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Mid-morning in the Chobe National Park, Botswana, a herd of elephants were on the move. Two young elephants teamed up, with the older of the two resting his trunk on the baby in front. It looked as if either the baby was supporting the older elephant’s trunk or the older elephant was providing directional support for the baby.
African Elephant - Loxodonta
he African Elephant is a genus comprising of two living elephant species, the African Bush Elephant and the smaller African Forest Elephant. Loxodonta is one of the two existing genera of the family Elephantidae, the other being Asiatic Elephants. The name refers to the lozenge-shaped enamel of their molar teeth. African Elephants are the world’s largest land animals and can weigh up to 7 tons in weight. Elephants roam across most of sub-Saharan Africa, but face increasing threat from poaching, habitat loss and conflict with humans.
Nikon D4s with Nikon VR 600 f4 G lens with
Nikon 1.4x, Teleconverter, effective focal length 850 mm, 1/4000 sec @ f14, ISO 11400
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
This large school of Moorish idols mix in the light current off the reef wall as a large ball, relying on the collective experience that a large mass of many will intimidate predators and confuse them as to which fish to target as a meal. In this instance, the shoal phenomenon works so well it’s almost as if there are “too many to count” and their regal patterns break up their outline making it very difficult to discern where one fish
starts and another ends.
Moorish idol - Zanclus cornutus
Moorish idols are strikingly beautiful. They have thick black and white vertical stripes and finer yellow colorations on their face and rears. Most notable are the elongated white dorsal fins, which extend far beyond their tails. Although very similar in appearance to some species of butterflyfish, the Moorish idol can be easily distinguished by its black, triangular anal fin. Moorish idols hunt small invertebrates along coral and rocky reefs using their pronounced snouts. They also feed on sponges and coral polyps. After hatching, Moorish idols have a comparatively long larval stage during which the young fish live in the open ocean. This long period of time allows the larvae to spread widely. This makes the Moorish idol quite unusual, as it has almost no geographic variations in its colouring. Moorish idols got their name from the Moors, an ancient African civilization who believed this fish was a source of happiness.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 10.5mm F2.8 Fisheye, F10 @ 1/100 sec, ISO 200, Sea & Sea.
Photograph by Andrew Woodburn
Very early morning in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, East Africa, these three Golden Jackals were scavenging around a lion kill looking for scraps to eat. They stopped for a few moments and grouped together with an eye from each peering out on the open plains.
Golden Jackal - Canis aureus
The common jackal of the East African Plains looks like a small coyote with long pointed snout and big, pointed ears. Their colour varies geographically, seasonally and individually, usually golden to silver-grey. Their limbs are redder than their torsos. Their tails tips, nose and mouth are typically black, underparts and head markings white, eyes amber–coloured.
New-borns are nearly black in colour. Often the most vicious carnivore on the East African plains, eats carrion and
kills of other predators.
Nikon D500 with Sigma 150-600 mm f5.0 – 6.3 G lens with Sigma 1.4 x Teleconverter
effective focal length 850 mm, 1/2000 sec @ f13, ISO 8000
Early morning in the Sandibe region in Botswana, this leopard was sitting up in a tree when he lifted up his head, appearing surprised at the arrival of our vehicle below.
Leopard - Panthera pardus
The Leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, and small parts of Western and East Asia. The Leopard’s skin colour varies between individuals from pale yellowish to dark golden with dark spots grouped in rosettes. Its belly is whitish and its ringed tale shorter than its body. The pattern of rosettes is unique in each individual. Leopards are the embodiment of feline beauty, power and stealth, being long and low strung, with muscular limbs.
Nikon D4 with Nikon VR 600 f4.G lens
with Nikon 1.7x Teleconverter, effective focal length 1000 mm, 1/1000 sec @ f8, ISO 4000, - 0.7 EV
REMINISCING – AN EYE FOR THE ‘MANE’ CHANCE
As the sun was rising over the Timbavati Game Reserve, this magnificent Lion was enjoying the warmth cast by the early morning rays of sunlight. This image was the first cover of the Woodburn Mann wildlife calendar back in 2006, and is an iconic representation of African wildlife; the King of the Continent.
Lion - Panthera leo
Call of the Africa Wild, King of African Carnivores. Low but large and powerful, weighing between 190 and 260kg. Coat: short except for tail tuft and male’s mane: appearing during his third year, maximum development at five years. While prey is plentiful, Lions spend 20 hours out of 24 conserving energy, becoming active in late afternoon; hunt most actively at night and for a couple of hours after daybreak. Lions cam become active at any time, day or night, hungry or gorged, so that when easy opportunities to catch prey present themselves, they react immediately and take advantage. Lions kill and open eat all the other carnivores, including Leopards and Cheetahs, but rarely Hyenas.
Nikon D2X digital 12-4 MP, AF VR-Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 D Lens, focal length @ 180mm, 1/180th sec @ f5, ISO 100
Klipspringer on point
During the hot early evening on a game drive in the Sabie Sands, this klipspringer was seen resting high-up on the point of a rocky outcrop called a “koppie”. With its back to the sun it was using stillness and height to keep watch for predators, while simultaneously catching the last rays of the setting sun before the chill of the African
evening settled in.
