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Ubejane Elephant

Ubejane Elephant
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-01-02
Categories: Mammals, Savannah
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 200, C-PL 86mm Marumi
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/50 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa, Mammals of Africa, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park 1, A study in Mammalogy (mammals) 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-01-31 22:11
Viewed: 6506
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African elephant - Loxodonta Africana

Taken at the Bhejane hide in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. I was watching a white rhino lying in the mud when this bull elephant appeared on the scene. I've never seen a rhino vamoose so quickly, and the elephant claimed the mud pool without any further incident. He carried on for about half an hour, splashing and enjoying himself in the gooey mud.

Some time ago this scene might very well have turned into a different outcome as the park had numerous incidents of rhino kills. The elephants regularly confronted the rhinos with disastrous outcomes to the rhino population. However, what I saw here made me realise that the program introduced by the KwaZulu-Natal Parks Board has paid off. See summary notes on the project below.

The lack of shade and colour is due to a very dark & cloudy afternoon. The very slow shutter speed & movement played its part to reduce sharpness.

Note: I have included a workshop with a supplementary photo, showing what happened directly after the mud bath. I hope you enjoy it.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Introduced Elephant Project

by Dr. Rob Slotow

The Problem
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park extends over 100 000ha of savanna, & includes a wide range of animal species, including the "big five".

A problem has arisen in the Park because young male elephants are killing black and white rhino. About 40 rhino have been killed by the elephants. This behaviour was ascribed to young bull elephants in musth. Musth is a state of heightened aggression associated with reproduction, and the young elephants are entering musth at around 18 years old, instead of at about 30. The normal pattern is for bulls to gradually enter musth, with the period lengthening with each event. The young bulls are entering full musth for up to 3 months at a time!

The elephant of HIP were reintroduced from Kruger Park from the early 1980's, and included mainly young orphans from culling operations. There are thus no older bulls in the park.

The Solution.
The solution to the problem is to create a structured bull hierarchy in the Park. Older bulls (about 35 years old) will be captured in pairs in Kruger National Park, and translocated to HIP in a specially built trailer. The older bulls should suppress the musth behaviour of the younger bulls, and allow the younger bulls to become experienced in dealing with the consequences of musth.

Ten bulls will be released in five pairs. The bulls will all be radio-collared, and Tarryne Burke, employed by the University of Natal will follow the elephants around their new home. She will study their movement patterns, and also note associations between them and the resident young bulls, and the breeding herds. Source.

Camera Settings
ISO setting 200
Aperture f/9
Shutter speed 1/50
Focal length - 170mm

Post Processing was done with ArcSoft Photo Studio 5.5

pauljk, petrudamsa, samos, cdplayer, AdrianW, goutham_ramesh, twosixbw, Dyker, saguzar, Shoot_Score, Rehanna, Miss_Piggy, betsie has marked this note useful
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why oh why?winterpalace 3 12-04 06:33
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • pauljk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 204 W: 64 N: 65] (226)
  • [2006-01-31 22:32]
  • [2] [+]

Hi Loot,
Great timing on this capture. I particularly like the motion blur. I think I would have tried to shoot a little wider open giving a bit of seperation from the background.

Great shot, Loot. Good colours and the sense of moving gives dynamic to the photo.

Regards, Petru

I love this image Loot!
I feel like I on the other side of the hill watching him come across. Excellent color, DOF and POV! I just had to stop by and see what you have produce. :))

Very nice notes!

Hi Loot,

Superb picture accompanied by a very useful note. I have seen this program on NatGeo/Discovery channel where they have discussed this problem!!.
Superb action shot, The kicking of the mud is frozen very well.
TFS and very good POV!!! (Mail Later)

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2006-12-29 14:51]

Hello Loot
Elephants are my favourites and I like to read about this success story. I have seen about this on 50/50 some time ago, but I never heard what was the final outcome. Thanks for this story I now know that peace has been restored in 'paradise'. Lovely photo to support the story and what an interesting surprise workshop. ;-)
PS. I'm looking through your portfolio and notes and I am really enjoying it.

Hi Loot,
I've missed this pic, I don't know the reason, it's a perfect documental of another of results of human intervention in nature, creating "small" natural parks where a lot species must to live without the opportunity to go out of it with success. Surely this enourmous beast found a lots of problems out of parks boundaries if not the death.
Tecnically well action taken in poor light conditions. A pity people avoid sad stories, we can learn much about them.
Best regards

Uve never seen a rhino vamoose so quickly, eh!

Well check my comments on the WS!

And to think I have an idea for a theme coming UP! ;)

Hello Loot

Hierdie selfde gedrag waarvan jy raporteer het ook in die Pilansberg reservaat gebeur en hulle het uiteindelik dieselfde oplosssing toegepas met groot sukses. Dit wys net weereens dat die mens baie versigtig moet wees wanneer ons inmeng in die natuur sonder dat ons ondervinding het van wat die resultaat gaan wees. Weereens het ek jou vertelling geniet en die wyse hoe jy dit met jou navorsing onderstreep het. Ek moet s die werkswinkel het nogal my o laat rek.


Hi Loot - I cannot believe that people could not appreciate this photo! It is the most incredible photo - it displays every aspect of nature - I would have liked to have a picture like this framed!! - well done Loot

Hallo Loot
Looking at this image it strongly reminds me of an advertisement for Sasol fuel shown on our local television some time ago. Just at that stage it was a baby in a pram preparing for the start up. This is exactly what I see when I look at this image. It seems as if this elephant is gearing up for the big start of the race. No all jokes aside. This is a splendid and real great capture of one of the most characteristic habits for an elephant enjoying himself in the mud and in his natural surrounding. The movement captured and displayed in this lovely action shot is splendid.
ps. Thanks for the interesting notes as always.

Hi Loot

I do not think to be the only member of TN not to know that Elephants kill Rhinos!



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