The guy behind the lens

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I'm a Science Teacher, Nature Photographer, Husband, Father, and Grandfather who loves to explore the natural world by traveling, photographing and thinking. 

MINDS WORK BEST WHEN OPEN!  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Watchful Ladies........

Today's post is a photograph I took on my visit to the Impodimo Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa.

Watchful Ladies

Watchful Ladies
click in the image to see it in the original gallery




Madikwe is a great example of local conservation ideas that really work. Previously, this area of northwest South Africa had fallen into a situation where the farming & ranching had become less and less productive and the region fell into dire poverty. The South African government purchased more than 75,000 hectares and restocked it with indigenous animals that has been rendered locally extinct due to the  agricultural nature of the region.

The government allowed local groups to set up a series of game lodges in the park with the stipulation that the vast majority of their employees would be local residents. There was also the establishment of a fund that takes a small fee from every nightly visitor to one of the lodges. This fund goes to support the local population who now have a real reason to support wildlife rather than poach it to make ends meet!

As a result Madikwe is a great place to go on safari where you can see the "Big Five" (lion, rhino, leopard, Cape buffalo, and elephants). The area is also known as one of the places you can have a chance to see highly endangered and elusive African Wild Dogs.

There "Watchful Ladies" were on one of the jeep tracks in the reserve overlooking a water hole. They were particularly alert this day as there was a running territorial dispute between the pride these two belong to and a small herd of elephants that wanted access to the water. The reclining lion is a young female ( you can still see her juvenile spots) who was very interested in hunting the younger elephants which only added to the tensions around the water hole.

As the other images show, her inexperience and the alertness of the adult elephants prevented her from having a chance! I do love how she was in the middle of the road and still acted as if she was invisible in the tall grass as she "crawled"  her way toward her "prey". 



Stalking (in plain sight!)
Young Lioness Stalking Elephants

After the Hunt


After giving up  on the elephants, the mother lioness and her two yearlings spent the better part of an hour lounging around the water hole until some potential prey (zebras, wildebeests, and warthogs) came into view on the far side of the water hole. Here's a video I shot of mama lioness tying to get a wildebeest. I will not give away the ending .... :-)  (FYI - the sound was removed  from the video as all you'd be able to hear would be the "whoosh" of the wind!)

23 comments:

Gary said...

Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, awesome animals and photos! I have always wanted to go on an African safari.

ladyfi said...

Wow! Fabulous shots! I must go on a safari before I die...

Snap said...

Watching and beautiful ladies. Wonderful shots. Happy Critter Day!

Kay L. Davies said...

That's the kind of chase I like to see - no bloodshed, LOL.
Really enjoyed this, thanks so much!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Jidhu Jose said...

great shots

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What an exhilarating experience to be able to witness these scenes in real life. I appreciate your photos.

Coy said...

Great shots you have here. The low angle sun light is perfect!

It’s great to read about a successful conservation story. Mankind has thoughtlessly destroyed before determining the true value of what we are destroying all too often.

KT said...

Beautiful pictures...

That unsuccessful hunt must have tired her out!

Al said...

This sounds like a great way to get conservation to work with people. I love the lion photos! I also would love to visit a park like this at some point in my life - the Disneyworld version just doesn't work for me.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wonderful shots! I am impressed.

Lisa RedWillow said...

GORGEOUS!

Phil said...

John, Thank you for sharing such an encouraging conservation success story. To see African Wild Dogs would be a dream come true, maybe I should save up and head for Madikwe.

lisaschaos said...

What a wonderful adventure! Love the elephants especially! :)

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Beautiful shots. What a great trip!

Julie G. said...

I was so elated to read your story on Madikwe Game Reserve ... very encouraging. Stellar photographs! The lighting is lovely. Your wonderful images bring back memories of my safari trip to South Africa. An experience I will never forget. Beautiful creatures! A joy to view your blog. I have added you to my blog roll, as well ... thank you.

wncmountainliving said...

Glad this conservation project is working out. Great shots!!!

LindsayDianne said...

Beautiful shots, great educational content. Thanks so much for sharing!

Chris said...

John, thanks for popping in on my blog, and thanks for the kind comments.

Your work is also very impressive! And it's good to see that you were able to enjoy the best of what my country has to offer.

Look forward to see more great shots!

Chris
www.lightchronicles.tumblr.com

Johnny Nutcase said...

one word: jealous!

Kelly~ Wave of Life Surf Studio said...

What amazing pictures!!! Hi~ I am your newest follower from the blog hop & would love it if you stopped by and followed me too :)

http://waveoflifesurfstudio.blogspot.com/

ladaisi said...

This is amazing! I have always wanted to visit Africa, especially since taking my African lit. class.

These photographs are beautiful.

Could you tell us more about independent schools, like the one at which you work? When my son is old enough to attend school, I'd like to send him somewhere that isn't a public school. . . but as I was homeschooled through high school I know very little about the options out there.

- Lauren

Pieter Theron said...

Another game reserve was created from farmland in the Kwazulu-Natal province. It is called Phinda where &Beyond has six wonderful luxury lodges there. Apart from the normal big 5 safaris and game drives, it also offers scuba diving to its guests. Have a look here for more information and pictures.
http://www.southern-african-game-reserves.co.za/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/phinda-game-reserve/