The only glimpses most of us get of wildlife (besides pigeons, of course) is what little we see on nature documentaries. As awesome as those Netflix nights are, cameras operated by humans can only get so close to the action. But there’s a new tool that’s shedding some light on one of the most impressive animals out there. We’re talking about getting up close and personal with lions.

If you’re anything like us, you probably troll the occasional GoPro video of daredevils on YouTube. But this is something totally different. Steve Mandel, a well-known wildlife photographer, has created a lion-proof, remote-control-operated Lion Cam that’s getting super close to the animals of the African plains.

Mandel hacked a BettleCam, a small robot camera, and added reinforcements that have led to the successful recording of images of big cats in ways no one had been able to do before. Mandel redid the electronics and created a new secure housing system so the little camera could go right into the heart of the lion pride, without getting destroyed in the process.

These are the insane, scary and beautiful results of his work.

What’s perhaps the most stunning is how much fun the lions seem to have with the camera. It’s like a giant toy that everyone from the cubs to the adults takes a turn with. It’s almost like they’re our little kitties at home, just bigger. Much… much… bigger.

We’re excited to see what else Mandel and his LionCam have up their collective sleeve for showing us the wildlife of Africa and beyond. Next up, tigers and bears, perhaps?

What do you think of this up close and personal camera? Tell us your thoughts and impressions in the comments below!

(h/t PetaPixel)