Friday, February 14, 2020

My African Animal Valentine by Lucy Burdette



LUCY BURDETTE: Reading a good book is one great way of showing us another life, another setting, another point of view. For me, traveling to a strange world does a similar thing, although with the added intensity of being immersed in the scene here and now. I realize that I'm very fortunate to have this kind of opportunity and I try to use that knowledge in my life. We still donate money every year to the Conservation Ecology Centre in Cape Otway, Australia, after meeting koalas and kangaroos and the endangered tiger quoll. And now, after two weeks in Africa, there are more indelible footprints on my soul...


my favorite elephant photo

The distressing news first: Marauding Europeans decimated the wildlife population of Africa in the 19th century, slaughtering elephants and other large game animals. Now game parks are slowly being established to allow the animals to roam in their natural habitat, and hopefully revive the threatened species. People are asking questions such as what is our responsibility to these animals as humans at the top of the food chain? And as animals are reintroduced to their native habitats, what really belongs there as opposed to what do tourists and hunters want to see? Should humans be banned altogether?

Poachers still threaten elephants for their ivory tusks, and especially rhinoceros for their horns, which have magical properties according to Chinese and Malaysian customers. I won't go into the sickening details, but the danger is so powerful that safari guests are asked not to post pictures of rhinos if they see them. Why? Because poachers use their digital information to locate and attack the animals--right where they're being preserved! So now we have new organizations to support, the World Wildlife Federation and the Community Conservation Fund of Africa.

And now for your animal Valentine...
zebra!


Mala Mala--aren't they incredible? Who designed such a thing?

Hippos--don't get too close!


Cape buffalo--don't tangle with them either!
We absolutely loved watching the elephants play in the water and teach the babies to drink and hose themselves off. The back of the newest babies' ears was a magical pale pink

Not interested in us--he'd already eaten


Adolescents lounging--the ennui is catching


But there's no place like home with my own wildlife

Happy Valentine's Day to each of you red readers! We are so glad you are part of our family!

52 comments:

  1. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures, Lucy . . . surely it is our responsibility to help protect and care for these amazing animals . . . .

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  2. Wonderful pictures. I'm so jealous. Someday, I'll get over there for a photo safari.

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    1. I hope you do Mark--for an animal and nature lover, it's an amazing place to visit

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  3. Rhys, I so enjoyed the pictures you posted on FB while you were visiting Africa, and these photos here today are just amazing, too (And the last one is precious, of course). I think your trip has to be one of the best possible ones to go on. I wish that big game hunting was banned, and I worry that our country's current trend toward allowing animal trophies into the country will lead to more disaster. Who would have thought just posting pictures of the rhinos would cause them harm. I'm certainly glad you all were warned of that. There's a book I've got in my cart on Amazon entitled The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy (2000), and here's part of the description. "A thrilling journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive. If, as many recent nonfiction bestsellers have revealed, animals possess emotions and awareness, they must also have stories. In The White Bone, a novel imagined entirely from the perspective of African elephants, Barbara Gowdy creates a world whole and separate that yet illuminates our own."

    Thank you for a lovely Valentine's Day post, Lucy.

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    1. You're certainly welcome Kathy! I've had that book on my list--haven't read more than a few pages this week of anything, because our personal wildlife--the grandchildren and grand nephews have been visiting!

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    2. Oops. I just saw where I addressed the beginning to Rhys instead of you, Lucy. Of course I meant you. 😁

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  4. Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for these beautiful photos. I hope we humans can learn and accept that with great power comes great responsibility and do our part to save all of these magnificent animals.

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    1. oh gosh, I hope so Cindy. We humans seem so slow to learn anything...

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  5. Those pictures : what a good way to begin my day.
    Happy Valentine's Day Lucy, Reds, commenters and readers ! Love you all !

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  6. Oh my goodness, what fabulous photos, Lucy. Thank you for this animal valentine! I echo what Cindy says -- may we humans wake up to our responsibilities towards all beings on this planet of ours...

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  7. Loved this, Lucy! Wondering if you’re planning to send Haley on safari...
    I’ll be making my valentine a special dinner and then we’ll watch the new Shaun the Sheep movie Farmageddon on Netflix (isn’t it romantic!) happy Valentine’s Day everyone 😍

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    1. I can't think that Hayley will go to Africa, but come back Sunday for something different:). Happy Valentine's Day!

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  8. Love your photos and have a happy family day!

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  9. Happy Valentines Day to all the Reds and followers!

    Loved your photos, Lucy. Funny coincidence: I was at a lunch meeting this week held in an event space adjoining the African Safari exhibit at the Columbus Zoo. It's too cold in Columbus right now for most of the animals to venture out, but we did have five zebras keeping us company just outside the wall of windows. So your photos are my second zebra encounter of the week!

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    1. that's so cool Susan! how could you concentrate on anything else??

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  10. "And now, after two weeks in Africa, there are more indelible footprints on my soul..." This made me all weepy this morning. Thank you, Lucy Roberta, for taking us on a virtual safari.

    So many years ago, mid eighties, I had the opportunity to combine a couple of weeks working in an isolated clinic with a photo safari to Africa. All up, all out it was maybe $1500, and tax deductible because it included CEUs.

    I couldn't afford it. I regret it at least three times a year. That and the still life I didn't buy in Montmartre. It was about 600 francs, yes, that long ago.