Klipspringer - Oreotragus oreotragus
The name Klipspringer is Afrikaans for ‘rock jumper’ and alludes to the animal’s ability in rocky territory where it can be seen moving freely, seemingly on tiptoe. It is a small antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. The sole member of its genus, the klipspringer was first described by German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1783. The unique pelage (fur coat) insulates the body from temperature extremes and helps to conserve moisture. It protects the klipspringer from heat loss by trapping body-warmed air amongst the coat while the flatness and looseness of the individual hairs allow for increased heat reflection and loss when it’s hot. Weighing 11-13kg and standing 500-600mm high at the shoulders, this is a small and stocky antelope. Klipspringers walk on the tips of their hoofs, which have long, narrow soles and blunt rounded tips. The rounded hoofs are an adaptation to the rocky terrain it inhabits.
Nikon D4, Sigma 50-500mm F4.5 – 6.3 G lens @ 500mm 1/1600 sec @ F16, ISO 4500.
Photograph at Mala Mala
Courting Crowned Cranes
Very early morning in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, several Crowned Cranes were foraging in the swamps. Here a male is displaying his beautiful plumage in a courting ritual.
East African Crowned Crane / Grey Crowned Crane - Balearica regulorum
The East African Crowned Crane is a slate grey colour with an elongated neck and body. The primary and secondary feathers are dark grey with chestnut markings. The cheek patches are bare, with white at the bottom and a small red patch on top. A distinctive crane with long golden crown feathers.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm f4.5 – 5.6 GED lens with
Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x effective focal length 350 mm, 1/1000 sec @ f8, ISO 400
Mid-morning in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, part of the greater Kruger National Park, this magnificent young Martial Eagle with its long talons, launched itself from the branches of a high tree. The image is symbolic of our company, a head-hunting firm entering into its fifth decade.
Martial Eagle - Polemaetus bellicosus
Martial Eagles are the largest of the African Eagles and incredibly powerful, capable of knocking an adult man off his feet. Martial Eagles can weigh up to 6.5kg and have a wing span of up to 2.4m. Juvenile Martial Eagles are distinct in plumage with a pearly grey colour with considerable white edging, as well as a speckled grey on crown and hind neck. The entire underside is conspicuously white. The eyes of juveniles are dark brown whereas adults are yellow.
Nikon D5 wth Nikon VR 80-400mm f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC- 14E III 1.4
effective focal length 410mm, 1/3200 sec @ f13, ISO 1400
This big daddy rhino seemed quite comfortable grazing and moving along on a ridge almost above our safari vehicle, allowing me to get an on-the-level photo of him. Whilst all this was happening an equally interested 3rd party in the form of a starling was joining the rhino for his morning breakfast in order to feast on any ticks and other insects he disturbed as he walked and grazed, these insects would fly up when disturbed only for themselves to become breakfast.
White Rhino - Ceratotherium simum
Cape Glossy Starling - Lamprotornis nitens
White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant. Adult males can reach 1.85m in height and tip the scales at a massive 3.6 tonnes. White rhinos have almost no hair and two horns. The front horn averages 60cm, but occasionally reaches 150cm in length. Adult males defend territories of roughly 1-3km2, which they mark with vigorously-scraped dung piles. White rhinos are the only grazer among the five rhino species, feeding almost exclusively on short grasses. They primarily inhabit grassy savanna and woodlands interspersed with grassy clearings.
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. The species feeds on the ground and in trees on fruit and insects; often it scavenges from people or in this case from a rhino.
Nikon D4, Sigma 50-500mm f4.5 – 6.3 G lens @ 500mm 1/1600 sec @ F18, ISO 4500.
On the Hunt
TLate afternoon in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, part of the greater Kruger National Park, a pack of Wild Dogs were on the hunt. This particular dog was running through the bush and together with other members of the pack brought down an impala which they quickly consumed before returning to their den to feed their hungry pups.
African Wild Dog - Lycaon pictus
The Latin for Wild Dog is Lycaon pictus or “Painted Wolf”. Like the Wolf, the Wild Dog is a nomad and a formidable pack hunter. Unlike its distant relative, each Wild Dog has a distinctive pattern of black, orange-brown and white markings, so that no two Wild Dogs are the same, the only common feature being the white tail tip. The Wild Dog is one of the most maligned creatures in the wild. Whereas the species formerly occurred extensively throughout Southern Africa, it is now the only endangered species of canid in the region. In truth, Wild Dogs live an exemplary and democratic domestic life.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm f4.5 – 5.6 GED lens
with Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x effective focal length 220 mm, 1/2500 sec @ f16, ISO 5000
A new day dawns
Very early morning in the Ngala Private Game Reserve, part of the greater Kruger National Park, these two Giraffes faced each other, with a small bird on the neck of one of them, as the sun slowly started to rise on the horizon.
Giraffe - Giraffa Camelopardalis
The Giraffe is Africa’s largest ruminant and tallest mammal, large males can weigh up to 2 tons and stand at a height of up to 5.5m. An interesting anatomical aspect is the Giraffe’s 45cm prehensile tongue and modified atlas-axis joint that lets it extend its head vertically to increase its height advantage.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR80-400mm lens
with Nikon AFS Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x effective focal length 112 mm, 1/640 sec @ f6.3, ISO 100