The tongue of a giraffe

Giraffes have wonderfully long tongues to reach the farthest leaves on a tree. Did you known that a giraffe’s tongue can reach 50 cm? This giraffe was licking the salt stone at Pilanesberg Center, and felt the need to stick his tongue out at us!

Poor baby elephant

Life can be so cruel… This little elephant had been left alone by his family in Pilanesberg, and was wandering alone for a while, visibly getting weaker. This photo was taken this morning at Lengau Dam. When we drove past a second time, it was lying in the bush.

Later today a vet examined the poor little fellow, and discovered that he had a big lump in his throat. It was to deep for the vet to reach, and it obviously prevented the elephant from eating. The decision was taken to put him down. In the autopsy it was discovered that he had a big tree root stuck in his throat – a freak accident, one could say.

What a sad day!

Newborn springbok drinking

In some ways, it was a sad week in Pilanesberg National Park. A black rhino calf was killed by lions; a young cheetah was killed by a leopard; and a young elephant died after a tree root became stuck in its throat.

But the circle of life means that there is more than sadness in nature. We saw this newborn springbok lamb drinking his mother’s milk, ready to start a new life. Let’s hope it will be long and happy!

Elephant on black

In the Netherlands, ‘blackfoto’ is a huge trend, especially in horse photography, but in zoo photography as well. I love the moodiness of the black background and the way in which it brings forward the few lights on the subject.

Elephant photographed in Madikwe Game Reserve.

Rhino and pied crow

A rhino with a pied crow perched precariously on its upper horn.
 
I’m trying not to see this as a symbolic picture about the fate of the rhinos…
 
Usually the oxpeckers fulfill the role of personal grooms, but sometimes crows will try to find sustenance – or possibly a ride? – as well. The rhino wasn’t too happy about this visitor though and flapped his ears to scare it off.

Fighting giraffes

Giraffes seem such gentle animals, but looks can deceive. Giraffes fight by clobbering each other with their necks. Male giraffes fight for dominance in a certain area, and for the right to mate with the females in that area. A giraffe’s neck is a powerful weapon, and the clashes of neck against neck can sometimes be heard from afar.

Leopard

We went to Pilanesberg to spot some leopards, and actually we were quite successful. We saw a young male enjoying his catch about three meters from our car. Under a dense bush. Then there was a female with her catch – behind a tree. And then, the top of our sightings, a female with cub. In a very leafy tree, 30 meters away.

After three days we had seen spots, tails and whiskers, but little more than that. So when we arrived in Madikwe, we told our guide that we really would love to see a leopard with a complete body not hidden by bushes.

And we got what we came for! Leopards are not as often seen in Madikwe as in Pilanesberg, but we were lucky that this male had killed an impala two nights before and was still working his way through the carcass. He even deigned to look our way! Happy!