How a love for big cats and the ‘myth’ of the leopard sparked this wildlife photographer’s career

Ann Wulff travelled to Africa to photograph the wild lions, leopards and elephants that inspired her life’s work

How a love for big cats and the ‘myth’ of the leopard sparked this wildlife photographer’s career

A world-renowned wildlife photographer fell for big cats as a child. That love inspired her to go on to photograph animals around the world – and where they came from in particular.

Ann Wulff grew up in Germany during the 1960s, in the shadow of the Falklands war. Her father, Werner Hine, was an aerial photographer working for air force and government aerial imagery.

But as a budding ballerina in the company of Pina Bausch, Ann’s passion was big cats, not aerial photography. “My fascination was with big cats, lions and leopards,” she says.

Meanwhile, her parents shared her love. The stress of teaching them more than 100 students at the same time got Ann’s mother, Hansa, thinking about her photography hobby. She invited her son to a conference and introduced him to animal behaviourists who advised Ann on how to make her new hobby better suited to her parents’ work. “I wanted to get their (dad and mom’s) advice,” she says.

Ann and her mother with one of the big cats she photographed as a child. Photograph: Ann Wulff

The big cats that inspired Ann’s life’s work. Photograph: Ann Wulff

“Later, at our country club, I was working out by myself in the tennis courts of the club. Suddenly, I saw something on the court, it was a tiger. I looked behind and noticed the old man sitting on the top of the tennis net. I introduced myself and told him, ‘how lucky that I am to live in such a place.’ That was when I knew I wanted to focus my life on wildlife photography.”

Now living in Colorado and working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and other organisations, Ann has photographed tigers, mountain lions, primates, antelopes, birds, elephants, lions, elephants, leopards, zebra, pheasants, zebra, wolves, farm animals, zebras, ducks, ducks, parrots, pigeons, turkeys, geese, parrots, birds of prey, grizzly bears, elephants, kangaroos, dolphins, whales, orcas, whales, seals, mackerel, grey whales, sea horses, sperm whales, sharks, seals, sperm whales, porpoises, anua, dolphins, a whole gamut of life forms – all living among us.

Ann takes a portrait of wildlife photographer William Eggleston, with whom she has worked for 25 years, at the SeaWorld Dolphin Museum in Orlando, Florida. Photograph: Ann Wulff

Ann with sea lions. Photograph: Ann Wulff

Ann photographed this great white shark. Photograph: Ann Wulff

Ann photographed a bull moose, when she lived in Norway. Photograph: Ann Wulff

Ann has worked extensively on social projects. Photograph: Ann Wulff

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