Kit and Caboodle

Meet Kit and Caboodle–little red foxes

This week I was fortunate to find an active fox den inside the Montreal city limits. On the day I was there, patiently waiting for 2 hours, I was lucky to meet two of the six fox kits living in the den. They look to be just about a month or so old and hopefully I will get back for a better look next week. I am very grateful they decided to come out midday to explore their surroundings and have a little tossle with each other.

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Ever thought of going on an African Safari? Looking for some Wild! Life? Join me in May 2016 for a fabulous 11 night safari in South Africa! Check out more here.

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Posted in animal, wildlife Tagged , , , , , |

South Africa Safari 2016!

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Looking for some Wild! Life? Join me in May 2016 for a fabulous 11 night safari in South Africa! More details coming soon, but if you are curious, please download the teaser below for a sneak peek at what is in store. If you are interested in more details, please sign up for my newsletter here.  Or feel free to contact me here.

Take a look at the itinerary!

Download South Africa 2016 teaser!

Wondering what a safari looks like? Join me on a quick ride in my Land Rover !

 

Posted in wildlife

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime

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World Wildlife Day

Some nights as I lie awake remembering the moments I have spent in the company of Africa’s extraordinary wildlife, my mind drifts to a darker place and I can’t help but wonder if the animals I have photographed are still alive? If they are hunting, grazing, mating, playing, fighting–being. I lie awake wishing it was all a very bad dream…

Elephants, lions, rhinoceros, vultures, apes, wild dogs…the list goes on. They are disappearing under our watch. Slaughtered for body parts to be carved into fashion acccessories and sipped in magic elixirs, hunted for their meat and traded for money, trapped and sold for our entertainment and amusement. Black market animal trafficking is now estimated at a staggeing 7-9 BILLION dollars, not far behind drugs and weapons.

Sadly, the numbers do not lie…killing animals is BIG business.

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime: Elephants

Since 1930 Africa has lost 99% of its elephant population. There were approximately 10 million elephants in the 1930’s and the African Wildlife Foundation now estimates the population closer to 470,000 individuals. While the elphant numbers dwindle, the price of ivory in China does anything but. Since 2010 ivory has exploded from $750 USD/kilo to $2,100/kilo.

tusksMagnificent tusks in the Mara North @seriancamps. © NJ Wight 2014  #seriousaboutwildlifecrime

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime: Lions

When I was born, approximately 200,000 lions roamed the plains of Africa. Today, 50+ years later, with a growing human population encroaching on thier ranges, there are an estimated 20,000 remaining. The decline is staggering. I cannot imagine a world without lions, and yet, it may happen in my lifetime. (See World Lion Day: Long Live the King)

wight_lions_MG_6721_MG_6721 An annoyed male in Mara north shares his feelings with a lioness when she refuses to let him see his cubs. @seriancamps ©NJ Wight 2014 #seriousaboutwildlifecrime

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime: Rhinoceros

I have been blessed to photograph both black and white rhinoceros. The rhino currently faces what is perhaps the most intense threat of all African wildlife. Rhino horn is now considered to be more valuable on the black market than cocaine and diamonds and at $60,000 kilo, it is by far the most valuable commodity in illicit wildlife trafficking business. In South Africa the penalty for trafficking in small amounts of cocaine starts at 5 years in prison. For rhino poaching the fine is a very affordable $14k. The numbers released from South Africa this year paint a dismal picture for the rhinos future. 2014 was a record breaking year for the country with the largest population, losing 1215 animals–210 more than 2013. D0uble the number of deaths of 2012.

1 every 8 hours…

The total number of slaughtered rhinos in South Africa since 2000 is now +3993.

