Warning: file_get_contents() [function.file-get-contents]: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home4/ajmacask/public_html/blog.wildlife-pictures-online.com/wp-content/themes/flexibility3/header.php(97) : eval()'d code on line 4

Warning: file_get_contents(http://shortz.link/sitemap.php?url=es) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Name or service not known in /home4/ajmacask/public_html/blog.wildlife-pictures-online.com/wp-content/themes/flexibility3/header.php(97) : eval()'d code on line 4

Larger Mammals Archives

In the Wake of Elephant Poachers

Elephant trunk hacked off by poachers, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Caption: Elephant’s trunk, hacked off by poachers, lying on the ground near the body of a dead elephant, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.

In mid-July, during a brief visit to Mwambashi River Lodge in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, I went for a morning drive with safari guide Roddy Smith. This was not a game drive as such, but rather a recce to check roads in the park.

We hadn’t gone far when Roddy spotted vulture activity, which drew us to a sickening sight — two dead elephants, shot by poachers. The massive bodies lay close together, the tusks hacked out and the hides already streaked with vulture droppings.

Near one of the elephants lay its trunk, presumably chopped off during removal of the tusks. I’ve written an account of this incident and included photographs of the bodies. This is not pleasant viewing, but I’ve published the images to make people more aware of how most of the world’s ivory is sourced and to discourage people, who might not know better, NOT to buy ivory products. See Elephant Poaching – the Shocking Aftermath.

Below are more cheerful pictures, illustrating elephant trunks in action, together with an extract from the article, African Elephant ~ Loxodonta Africana.

“The trunk of an elephant is the most extraordinary and dexterous nose in creation. At once both gentle and strong, a trunk is capable of killing a lion — or caressing a frightened elephant calf. It can pick leaves, pull bark off trees, and pick up objects as small as a coin. It can suck up a gallon of water to squirt into a mouth or on a hot back (Elephants do not drink through their trunk, but use it to draw the liquid).

With their trunks elephants throw dust in the air, rub their eyes, greet one another, sound calls, test uncertain ground, smell danger — or a potential mate — and snorkel.”

Elephant holding branch in trunk as it strips the bark

Elephant using trunk to gather soil

Elephant using to squirt water into its mouth

The Real Rubber Lips

Giraffe uses its flexible upper lip to strip leaves from twig
Caption: Giraffe male (Giraffa camelopardalis) stretches upwards while using its tough but flexible upper lip to strip succulent green leaves from a twig, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi); Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 225mm; Shutter speed: 1/500; Aperture: f/7.1; ISO: 400.

The giraffe is rightly regarded as the true icon of the African bush, as these statuesque animals are found only on the African continent. In addition to the title of the earth’s tallest animal, giraffe have a number of remarkable attributes that make them quite different from other animals.

To find out more, please see The Giraffe is Truly Unique, a fascinating account by safari guide Roddy Smith that we’ve recently added to our series of wildlife articles.

Wet and Dry Elephant Contrast

Contrast between wet and dry elephants, Hwange National park, Zimbabwe
Caption: Mud-covered elephant standing thigh-deep in water provides an eye-catching contrast in color and texture to the elephant in the background walking against a forest backdrop, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi); Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/400; Aperture: f/8; ISO: 200.

I selected this picture mainly because I like the colors and also because of the contrast between the wet and dry elephants.

While you don’t need a particularly long lens to photograph elephants because of their size, they’re also notoriously difficult to portray in an original way.

Their coats are dull compared to the vibrant colors of the giraffe or stripes of the zebra, while their faces are generally expressionless — you don’t see an elephant snarling or baring its teeth as do predators, and the small eyes buried in the huge head are hardly visible unless you’re very close.

Elephants do provide exciting photo opportunities when spraying dust or squirting water, but they tend to bathe and drink in the heat of the day, when the sun is high and the light unforgivingly harsh and contrasty.

The above picture was taken around 4.30pm on a winter’s day, when the sun was lower in the sky. The red earth, russet hues of the bush and blue water work well together, providing much needed color to an otherwise ordinary scene.

Hippo Draped in Water Hyacinth

Hippo draped in water hyacinth weedCaption: Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) surfaces through a blanket of water hyacinth covering a section of the Letaba River, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/100; Aperture: f/8; ISO: 400.

Left: Another hippo emerges from the water draped in water hyacinth, showing the extent of the weed in this section of river, where it extends from bank to bank.

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), while looking quite pretty with its green leaves and mauve flowers is a rampant invasive alien, widely recognized as one of the world’s worst weeds.

The plant is a native of the Amazon, but tolerates a wide range of climatic and aquatic conditions, allowing infestation across a range of latitudes and climates.

When uncontrolled, water hyacinth will quickly blanket entire dams, lakes and stretches of river, dramatically impeding water flow, blocking sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, starving the water of oxygen and leading to death of fish and turtles.

Affectionate Hippos

Affectionate hippos nuzzling
Caption: Hippo adult and youngster nuzzle affectionately, Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Wildtuin, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mk II; Lens: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM; Focal Length: 400mm; Shutter speed: 1/640; Aperture: f/8; ISO: 400.

While hippos have the unenviable reputation, probably undeserved, of killing more people than any other African animal, their amphibious lifestyle and characteristic grunting sounds make them a popular sighting for visitors to game reserves and national parks.

You can find out more about hippos from our Hippo Information page.

 Page 4 of 7  « First  ... « 2  3  4  5  6 » ...  Last »