Archive for animal photos

Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Going in for the Kill”

Photo credit: Peter Thomas

  

This photo wonderfully conveys how handsome and powerful this bird of prey is.  With wings spread, the Lanner Falcon’s creamy-white throat and underside give excellent contrast to its dark striping.  This bird exhibits considerable variation throughout its range in body size, coloration and degree of spotting and barring.  These falcons typically hunt by horizontal pursuit and takes bird prey in flight. Their large tails provide a maneuverability that allows them to take a variety of small birds as prey.

There are five known subspecies of Lanner Falcon today, found across Africa, the Middle East, and central and eastern  areas of Mediterranean Europe.  While the species as a whole has been assessed as being ‘lower risk’ by the IUCN, the European subspecies (Falco biarmicus feldeggii)  is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the European Red Book.  This subspecies underwent a significant decline between 1970 and 1990 and, today, likely fewer than 480 breeding pairs of remain.

While the species is common and widespread, with the exception in Europe, this falcon is often shot and unintentionally poisoned by tainted carcasses set out for predators thought to be preying on livestock.  Lanner Falcons’ eggs and chicks are sometimes illegally collected from the wild for falconry.  This raptor is also threatened by continued habitat loss and use of pesticides that are believed to alter their breeding success and  the availability of prey species.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Peace and Tranquility”

Photo credit: Fred von Winckelmann

 

Painted Dogs (also called African Wild Dogs) are the second rarest canid in Africa, after Ethiopian Wolves.  Fifty years ago, these beautiful predators could be found in 39 countries south of the Sahara desert. Today, they are found in only 19, and are considered ‘endangered‘ by the IUCN.  Their populations have suffered an extensive and rapid decline due mainly to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as conflict with and persecution from humans.  For quite some time, many who share the land with these animals have viewed them as vicious, vile, livestock-killing mongrels.  As a result, many have been shot, trapped, and poisoned.  Zimbabwe-based NGO, Painted Dog Conservation, has made significant efforts to save this species from extinction and has been very successful in changing perceptions of these fascinating creatures.

Historically, packs of over 100 could be seen in the savannah, but the reduction in their range and numbers has resulted in smaller pack sizes averaging between five and twenty individuals.   African wild dogs differ from their canid relatives in that they have four toes on each of their front feet instead of five.  Their long legs and lanky body aid them in speed and endurance.  They have large round ears that help to keep them cool and provide excellent hearing. Their coat is adorned with splashes of black, white, and varying shades of brown, hence the name ‘Painted Dog’.  Each dog’s markings are unique, helping researchers differentiate between individuals.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Cheeeeeeeeeese!”

Photo credit: Antoni Emchowicz

 

This photo shows fantastic clarity!  You can even see the ampullae of Lorenzini on the shark’s snout!  The ampullae of Lorenzini are small electroreceptors that are part of a sensory network that lies right beneath the shark’s skin.  To the naked eye they appear as small dark spots or pores around the head.  This sixth sense detects minute magnetic fields in the water.  How is this an advantage to a predator? Well, living creatures create small electrical pulses (called “potentials”) that are generated by muscle contractions.  Even when lying still there is a muscle hard at work in every body- the heart!  Sharks can sense the electricity generated by a beating heart to help locate prey whether they are buried in the sand or hiding in a kelp forest.  Our earth also has its own magnetic field, which we use to find the directional points of a compass (North, South, East, West).  Researchers hypothesize that sharks use the earth’s field to navigate the ocean the same way, using their sixth sense as an ‘internal compass.’  The ampullae also has a gel-like substance that gives the pores properties, similar to a semiconductor.  Scientist believe the ampullae can translate temperature changes into electrical information, allowing the shark to detect temperature gradients in the water.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by Rashell Hallford

 

“Out of the Grass, Into the Stripes”

Photo credit: Shazaad Kasmani

 

While most know that zebras’ stripes serve as camouflage for protection from predators (when grouped together, their stripes make it hard for a predator to see just a single individual), there remains the conundrum of: Is it a black coat with white stripes, or a white coat with black stripes?  Zebras are usually perceived as having white coats with black stripes because the general observation is that the stripes end on their bellies and legs, with the rest of the body white.  If you take a look closer, zebras actually have black skin underneath their coats.  So what it really comes down to is: are you a “the coat is half black” or a “the coat is half white” person?