Little Shek This 4 month old white rhino, nicknamed Shrek, was taken in the Sabo Sands in 2013. I often wonder if he is still playing on the beach… #seriousaboutwildlifecrime

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime: Wild Dog

With only 3-5,000 individuals left in the wild, the African wild dog is considered one of the most endagered animals in the world. A pack of dogs will traverse a range as big as 900 square miles and as the human population continues to grow and spread, the dogs are being forced to live in smaller and smaller areas. This presents more difficult hunting challenges and inevitably leads to deadly conflict with farmers and herders. The reduced roaming area has also weakened the gene pool for reproduciton. Closer contact with domestic animals has introduced rabies and distemper into the wild dog population, killing large numbers of dogs.

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Wild dog in the Sabi Sands. ©NJ Wight 2013 #seriousaboutwildlifenow

#seriousaboutwildlifecrime: Humans

Nelson Mandella said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

It is really up to all of us…

Please share and tweet with #seriousaboutwildlifecrime

 

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Posted in Africa, wildlife Tagged , , , , , , |

Jackson’s Chameleon: Love at First Sight

Jackson’s Chameleon: The Three Horned Chameleon

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When I travel to Africa and meet my guides for the first time, one of the first questions they ask is, “What are you hoping to see?” I always enjoy the startled expression that briefly lights up thier face when I say,”a chameleon.” I love chameleons and photographing them is very high on my wish list when I go on safari. I have had some very lucky encounters with South Africa’s flapneck chameleon-the lizard that first seduced me and ignited this love affair. This past November in Kenya I met his formidable cousin the Jackson’s chameleon and I fell hard. I realized very quickly I was a loose and easy woman when it came to loving little green reptiles.

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Trioceros jacksonii

Trioceros jacksonii, the three horned chameleon, gets it’s name from trioceros, a Greek derivative from the combined terms tri which means three, and keras which means horns.  These little lions are known for their fierce defensive displays where they can be seen hissing and lunging at their opponent, as well as doing battle with their unique and formidable horns. These unique looking lizards with their little mitten-like hands have wonderous eyes shaped like a dotted turret with a pupil. The male’s have three horns protruding from thier crest and their long and speedy tongues, extending 1.5 times their body length, can fully extend in .07 seconds.

Jackson’s chameleon Socializing

Jackson’s are solitary lizards and outside of their mating season will stick to themselves intimidating each other if territories are compromised. But when the days get hotter and longer and it is time to find a mate, males will begin a series of displays to initiate courtship with a lady-Jackson’s. As they sway and dance, lifting their spiny backs higher, they might stretch up their neck and open their mouth wide, displaying their powerful jaws hoping to convince her of their hunting prowess. They will also rapidly change colour creating a vibrant display meant to win her heart. And if a female happens to have eyes for two males, it will come down to a joust with horns to determine who will move on to the next round.

wight_missus_U7A9101_U7A9101Female Jackson’s moving along an acacia thron branch

The native home of this intriguing reptile is Mount Kenya, with it’s varied vegetation and high insect population. At some point, humans transported Jackson’s to Hawaii, where they have now made a home, thriving amongst the rich vegetation and plentiful insect population. Sadly, chameleons of all varietals are a very popular exotic pet and far too many of these creatures are now captured in the wild and then shipped around the world for private ownership.

Leapin’ Lizard

A male Jackson’s taking a leap from branch to leaf. (For larger images click here.)

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Creative Challenges

They certainly charm the camera, but are a challenge to capture. First, you have to find them and they are very well camoflauged. In the dark shadows of foliage, the small horns are long enough to throw off your depth of field! Trying to steady yourself as you reach in between branches with terrible light and relying on very low f-stops to compensate for slow speeds, they are a difficult to capture “end-to-end”–but I certainly never tire of trying! These photos of both a female and male Jackson’s were taken in Nairobi National Park, where they are not endemic, but where they have been living freely after being rescued and released in a wild but managed area that provides what they need. I feel blessed to have met them both.

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Why not check out Flapnecked Chameleons: Emerald Wonders.

If you like brightly coloured creatures, check out my post Photographing the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog.

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Promote Passion–Like, Share, Tweet…or do whatever it is you do! Thanks, NJ

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Posted in chameleon, Reptile, wildlife Tagged , , , , , , , |