Beauty and the beasts – incredible shots of one woman’s relationship with wild animals

It’s a beauty and the beasts! One woman has documented the animals that she photographed over the course of a year – by getting into the frame with them.

Shannon Benson with an Elephant

Shannon Benson with an Elephant

Shannon Wild, 36, from South Africa, has walked hand in trunk with an elephant and even been licked by a leopard, all while she was out on a safari.

The brilliant photos show just how up close and personal some of her subjects were willing to get when allowed to approach, although some of the smaller critters caused chaos when climbing all over her camera equipment.

Shannon Benson with an African Wildcat

Shannon Benson with an African Wildcat

Shannon, a wildlife photographer, lives and breathes the wild lifestyle although she has endured a variety of scrapes along the way.

From being chased by an elephant to a mauling from a cheetah, Shannon really has had a brush with the outback.

Shannon Benson with a Leopard

Shannon Benson with a Leopard

Shannon said: “I’m so passionate about animals and I like to get photos of as many as possible.

“I have plenty of scars and stories from over the years when I’ve been working with wildlife and the animals have gone a bit too far.

Shannon Benson with a Lemur

Shannon Benson with a Lemur

“I’ve been bitten in the face by a dog, charged by an elephants, lions and buffalo, bitten countless times by snakes and lizards, and mauled by a cheetah, but it doesn’t discourage me.

“The way I look at it though is, you shouldn’t be a chef if you don’t ever want to get a burn from hot food and wildlife photography is the same.

Shannon Benson with a Leopard

Shannon Benson with a Leopard

“I’m excited by every encounter that I have am surprisingly calm in most situations, even when tracking a lion on foot.

“But there are always potential hazards with animals and I engage with them all – not just the cute and fluffy ones

Shannon Benson with a snake

Shannon Benson with a snake

“But even the bad stories remind me how exciting my job is and how lucky I am to have it.”