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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.

Nile Crocodile with Jaws Open

Nile crocodile

Caption: Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) catching last rays of the afternoon sun on the banks of Nyamithi Pan, Ndumo 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: 800; 29 July 2009, 4.43pm.

Crocodiles will often be seen lying on the banks of rivers or lakes with their mouths open and jaws agape, showing off their fearsome teeth (as in the picture above). This is a way of releasing heat and cooling their bodies as they do not have sweat glands.

Crocs are cold-blooded predators and can survive long periods without food, so will only rarely go out actively hunting. They appear lethargic and slow moving, but can move quickly over land and in water and are successful predators within their environment.

Yellowbilled Hornbill

Yellowbilled hornbill

Photo Details: Close-up of a Yellowbilled Hornbill (Tockus flavirostris) in profile, showing the quite spectacular yellow bill, Kruger National Park, South Africa. See previous post for comparison picture of the Redbilled Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus).

Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi); Lens: Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS USM; Focal Length: 200mm; Shutter speed: 1/4000; Aperture: f2.8; ISO: 400.

Redbilled Hornbill

Redbilled Hornbill

Redbilled Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) with both Redbilled and Yellowbilled (Tockus flavirostris) hornbills visible in the background, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

For more about these fascinating birds, see Redbilled & Yellowbilled Hornbills

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