This unique coat has made the zebra a target of poachers for a very long time. This, in conjunction with habitat loss and competition with livestock for resources, have been major threats to zebras throughout Africa.  Particularly hard-hit, have been Grevy’s Zebras (listed as ‘endangered’) and Mountain Zebras (listed as ‘vulnerable’).  The Quagga was a subspecies of the Plains Zebra that was once found abundantly in South Africa’s Cape Province.  Unfortunately, overhunting drove the Quagga to extinction more than a century ago.  The last known true Quagga died in the Amsterdam Zoo in 1883.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“After the Rains, There is Beauty”

Photo credit: Jill Vickerman

 

The Angulate Tortoise, like the one in Jill’s photo, is named after the black triangles on the marginal scutes. It is native to South Africa and can also be found in a small area inside Namibia.  Without proper permits, it is illegal to capture Angulate Tortoises in the wild to keep as pets in both South Africa and Namibia because all tortoises in both of these countries are protected species. While not endangered, the Angulate Tortoise could suffer future declines if populations and habitat are not closely monitored.

 Tortoises, especially those that are small and young, are often victims of the black market pet trade. Earlier this year, biologists and conservationists announced that Radiated Tortoises (similar to Angulates in that they also have beautiful markings on their shells) are being collected for use in the illegal pet trade to such an extreme that they are now dangerously close to extinction.  Yet, only a decade ago their populations were considered stable!  Certain pet expos are notorious for having exotic animals (especially tortoises) available for sale, regardless of their population status in the wild.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

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Photo of the Day

Posted in Photo of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2010 by Caroline Thompson

 

“Zebralicious”

Photo credit: Nick Turner

 

Zebra foals are born with brown and white coloration, and develop the black and white coloring with age.  For the first few days of their life, the mother will keep her foal away from the rest of the herd, until it learns her smell and voice.  Zebra foals are able to run within an hour of birth!
These horse relatives might appear to have fat abdomens.  In truth, it is bloating caused by the bacteria in their gut, which helps them to digest food.  Fat is stored in the animals neck, which enables scientists to determine the health of the zebra quickly.  Healthy animals will have a thick layer of fat around the neck, causing their mane of hair to stand upright.

 

Please click here to see ALL of our Photo of the Day winners and for more information on the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest, including how to enter.  Enjoy the beauty of nature, just as it was intended to be!

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Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshop: A Story in Three Parts

Posted in Wildlife Photography Workshop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by photoafrica

Watching other people’s home movies and pictures from their holiday can, at times, be quite an ordeal.

The same can be said for looking at other people’s images from a recent safari.

Image © Gerry van der Walt

An image like this might remind you of the amazing leopard sighting you had when you were in the bush, but… your friends and family might not share your enthusiasm for this amazing sighting if the image does not really convey the spectacle you witnessed.

So what can you do?

Since wildlife photography is about telling a story, do it in threes.

By doing this, and presenting your work in threes, you will be able to much better share the beauty of the amazing sightings you had when you were out in the wild.  This will also help your family follow the stories you have to tell about your amazing adventures in Africa, or elsewhere.

So how does it work?

For every sighting try and take three images.  These images will, step by step, get your viewer closer to the subject and allow you to tell a more complete story.

The first image should set the scene and place the subject in it’s natural environment.

The second image should be the ‘main course’ and the image you actually want to show.

The last image is there to show a little bit of detail as you end your story.

Make sense?  Here is my story.

On a partly overcast morning, we were following a lioness through the bush.  It seemed as if she was looking for something.  As the sun broke through the clouds, she ended up in a thicket where she proceeded to look around some more, before settling in to sleep the day away.  Every now and then she would lift her head to look around, all the time breathing quite heavily, as by now the clouds had disappeared and the summer heat was setting in.

Now, there is no way I can show all of that in one image while I tell the story to all the family members I have forced to sit down in the lounge and ‘appreciate’ my images.

The answer?  Tell your story in three!

Image © Gerry van der Walt

Image © Gerry van der Walt

Image © Gerry van der Walt

If you are heading out into nature this weekend, look for stories.  Shoot them in threes.  Show them to your friends and remember to also upload a few to the Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest!

See you next week!

Gerry van der Walt

Photo-Africa

Please vote for Bush Warriors’ three projects to receive Free Range Studio’s youtopia grants.  Click here to vote now! 

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