The wonders of the Okavango. The waters are low at the moment and storm clouds are building in the afternoons but not quite delivering rain yet. Elephants are on the move though as they sense the rains approach. They’ll be heading for fruiting trees and favorite grassy areas. #okavango#elephants#waitingforrain#aerial
@dereckjoubert and I, the #RhinoswithoutBorders team and all involved would like to thank everyone who has supported the Rhinos Without Borders project from the start - and to all those who donated on #GivingTuesday. Thanks to you we’ve raised enough to move another rhino to safety from a poaching hotspot. What an incredible result. #23rhinostogo
After an incredible journey by truck, aeroplane and helicopter, the fourth group of rhinos to be released by #RhinosWithoutBorders is ready to go. They’ve
travelled thousands of kms to a new land that is vastly safer. Where they come from, a rhino is killed for its horn once every 7 hours. Here, they should have the
chance to live, shaping the environment around them and benefitting numerous other species. Here, they will be rhinos. Their horns will grow back, they will begin to breed and these new small populations will become vital in a world
where rhino poaching has taken such a toll and seems to be continuing. It’s a huge, expensive project but thanks to the generosity of thousands of people, we’re happy to share that not only have the rhinos that were translocated earlier in the year begun to breed, this consignment of rhinos takes the total number to 77.
We have 23 rhinos to go!
To find out more or to donate, please visit rhinoswithoutborders.com or greatplainsfoundation/rhinos. #Giving Tuesday #ItTakesALotToSaveARhino
Like sleeping ghosts in the darkness. It’s a somber picture. One that needs explanation as the slumbering mass of blindfolded rhinos is not something that
is often seen. But these rhinos have been moved from a poaching hotspot and are ready to be released into their new home – a land that is full of nutrient-rich grasses and water; a land that has the lowest rate of poaching in Africa; a land that has missed these animals and will rejoice at seeing these small populations take hold, begin to breed and once again be a part of the ecosystem that relies on them in so many ways.
The fact that the sun has set has no bearing on the project. This is an operation that needs to be seen through to its conclusion, without rest for the #RhinosWithoutBorders crew. The fact that the night is cool will aid in not stressing the rhinos on their transfer. It has been a few years of hard work and the generosity of so many people to get these rhinos here, but they are ready to be released into this safer land and it is incredible seeing the result of all of this.
To find out more or to donate, please visit greatplainsfoundation/rhinos #GivingTuesday#ItTakesALotToSaveARhino
A young lion from the celebrated Tsaro Pride at Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta is watched closely by a herd of Cape buffalo. The lions here are not confined to hunting at night and in fact are more likely to hunt during the day taking advantage of water channels that might slow or split a potential prey target from their herd. These herds will form a solid wall fronted by sharp horns and up to a ton of muscle each that the lions have no way of penetrating. Hours are spent watching and waiting for an individual to become separated or make a mistake. There is never an easy meal here but when a lion pride gets large, the prey they must catch to sustain every individual needs to be much larger or caught much more frequently. The buffalo herds move with available grass and can be missing for weeks, leaving the lions to focus on lechwe and warthogs but when the buffalo return, those feline eyes follow their every move, patiently waiting for an opportunity…. #okavangolions#thisismytrophy
These lions have come a long way. We remember them as tiny, mewling cubs and now they are in their prime and effectively hunting for themselves. New generations of Duba Plains’ Tsaro Pride join the older lions and learn their way in this swampy land. #tsaropride#okavangolions#thisismytrophy
Patterned like ants. Buffalo are constrained in their wanderings by water. They have to have frequent visits to water so cannot move too far from it. In drier
seasons the buffalo herds are easy to see as they move on mass between waterholes and watercourses. #aerial#buffalo
Wide awake at first light. The Tsaro Pride separates as a hunt begins. Each cat has her specific role in the hunt and knows exactly what she needs to do. Lions tend to keep to the same role in a hunt, perfecting it and increasing their chances
of success over time. When one of the lions dies, it takes time for the rest of the pride to readjust to perfecting their hunts again. Another example of how far reaching the effects of a single animal in a pride can be. #bigcats#thisismytrophy
They may look like they live a good life, wallowing in water all day but hippos are highly territorial and aggressive and problems arise for them in drier periods when the water levels are low and greater numbers are pushed into smaller areas. The peaceful wallowing becomes perforated by repeated squabbling that can become serious and lead to injury.
