The photos may appear to be nothing more than fantastical art, but they in fact depict the everyday life of a San hunter.
London photographer Jack Somerville captured some incredible images while spending time with the indigenous San people of Namibia’s Naankuse Wildlife Reserve. The Namibian tribe is so in tune with nature that its people are not afraid to hunt within close proximity of a full-grown cheetah. Aiko, the cheetah in the photos, may reside on the reserve, but Somerville assures skeptics he is, in fact, fully wild.
“As with any big cat which is not born in captivity, Aiko is not tame,” Somerville said. “However, once you know the correct way to behave around him and respect his space it is possible to get up close to him.”
The San, also known as bushmen, reside in territories spanning Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and they are thought to be the oldest living culture on Earth.
“The San have a deep respect for wildlife, due to co-existing alongside them for centuries,” Somerville explained.
This respect for nature and the environment is something that has been lost by many other cultures the world over.
Watch the video to see San hunters poisoning arrows with larvae found in Marula fruit.
Although the skilled hunters could probably take any trophy they desire, they do not kill more than is needed to feed their village. The San could certainly teach a thing or two about dedication and conservation to many modern hunters.