WINNER – 2018 PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: Africa Geographic Magazine A Rüppell’s vulture in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya “While waiting for over two hours in the hot equatorial sun for a migration crossing to happen, I decided to change my focus to a group of vultures that were feeding on a drowned wildebeest carcass. Fully fed, this beauty decided to dry off its wings in the sun, which produced this interesting image of a great raptor. These raptors face many problems, from loss of habitat, reduced breeding sites, and reduction in large ungulates (resulting in fewer sources of food), to death from poisoning, the witchcraft trade and collisions with power lines. They play such an important role in making sure that diseases such as rabies and anthrax do not spread, and they also help cycle nutrients back into the ecosystem. We must help conserve these amazing raptors at all costs.” Judges’ comments: This amazing image portrays vultures for what they are – majestic and regal birds that deserve our respect. This sensitive representation of one of Africa’s most threatened birds is a refreshing change from the stereotypical vulture image of bloodied hoodlums fighting for scraps […]
During my Easter break I decided to spend some time in Samburu Game Reserve to photograph elephants. I was disappointed as most of them had scattered with the onset of the long rains, though I managed to find a few small family groups & alert. Whilst driving a few kilometers past Larsens Camp, I came across a lioness who had killed a cow just a few minutes before I got there. Wondering where the other pride members were, I noticed 2 more cows killed on the other side of the road. The other 2 carcasses had an adult lioness, a sub-adult male & younger cub on them. It was so hot that afternoon plus a big storm was on its way so the lions didn’t feed much & sat around panting! We found out that herders illegally bring in cattle to feed on the pasture & drink water from the river which is close by. These cattle must have wandered away from the watchful eyes of their Samburu herder. This was not a pleasant sight as cattle owners lace the carcass with poison which in turns affects wildlife that feed on the meat; this is really affecting lion & vulture […]
Elephants make the most interesting subjects for photography as they are always doing something. Even when you are not photographing them, they are such a joy to observe. Going through images from last year’s short safaris around Kenya’s famous parks/reserves, I noted several of them with tusk abnormalities. Tusks are modified incisors and just like in humans, they too can develop abnormalities during the growth stage. These can be due to genetic or congenital conditions while others are caused by trauma. According to research, this can happen to both males and females of a given species. This has also been seen it both the African & Asiatic elephants. Interestingly the images you see below are all of females from 3 different wilderness areas within Kenya. I am yet to see a male with this deformity but I am sure they are out there. These elephants stand out from the herd and are very easy to identify.
On an early morning game drive, all alone in Shompole Wildlife Conservancy, while looking for the mane-less lions with our guide & tracker we came across a small herd of zebra that looked very attentive & alert. We looked around hoping that the lions would be close by as we had heard them roaring just before dawn in the area. Looking through the binoculars I noticed a young zebra with interesting hooves. It was almost like it had some shoes on from a distance. The animals in the conservancy are very shy & skittish so they cannot be approached very closely & off road driving is not encouraged. I believe animals should always have the right to their space & freedom plus I would never encourage anyone to break or bend park/ reserve/ conservancy rules; not even for a photo opportunity! So we watched this zebra that the guides had never seen before either & it baffled them as much as it did me! She was very calm, comfortable & very healthy too. I managed to take a few photos just to remember her & this amazing part of Kenya. On doing some research, I learnt that this is a […]
As promised here is a short article about the mane-less lions of Shompole. While on a game drive in the Shompole Conservancy we came across a pride of resident lions. I was very excited to see lions in such an arid area with very little prey species to feed on. We stopped at a distance as off road driving is not permitted and professional guiding ethics come in to play, something I totally respect. Animals in their natural habitat must be respected at all times; we are the ones in their territory. At a glance it looked like a pride of eight females and one cub that was in poor condition. It was the peak of the dry season and the long rains had failed. I really felt bad for the little cub as he was moaning for milk but the females would have none of it! The pride was sleeping out in the open and some of its members were on the lookout for prey as they all looked very lean with their belly flaps hanging loose. Looking through my binoculars I noticed that the group had five males! I was in utter shock! They looked exactly like the […]
2013 is definitely a very special year for me as a wildlife enthusiast & amateur nature photographer. I managed to sight an animal I have long yearned to see! The wild dog has several names: the African wild dog, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, painted wolf, painted hunting dog, spotted dog, or ornate wolf. Its scientific name “Lycaon pictus” is derived from the Greek word for “wolf” and the Latin for “painted”. It is the only canid species to lack dewclaws on the forelimbs. This is the largest African canid and, besides only the gray wolf, is the world’s second largest extant wild canid. Whilst they den, they tend to hunt within the area and as the pups get stronger they are able to move with the nomadic adults after a period of between 7-10 weeks. Pups are usually born in dens dug and abandoned by other animals, such as the Aardvark. Weaning takes place at about 10 weeks. After 3 months, the pups leave the den and begin to run with the pack. At the age of 8-11 months they can kill small prey, but depend on the pack kills for most of their food. They […]