A wildlife photographer in Africa is melting hearts online after sharing a photo of the adorable photo assistant he brought along on a recent outdoor adventure.
Djamel Hadj Aissa is an independent photojournalist and passionate wildlife photographer based in Ghardaïa, Algeria. He has thousands of followers on his Instagram account, where he shares beautiful images he has shot of wild animals ranging from snakes to birds to primates.
In February, Djamel saw one of his posts go viral, but it wasn’t a photo of an animal in the wild. Instead, it was a photo of himself next to the unusual companion he brought on the shoot: a lion cub.
The Epoch Times explains that Djamel is a member of a prominent family in Algeria that started the first private zoo in the North African country, and that the family currently owns six zoos in six different cities.
The lion cub he brought on his trip was one that had been born in his own backyard.
“As it was the first time for her, she sat on my chair and observed what I was doing,” Djamel told The Epoch Times. “My nephew Fayçal took the opportunity to take pictures and videos of us at this incredible moment. Seeing our position and us gazing together in the same direction, the public loved the photo.”
After sharing the photo on social media, Djamel received comments from skeptical people who accused him of somehow “fabricating” the image. In response, the photographer followed up the post with a video of himself next to his furry friend.
The photographer first became interested in photography as a teenager at age 15 when he was gifted a camera by his father’s pro photographer friend. Djamel then worked for decades as a press photographer before getting into wildlife photography in the mid-2010s and turning his attention to personal passion projects.
He’s now aiming to grow his career as a photographer, perhaps as a foreign correspondent for an international agency or media outlet, in order to fund his continuing love for wildlife photography.