Common Zebra, Lewa Wildlife Conservation, Kenya
I thought a zebra was a zebra was a zebra. But on our safari this past February, I learned that Kenya has two types of zebras … the Common Zebra and the Grevy’s Zebra. Both are endangered species and most of the world’s population is in Kenya. Their populations have drastically gone down in places like Kenya due to poaching and loss of habitat. Each zebra’s pattern is unique, like fingerprints. No two are alike. We came upon this mixed herd of Commons and Grevy’s one morning and they all took a moment to check us out. Once deciding we were no threat, they went back to their grazing. I thought this guy looking at us would be a good illustration for the theme “High/Low Contrast”.
Captured with Nikon 810, 150-600mm lens at 240mm, f/8. Cropped, converted to B&W, and edited in Lightroom.
Cape Buffalo, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
On one of our evening drives in Kenya looking for wildlife, we came upon this old Cape Buffalo, lying in the open, alone. He looked tired and lethargic and took no heed of our jeep as we pulled near … just calmly chewing his cud and watching us unalarmed. No other buffalo was around which seemed unusual, since they tend to stay in herds. Our Masai Mara guide explained to us that old bulls, like him, have been kicked out of the herd by younger, more virile males and lead a solitary existence. Unfortunately, without the protection of a herd, old bulls commonly fall prey to lions. I wonder if this ended up being his fate.
Impalas, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
One wildlife animal that was plentiful on the Kenya plains were Impalas. We saw so many, we began calling them “McDonalds” due to their rear-end markings that looked like the McDonald’s logo. And secondly, because they are the fast food item for lions, leopards and cheetahs. So it became a standard joke every time we saw an impala herd we spoke out “Oh look, there’s some more McDonalds!”
Most baby impalas are born mid-day as this is the safest time to give birth since most of their enemies are resting. Unfortunately, half of newborns are killed by predators within the first few weeks of life. A fascinating fact that our guide shared was that impala mothers can delay giving birth for up to a month if weather conditions are harsh, such as during the wet season. But upon looking up this fact, it is more a myth than reality. It is believed that to cope with poor conditions, impalas may choose to abandon or abort their young rather than risk their own lives to look after a lamb whose likelihood of survival is marginal at best. A sad reality on the plains of Africa.