elephant

Up close and personal with Africa’s wildlife

Some of my favourite moments as a wildlife photographer have been when I’ve been able to get as close to my subjects as possible (without getting eaten of course!) and capture their facial expressions.  There’s nothing like spending several hours just quietly observing animal behaviour on your own whether it’s a haughty leopard staring at you from a tree stump as seen in the above photograph, or a curious baby baboon hanging precariously from its mum’s fur. As long as it’s safe and I’m not too close, I’ll switch off the jeep motor, sit quietly, camera ready and wait to[…]

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How an orphaned baby elephant overcame tragedy to lead her own herd

This elephant collar, held by Save The Elephants’ Research Assistant, Benjamin Loloju Ltibikishe, was once worn by a great matriarch of the Swahili family called Khadija. During the poaching crisis of 2011/2012, she was the only remaining female – the last matriarch – left in the herd that roamed around the south side of Buffalo Springs, not far from Samburu. A mother to three babies, she was a compassionate and special elephant who had earlier adopted her niece, the baby Habiba, after her mother was killed by poachers when Habiba was only a few months old. In 2011, Khadija was found wandering around in Samburu[…]

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The diving elephants of Samburu, Kenya

Is it a submarine, is it a lochness monster? No, it’s an elephant thoroughly enjoying itself in the Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu, Northern Kenya during a particularly hot day. This elephant stayed in the river for about twenty minutes, sometimes submerging himself under water for at least several minutes, before splashing about, spraying water with his trunk and then  heading off in search of food. Elephants are good swimmers and can stay underwater for quite some time by using their trunks as snorkels. Check out more pictures of this particular and very happy bathing elephant below.

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The adorable bush flattening baby elephants of Samburu

While most of the elephants in Samburu National Park in Northern Kenya have been happily and quietly eating the new green vegetation that’s sprouted after the recent rains, two baby elephants have been approaching their food in a somewhat less civilised manner. No doubt a handful for their patient mother, these two siblings  – aged about three years old – have decided they’d rather flatten their food than eat it and have launched into a game of  ‘bash the bush’ wherever they go. Together they run from bush to bush stamping, squashing and attacking as many plants as they can – ears forward, trunks flailing, both[…]

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Why the Samburu of Northern Kenya are called Butterfly People

The local people that live in Samburu National Park are called ‘ Butterflies’ because of the beautiful colourful clothes they wear. They are a proud race of semi-nomadic people who still maintain their warrior culture. Samburu also have a special and deep relationship with elephants. They believe that God created man and elephants as brothers and that elephants have special powers. Whenever they come across an elephant carcass, they’ll place pieces of grass or greenery on the skull of the animal as a sign of respect. According to legend, the first elephant who lived with Samburu as their brother was working with a[…]

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The wild bull elephant that visits the STE research camp

We had a rather awe-inspiring visitor yesterday … an enormous 17-year-old bull elephant called Malaso who for some unknown reason, took exception to the special collar testing units that we’d set up in the morning on a patch of land at the entrance to the Save The Elephants camp. He strode into the camp, sniffed the heavy collars and their wooden stands which we’d positioned as part of an alert testing, and then promptly lifted them into the air and threw them to the ground as though they were mere twigs. He then happily munched on salt bushes while we[…]

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In celebration of elephants

I recent visited the amazing Howlett’s Wild Animal Park in Kent run by the Aspinal Foundation. I was there for six hours practicing my photography skills ahead of my trip to Africa next month to Samburu where I’ll be doing a photographic internship with Save The Elephants. While Howletts isn’t exactly the plains of Africa, it still gave me great insight into how elephants move and interact with each other especially the comical youngsters who rushed around with ears flapping and trunks flailing as only baby elephants do. I especially enjoyed watching some of the elephants stretching as far as they could until their legs were nearly folded[…]

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