Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 26/07/2012

Not Quite Google Street View


They say a picture paints a thousand words, so perhaps instead of all my inane ramblings whilst out on the Mara I should have simply posted this image and let the photograph do the talking itself; it certainly would have saved me some work (mind you it’s not work when you enjoy doing it, even if the end party doesn’t*). As I mentioned in one of my previous blog entries I tried something a little different this time whilst roaming the Masai plains; rather than uber close-up portraits of the animals I wanted to show them in their natural surroundings. This desire came in part from numerous trips to zoos in close succession where I felt that another portrait of the same animal was left lacking but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that was lacking and then it hit me… it wasn’t the animal, it was its environment that was detracting from my final images. That’s not to bad mouth the zoos in any way, I have the highest regards for all the establishments I visit and the way they look after and care (I choose that last word carefully.. it’s evident that the animals are cared for**, you only need to witness all the offspring each year to know that the animals are happy (if they weren’t they wouldn’t breed). I was finding I couldn’t get a wider shot of a lot of the animals without bars or fences getting in the way (if only all zoos were like Dartmoor or Singapore Zoo where the cages are open with a “Ha Ha” stopping the animals being able to climb over the enclosure wall (and electric wires)) hence my desire, whilst in Kenya to try something different.

Speaking of new borns, one of the Zoos I regularly visit has just released news of three very special new additions, Eurasian Lynx cubs. I’m not a domestic cat lover, and at best I can tolerate domesticated dogs – but even my stoney heart couldn’t help but be melted but picutres of these absolutely adorable kittens. Guess where I’m going next?

Actually there is another zoo I want to go to, one I haven’t been to for a good few months and which I miss… Dartmoor Zoo. They too have a new addition to the fold, a baby Tapir an animal that has gone unlisted in the top 100 list of animals I hold affection for to somewhere in the top 20 after a number of close encounters. To most, a baby tapir might look a little ungainly, other might think it’s not the most attractive of beasts (I hope they say it quietly so as not to offend it!), to me, however, they are truly gorgeous and I’d be more inclined to want to pet it than I would a house moggy. Unfortunately with a number of commitments on the horizon over the next few weeks I won’t have an opportunity to visit the Zoo (it’s 200 miles away, along a road that gets absolutely chock a block at this time of year) but I really must find the time… as much to see the staff as the animals!

*This is the point in the conversation, Dear Reader, when you interject and say how much you have enjoyed my Missives From The Mara….. …….. …….. I’m waiting…. well?

** I couldn’t do it, look after the animals I mean, not care for them.. the problem would be that I would care too much if I were to look after them day in day out. I’d be devastated if anything were to happen to them and I don’t think I could make the type of calls that have to be made when the animals are suffering and the best thing is to let them go. I really, really couldn’t do it, hats off to those who can.

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