at long last able to meet the animals who had eluded him.

The photographer spent three months in the area, finding each day new images taken during the night. Before his eyes, elephants, bush pigs, and giraffes sprung to life, caught entirely unawares. The camera traps he constructed interfered not one bit with the daily and nightly movements of the animals, allowing them to go about their business without fright or interruption.

Hanssen has devoted her life’s work to tracking and protecting the carnivores of the area; she works closely with governmental bodies and local organizations to protect and ensure goodwill between the ancient creates and the humans who have settled nearby. The KAZA is immensely vulnerable to human forces. Plans for a tobacco plantain threatens to raze dozens of acres to the ground.

As mankind encroaches on this rare and hallowed land, spanning the countries of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, WWF and Burrard-Lucas give its venerable inhabitants a voice.

Over the course of several months, lions, the most fleeting of all the residents, only passed Burrard-Lucas’s cameras on two occasions. Hanssen has never seen one in person. These beguiling, fugitive animals have thus far escaped our grasp, but through Burrard-Lucas’s lens, they leave their indelible mark.

Learn more about WWF and how you can help here.

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Elands and giraffes © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Eland and giraffes © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Elephant © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Giraffe © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Porcupine © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Leopard © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Bush Pigs © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Wildebeest © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Leopard © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Serval © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Elephants © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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Wild dog © Will Burrard-Lucas/WWF-US

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