Click HERE - A happy herd of elephants parading into a refreshing water hole;
Click HERE - a lioness and her two cubs
Click HERE - some brief rhino action
Click HERE - the impressive coordinated flight of red-billed quelea birds
So many beautiful animals. Today we saw 7 endangered black rhinos, a pride of 7 lions, about 50 elephants, well over two dozen giraffes and countless zebra, oryx and springbok. Some jackals, warthogs, ostriches, kudu, impalas, eagles, meerkats and mongoose, owls and other large and small birds as well. Two dead zebras as well. It is (surprise surprise) a particularly hot and dry year, so there are more animals clustered around the watering holes. This is fortunate for us, but not for them. Still, today was unforgettably awesome. Seeing lions in the wild is breathtaking. Seeing a herd of elephants parading into the water hole was just magical - I felt a great joy watching them frolic in the water, cooling themselves off and playing together. It was also bittersweet given what humans are doing to wildlife and wild places all over the earth. There is fortunately a program in place whereby many elephants have their tusks cut by rangers to protect them from hunters (same goes for many of the rhinos with their horns). That people could hunt these animals for trophies or money or pseudo-medicine seems even more repugnant to me after seeing their beauty (and intelligence) firsthand again today. It is good to see these last remaining pockets of wildness in the world - a reminder of what things were like before humans began trying to pave, exploit, commodify, wrap in plastic, pollute and uglify every natural wild place on earth!
We are at Etosha National Park, which covers over 22,000 square kilometers in Namibia. It is home to and protects countless springbok,25000 zebras, 4500 giraffes, 2500 elephants and 500 lions among many many other species. The number of rhinos is kept secret as yet another measure against hunters/poachers.