Here is another sampling of new animals that I have added to my portfolio through my travels in Kenya and Tanzania and I hope that the photos put a smile on your face as the subjects are quite comical looking.
This first looks like it was created to be in a Disney animated cartoon, but it is actually quite deadly:
SECRETARY BIRD – It may look funny, but this is a powerful bird with the longest legs of any raptor. The bird gets its name from its crest of about 20 black tipped long feathers that look like the quill pens 19th century office workers used to tuck behind their ears.
In addition, the dark feathers that cover the upper part of their long legs look like the breeches also worn at the time. Secretary birds are fierce predators and their prey includes snakes, reptiles, amphibians, tortoises, rats and other small mammals as well as small game birds.
Incidentally, the secretary bird did appear in a 1977 Disney animated feature, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks:”
The next photo got me into a kerfluffle on social media, for when I posted it someone accused me of photoshopping the animals’ coloration. For the record I did not.
TOPI – Topi are antelopes that are found in large numbers in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park where I was fortunate to get some photos. They are very gregarious and live in large herds. They are also quite comfortable sharing their territory with other antelopes such as wildebeest as well as zebras and ostriches.
Topi have a very sophisticated social structure with male and females sharing in the defense of their territory from intruding topi infiltrators. The male has an actual “stomping ground” (the actual derivation of that phrase is unknown) usually an elevated, prominent area. The male topi marks that ground with scent glands and dung. If a challenger appears, both males will get down on their knees and duel with their horns – quite a unique fighting stance.
The topi has very striking coloring. The coat is reddish-brown to purplish red and in sunlight is iridescent. Their faces and the upper part of their legs have black patches. The bottom half of their limbs have distinct tan colorings making it look as those they are wearing knee-highs. I think they look like a bunch of different animal parts were used to make one topi.
What really endeared them to me is their expression:
I think this last animal is quite exotic and beautiful:
Look at its face – quite extraordinary (from the internet):
It is called a gerenuk, but can you guess its other name? Let me give you a hint (also from the internet);
Give up? It is called a giraffe-gazelle and it uses its very long neck and ability to stand on its hind legs to reach for those succulent green morsels at the upper parts of bushes and trees. Yet despite this talent, the gerenuk population is very vulnerable due to loss of habitat. Sightings are very rare, which is why I had to rely on the above internet pics, as I only had one sighting of a young male who quickly disappeared into the brush after a quick photo.
The gerenuk as well as so many other members of the animal kingdom are threatened with extinction in our lifetime. There are organizations that are trying to conserve and in some cases actually repopulate the gerenuk and they deserve our respect and support for the world would be a very sad place without these beautiful creatures.
Hope you are enjoying my animal adventures – there are lots more to come!
ChasingDreams will be on holiday hiatus next week – bur will be back in the New Year!