Mother On Guard

Elephants are one of my most favorite animals to photograph in Africa.  I think it is a combination of their sheer size, their sense of family, and the efforts that they go to in protection their young.  More importantly is the needless killing over poaching for their ivory.  With an estimated killing of more than 30 elephants per day (1), one has to wonder just how much longer we will be able to view these magnificent animals (2).  With an estimated population of 70 – 80,000 free roaming elephants in Tanzaina, the government of Tanzaina is stepping up their efforts in combating poaching.

In the image below, a mother is  protecting her exhausted calve after the young one finished playing near the side of the Tarangire River.  Almost always, the mother places herself in front of the her young, often with only the shape of the young ones partially visible to photograph.  I consider myself lucky to have captured this image.

Nikon D3x, 200-400mm f/4.0 @ 400mm, ISO 320, 1/250 sec at f/5.6; Google maps location for this image.