Lion cub takes the cake at 2023 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards

lion cub tumbling from tree

Lion cubs are rarely anything less than adorable, but sometimes they can also be hilarious enough to win somebody a professional photo prize.

This was the case for American photographer Jennifer Hadley, who was named the overall winner of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and the winner in the competition’s “Land” category. Her photo, of a 3-month-old lion cub who took a hilariously photogenic tumble from a tree after one of his first-ever attempts at climbing, was named “Not so cat-like reflexes”.

According to her description of the photo:

“This 3-month-old cub and his sibling were in a tree. The other lionesses were in other trees and on the ground. He wanted to get down and walked all over the branches looking for the right spot and finally just went for it. It was probably his first time in a tree and his descent didn’t go so well. He was just fine though after landing on the ground. He got up and ran off with some other cubs.”

Another shot by Hadley, dubbed “Talk to the Fin” featuring a penguin snubbing a companion also won the People’s Choice gong at the award.

penguin raising wing to companion

© Jennifer Handley, Comedy Wildlife 2022

As Hadley explains about the power of luck for her prize-winning photos, “I think part of what makes this contest great is that most of these photos probably happen by complete accident and that was certainly the case with the lion cub falling out of the tree,”

She added that nobody in her safari vehicle foresaw the scene she managed to capture,

No one expected this to happen and of course we were concerned for his safety but happily as cats do, he righted himself just in time and landed on all fours and ran off with his siblings,”

Hadley was double-lucky indeed: the Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards can become fiercely competitive, with judges at this year’s event sorting through roughly 5000 photos by photographers from 85 countries.

And Jennifer Hadley’s prize for her winning selections? She was given a handmade trophy and a paid one-week Masai Mara safari trip, presumably to try her luck again at catching other remarkable (and possibly cute) animal photos.

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