Wildlife

Tennessee Tragedy

The painted wolf seen being killed by a crocodile in the BBC “Dynasties” film was called Tennessee. She was a two-year-old daughter of Blacktip’s. This incident upset me greatly and still does. This is what I wrote in my diary afterwards and reproduced in my book “Painted Wolves: A Wild Dog’s Life”, which I wrote with Peter Blinston. I don’t want to show the graphic pictures in the book, because it is still too upsetting to see and far more disturbing than my baboon shots. Instead, this describes my gut feelings at the time for a wolf cut short in her prime and my pictures show her in happier moments of her life.

Wildlife-Human Conflicts: Proposed Solutions for Conservation

Wildlife poaching inside Africa’s National Parks is a growing problem, even in places where trophy hunting has been permitted on the boundaries for decades. Communities dependent on seasonal hunting jobs and rations of “game meat” still live well below the poverty line. In many cases trophy hunting is no longer strictly regulated or controlled, leading to the hunting of the biggest and fittest animals from prides and herds entering hunting concessions from the safety of protected parks. This means that trophy hunting is not sustainable in the future.

Close Encounters of the Gorilla Kind (2)

“Stand your ground. Stand tall and don’t look him directly in the eyes,” said the guide, calmly.

That’s all very well, but when standing in front of a six foot 500 pound silverback gorilla it was difficult to compose myself and follow his instructions. One minute I had been observing the silverback sitting quietly in a glade; the next minute he stood up, ran over and mock-charged me. He let out a deep, grumbling rumbling sound from deep in his belly: a silverback warning intended to intimidate without becoming physical.

Close Encounters of the Gorilla Kind (1)

I was instructed to leave everything behind except my camera. I left my rucksack on the dense forest floor and followed my guide, my excitement building. A variety of birds were perched on high singing. I spotted a fabulous looking Blue-headed coucal, its deep and resonant song calling through the forest. The air was heavy with a heady mix of heat and humidity.
A clearing in the dense forest afforded a unique view: Rwanda to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the west. I was in Mgahinga National Park, a least known about gem in south western Uganda.