The small tusks of a Botswanan elephant. We’re seeing more and more tuskless elephants these days. Now a thing of the past in Botswana, the big tuskers have been hunted for decades and their genes slowly filtered out of the population. They will still appear and hopefully in time become more common in the population once more. But who knows, this shift towards small tusked and tuskless elephants may be extremely helpful in the survival of the species in a world where up to 30 000 elephants are poached each year. #saynotoivory#thejoyofelephants
There’s no feeling that can match the slight shock when an apex predator looks directly into your eyes. As well as we know these cats’ behaviours and the knowledge of being safe in our vehicle, there’s a part of the brain that wakes up and recognizes a true predator staring back. #ThisIsMyTrophy#BigCats
There’s a very warm feeling that comes from seeing an endangered species begin to thrive again in a land where wildlife was much more scarce due to human activities. We’re happy to see the painted dog population growing in the Selinda Reserve since we started to manage the concession – due in large part to the success of their prey species as well. We welcome another year of puppies and wish them every success. #painteddogs#conservationworks
Duba Plains’ swamp cats on one of their many channel crossings. As they grow and hunt with the pride on this Okavango island, they will have to negotiate endless crossings. Some shallow and others so deep they will need to swim. Moving through so much water really strengthens their legs and these two, like the rest of the Duba pride, will eventually grow into some of the largest lions that can be found anywhere. #bigcats#swamplions#okavangolions#thisismytrophy
Happy to hear that the U.K is looking to phase out the sale of all ivory. As the world leader in exports of antique and currently legal ivory carvings, a move like this can go a long way in the protection of elephants. With 20 000+ elephants poached for their ivory annually, any trade suggests that this is ok. When ivory is seen to be beautiful only on elephants, then it is far more likely that we can still watch them at sunset in the years to come. #saynotoivory#whenthebuyingstopsthekillingcantoo
It is hardly hanging from a thread - unlike the fate of the entire species. Due to the incessant poaching of rhinos for their horns, #rhinoswithoutborders has been moving dozens of rhinos to safety from poaching hotspots. Moving a two ton animal is no easy task and care must be taken not to stress the animal. A helicopter lift like this has been found to be the least stressful and gentlest way of moving them over a short distance. It is quick so less anesthetic is needed and the rhino can be on its feet again in no time. This #WorldRhinoDay we would like to thank you all for the support and donations which has made this project a success. We still have a lot of work ahead but there are tangible results and it has been amazing to see the work of this extraordinary team making a real difference in the world. To find out more, visit www.rhinoswithoutborders.com
Time waits for nobody. In the 6 months since @dereckjoubert and I have been away from Duba Plains, the seasons have changed. The waters have receded and risen again. The buffalos follow green grass; herds coming and going through the channels and islands. The egrets flock through golden light, thick with dust and mayflies and those powerful, muscled, regal Okavango lions still follow and watch closely for any opportunities. Duba Plains remains as we have always known it. Above all and without a shadow of a doubt, it remains our home and it is so good to be back in this land that carries on without us, but that keeps our souls always. #HomeAtLast
I took a seaside break with @dereckjoubert. A trip quite different for us but there is something very special about the Western Cape coast of South Africa with its massively productive ocean current, cold water and that kelp smell. As we spend most of our time in the dusty savannah, seeing the endless expanse of water is really refreshing and definitely invigorating. #ocean#saltyair
Snuggled together on a cold winter morning, although they will be off hunting soon! This is a species we're watching carefully. They're highly endangered painted dogs but we're seeing encouraging signs of them doing well in protected areas. We will have to keep working to protect more wild land. #painteddogs#endangeredspecies#conservation.
Straddling that branch. While leopards are the arboreal kings of the big cat world, it's not that unusual for lions to make their way into a canopy. It makes perfect sense. Not only is it the best possible vantage point but it will be cool, shaded by leaves and surrounded by a breeze. There will also likely be fewer biting insects. In fact it's surprising that lions don't do this a great deal more. #thisismytrophy#bigcats#treelion