    Now I can't physically tolerate the safari nor climbing the hill to Montmartre.

    Don't leave anything until tomorrow.

    That's why God made credit cards.

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    1. Oh Ann, what smart advice for all of us! sending big hugs to you and Julie

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  11. What fabulous shots, Lucy. I so enjoyed the posts from your trip. One of the big thrills of my life was getting up close to elephants

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    1. Glad you had that chance Rhys, maybe another visits with the elephants in the future!

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  12. Thank you for the animal valentine! How fortunate you were to be able to see those beautiful animals. I worry too that they won't always be there which is why I am of two minds about zoos.

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    1. I know, zoos are a conundrum. I'd rather see them developed to return to the wild--and be protected there!

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    2. Judi, you're the winner of my giveaway yesterday for THE ENEMY WE DON'T KNOW. Please email me at lizmilliron AT gmail DOT com to claim your prize.

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  13. What wonderful pictures. We saw a movie over Christmas with Rob Lowe, where he plays a bush pilot in Africa. Most of the action takes place on a reserve for orphaned elephants. We watched it for Rob Lowe, but it was a cute movie and the baby elephants were funny.

    Happy Valentines Day!

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  14. Shalom Reds and fans. And Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. What marvelous photos. I’ve never been to Africa and probably never will. The closest I’ve been has been to watch The African Queen. I loved the scene in which Humphrey Bogart imitates the animal sounds. And Katherine Hepburn’s response to their white water experience. The photos are marvelous. I hope that we as a species will develop the will to stop poaching once and for all.

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    1. Oh I sure hope so David. I need to rewatch that wonderful movie--what amazing stars they were!

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  15. Wasn't that a good film? We watched it, too. Cute, but it brought up some interesting perspectives, too.

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    1. Yes, it did. And we thought we were just getting Rob Lowe. :)

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  16. That was meant to be in response to Liz.

    Because of my long marriage to a wildlife photographer, I've been lucky enough to see loads of wildlife in the US, Australia, and in Tanzania. The herds of native animals in Yellowstone, for instance, do not begin to compare with the masses of wild animals in Africa. It took my breath away to see, literally, 100,000 flamingos on Lake Momo, and tens of thousands of zebra and gnus pouring back and forth over the Mara River, near the Kenyan border, part of the path of the Great Migration. The day we saw roughly 300 elephants will live forever in my memory. The herds of bison and antelope in the US cannot begin to compare, despite the fact that bison and elk and other species were once plentiful in North America.

    These are treasures that we should most definitely protect. Once they are gone, no amount of money could ever bring them back.

    A sweet Valentine's Day to all, dear Reds.

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    1. thank you Karen. I wonder if we could entice your husband to co-write a blog with you one day? we would love to see some of his photos!

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    2. That is kind of you to invite us. I'll ask him, but I'm not sure what we could write about.

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  17. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Thanks for a lovely way to start the day, Roberta! Your photos are beyond wonderful.

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  18. I could look at those photos all day, but as usual T-Bone stole the show. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  19. My cousin did a photo trip to Africa, she loved it so much she went again has a combination birthday Christmas gift from her family. She took some marvelous pictures. I'm sure she would love to go again. Hope everyone has a great Valentine's day with your favorite love.

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  20. Thank you for the photos--there's a book on animal symbolism--it reminds me of the deep connection we share with the animals of this world. And T-Bone, well, darling that he is, so happy to see him!

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    1. Yes we need to remember and honor that connection Flora. And Tbone sends his thanks!

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  21. Love the photos!

    Happy Valentine's Day! Any recommendations for a good romance novel to read on Valentine's Day?

    Diana

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    1. Jenn's romantic comedies would be perfect for Valentine's day!

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    2. Thanks for the recommendation. I have the Christmas Keeper.

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  22. Love these photos, Lucy--and especially T-bone! I just read this morning that elephants have the keenest sense of smell of any animal. Isn't that fascinating? They can smell water up to three miles away.

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

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    1. They are such wonderful animals Debs. There was a skeleton of one of them in the road, and all the elephants would stop by to snuffle him and pay homage. One of the guides said a group of elephants carried one of their elders' skulls around with them wherever they went. They had a true community

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  23. My brother loved Africa and went about 4 times before he died. His pictures were marvelous. I'm still on Facebook with his friend from Zimbabwe who often posts articles supporting game farms. While I don't really like killing animals for anything except food or safety, I think that game farms provide the environment for many animals, and the owners would protect their investments agaist poachers. The horror stories on poachers are awful!

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  24. Something went wrong yesterday when I tried to post, so hope this attempt will work.
    I urge all JRW's to go if you possibly can. Happy Valentines Day to you Reds and readers, I do love being a part of this community. Lucy/Roberta, what wonderful photos. I'm delighted you went on Safari; it's a unique experience which I had the good fortune to do a few years ago. A great time is during the annual migration when huge herds of wildebeest, zebras, antelopes etc. move north following where the best grazing. I was lucky enough to be there in July at the point when the great herd arrived at the banks of the Mara River in Kenya. We sat in the land cruiser for hours watching as wildebeest hovered on the steep banks of the river while the crocs waited for them. One, then another, and finally the herd surges into the water. The lucky ones make it across and up the other side. I urge all JRW's to go if you possibly can.

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