My East Africa, Madagascar & other wildlife photos More of my East Africa photos More of my Madagascar photos More of my other wildlife spotting photos

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 4: Zebra Crossing in Maasai Mara

4 September 2009.
The Maasai Mara. Highlands of Kenya: the altitude is well above 1500 meters. Vast hilly plains, the occasional acacia tree in the dry grass savannah landscape. Only cut through by some - dry - rivers with abundant green shrub and trees.

We encountered loads of small groups of Grant's Zebras. We also encountered the tails of the Great Migration: flocks of tens up to a few thousands of Zebras and Wildebeests. A great sight! Not as dense and migrating as you would expect, but this was only the 'achterhoede' as they say in Dutch.

With these Zebra photos you can grasp a bit of the vastness of the landscape. You feel the sun almost burning. The silence, only disturbed by the grazing sounds, the occasional - yeah what sound do Zebras make? I've forgotten it by now :-)

On the back of the Zebra you can see 2 - probably male - Wattled Starlings (Lelspreeuwen, Creatophora cinerea). If they are in their breeding period, their upper heads are yellow and they have a big black wattle (lel) under their chins. Now they are just piggy-back riding the Zebra.

For those who like the biological details:
Click a link and you'll go to the Flickr photo page for that rank in the biological classification. Or have a look in the 'Find wildlife photos' menu item on the left.

Phylum: Chordata; Vertebrates / Gewervelden
Class: Mammalia; Mammals / Zoogdieren
Order: Perissodactyla; Odd-toed Ungulates / Onevenhoevigen
Suborder: Hippomorpha; Horses and allies / Paardachtigen
Family: Equidae; Horses and allies / Paardachtigen
Genus: Equus; Horses / Paarden
Species: Equus quagga; Plains Zebra / Steppezebra
Subspecies: Equus quagga boehmi; Grant's Zebra / Grantzebra

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 4: Male lions in the Maasai Mara

4 September 2009.
Also this day in Maasai Mara we encountered several groups of lions. Just before lunch we took a side path. There it was. Hiding under a tree, high grass and shrub: a young male lion. Behind him another one, not well visible. If only they would get up.

They got up! The male lions walked behind each other. Right into the shrub, down into a ditch, out of sight. This was our bad luck. Going off the road is not alowed in Maasai Mara, for that you will have to go to Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. So we drove off, crossed a small bridge that overspanned the ditch the lions walked into about 200 meters to our right. Then we discovered a small track running alongside the ditch! We took the turn and luckily we saw the lions appearing out of the shrub and the ditch.

They decided to cross our track and walk past our overland truck on both sides. Standing there. Lying around. Rolling over. Taking a small walk, splitting up. Walking towards the camera. Posing in the landscape. The biggest of the 2 lions lied even so close to us that you could see every hair, scratch and fly on his face. Just a couple of feet from our truck! They proved to be great shots. Great present right before a well deserved lunch after a 5 hour game drive.

For those who like the biological details:
Click a link and you'll go to the Flickr photo page for that rank in the biological classification. Or have a look in the 'Find wildlife photos' menu item on the left.

Phylum: Chordata; Vertebrates / Gewervelden
Class: Mammalia; Mammals / Zoogdieren
Order: Carnivora; Carnivores / Carnivoren
Suborder: ; Cat-like carnivores / Katachtigen
Family: Felidae; Cats / Katten
Subfamily: Pantherinae; Big Cats / Grote Katten
Genus: Panthera; Lions, Leopards, Tigers / Leeuwen, Luipaarden, Tijgers
Species: Panthera leo; Lion / Leeuw
Subspecies: Panthera leo nubica; East African Lion / Oost-Afrikaanse Leeuw

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Conservation Status for Photographed Wildlife

You've probably heard of the Red List. The IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, produces this list. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A lot of species are endangered or almost extinct. The Red List is needed to focus on the conservation of the right species.
I've added the Conservation Status for wildlife I photographed. With every species and subspecies in my Biological Classification menu (see the menu on the left as well). You can see the little icon if you go down to the species and subspecies level. If you hover over it with your mouse, it has a tooltip text explaining the icon, e.g. "Conservation status: Near Threatened". And at the bottom of that page you can find some stats about the number of animals with a certain Conservation Status.


Species are classified in nine groups, set through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.

  • Extinct (EX) - No individuals remaining.

  • Extinct in the Wild (EW) - Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.

  • Critically Endangered (CR) - Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

  • Endangered (EN) - High risk of extinction in the wild.

  • Vulnerable (VU) - High risk of endangerment in the wild.

  • Near Threatened (NT) - Likely to become endangered in the near future.

  • Least Concern (LC) - Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

  • Data Deficient (DD) - Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.

  • Not Evaluated (NE) - Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term "threatened" is a grouping of three categories: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.

Source: Wikipedia.
See also: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Madagascar Dag 2: Tomaatkikker

26 juli 2008.
Ok, weer foto's uit Exotic Reserve Peyrieras. Wat inhoudt dat de beesten in gevangenschap zitten. De 'kooi' waar dit beest in zit is groter dan zijn territorium in het wild, dus hij zal het niet zo erg vinden. In de ruimte waar dit beest rondhopt door de modder - het regende lekker - zet een dierentuin een complete kolonie apen. Dus erg slecht zal ie het niet gehad hebben.

En als ie wel slechte zin heeft, dan scheidt ie gewoon een plakkerig slijmschuim uit dat je ogen en mond irriteren als je 'm probeert op te eten. Ik heb het hier over de Madagaskar Tomaatkikker. Een gek, tomaatgroot en -kleurig beest dat alleen op Madagskar voorkomt. Hij is wel enigszins bedreigd (Near Threatened), dus dat is wat minder. Maar hij staat er beter voor dan de meeste diersoorten op Madagaskar. Helaas gaat dat daar niet helemaal lekker. Versnippering en (illegale) houtkap zorgen voor het verdwijnen van habitat en verregaande erosie. De hooglanden van Madagaskar waren ooit allemaal bos. Nu is het meeste rijstveld, landbouwgrond, onbebouwd of kaal weggespoeld. Beetje jammer.

Ik heb deze Tomaatkikker maar als Dyscophus antongilii aangemerkt. Binnen het geslacht Dyscophus - Tomaatkikkers - zijn nog 2 andere soorten. Mocht iemand mij met zekerheid kunnen vertellen of dit inderdaad die Dyscophus antongilii is of een van zijn broertjes, laat dan commentaar achter! (hier of liever op Flickr)

De Tomaatkikker behoort verder tot de familie van Smalbekkikkers. Wat me weer aan die mop doet denken. Ken je die mop van die breedbekkikkers? Ze bestaan niet. Er bestaan dus geen breedbekkikkers. Arme ooievaar...