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Larger Mammals Archives

Young Male Giraffe, Head and Neck View

Young male giraffe, close-up of head and neck

Photo Details: Head and neck view of a young male giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) against a backdrop of typical winter bushveld vegetation, Weenen Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/320; Aperture: f8; ISO: 200; 12 August 2009, 11.50am.

Young Male Giraffes

Young male giraffes

Photo Details: A pair of young male giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) pause briefly during a browsing session, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/40; Aperture: f8; ISO: 400; 30 May 2009, 5.15pm.

Additional Info: Giraffes are the tallest of all land animals, with adult males growing to around 5m (16ft) from head to toe. This exceptional height means they are perfectly suited to browsing leaves from the upper branches of trees, thus utilising a food source not available to any other browsers. The downside is that giraffes can only live in areas where there are trees and tall bushes to provide essential food. They use their long tongues to pluck green leaves and shoots from between the thorns of acacia trees, one of their favorite food sources (see also Giraffe Adds Tasty Morsels to its Daily Diet)

Giraffe Patterns

giraffe patterns
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Photo Details: Close up of four giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) standing together in a thicket of acacia thorn trees, the distinctive patterns of their hides contrasting with the acacia thorns, Weenen Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR); Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 260mm; Shutter speed: 1/500; Aperture: f8; ISO: 200; 12 August 2009, 11.40 am.

Location: Weenen Game Reserve, situated in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, covers about 5,000 ha of acacia grassland interspersed with occasional thickets of thorn trees. Sightings of white rhino, giraffe, zebra, and a variety of antelope including kudu, red hartebeest, and eland are common, while more than 230 species of birds have been recorded in this small but interesting wildlife sanctuary .

Black Rhino Sculpture

Black Rhino Sculpture by Dylan Lewis

Photo Details: Life-sized bronze sculpture of a black rhino (Diceros bicornis) standing at the entrance to the Centenary Game Capture Centre, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Additional Info: South African sculptor Dylan Lewis was commissioned by the former Natal Parks Board (now Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) to create the rhino – known as the Centenary Rhino – in the mid-90s to celebrate 100 years of conservation in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is renowned for its Operation Rhino that helped save the white rhino from extinction in the early years of the 20th century when fewer than 50 animals remained. Since the start of Operation Rhino in the 1960s, more than 10,000 white rhino have been translocated worldwide. See our article, Rhino Capture and Relocation, for more.

In 2007 an identical version of Lewis’s original rhino was auctioned at Christie’s in London to an anonymous buyer in the U.S. for $356,000.00.

Dr George Hughes, former CEO of the Natal Parks Board who commissioned Lewis to sculpt the rhino in the early 1990s, explained at the time that he’d been trying to find a sculptor to carve about five rhino horns, held in the vaults of the Natal Parks Board headquarters in Pietermaritzburg, to commemorate 100 years of conservation in the province.

“When I first met Dylan in 1993, his talent was only just beginning to be recognised – but he told me that he was not really interested in carving up our valuable rhino horns. He wanted to sculpt something much bigger and grander . . . which is how he came to create the black rhino ….”

Lewis, whose wildlife sculptures include a series of African big cat predators, says his animal works “explore the idea of wilderness in a more literal way, incorporating the textures of landscape into the animal surfaces and forms”. The sculptor’s more recent work has focused on the human form as depicted in his current exhibition, Shapeshifting: From Animal to Human, at Christie’s in South Kensington, London.

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