Brian and his group have been walking every day in the African bush, often with the objective of just sitting quietly watching elephants do what elephants do. Along the way, however, the more subtle stories of the African bush is often revealed. Here Brian’s wife, Dee, is examining a tusk from another elephant that also died in the 2012 drought.
Category Archives: Travel Journal
Brian and his safari group met Sylvester the cheetah at Elephant Camp near Victoria Falls recently. This magnificent cat was found barely alive after his mother was chased off and his siblings killed by a lion in April 2010. Named after the warden who found him, Sylvester is now an ambassador for his species, educating both students and tourists from around Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe, Elephants used to be culled in large numbers, keeping the ever growing populations in check. This elephant and several more were just youngsters when their herd was killed, and are now kept in the semi-wild environment of the expansive property of Elephant Camp, next to Victoria Falls National Park, where Brian spent two nights with his safari group. Poaching has returned to levels not seen since the late 1980′s to many countries in Africa, with much of the illegal ivory heading straight to Asian markets. This has re-ignited the fear that these magnificent keystone animals may soon disappear from much of their range. Some estimates indicate that 80 elephants a day are disappearing from the continent. Brian wrote in a recent email that “every wild elephant I see, I drink in the sighting and celebrate their presence.”
Brian is seen here examining a fresh Wild dog kill of an impala. Clive Stockhil, wearing the cowboy hat, joined Brian for 7 days of camping at Mana Pools National park in Zimbabwe last week. Clive is a Wild dog expert, and is the founder of the Save Valley Conservancy in southern Zimbabwe, an important stronghold for wild dog, rhino and elephant. He’s a highly respected conservationist who won the 2013 Prince William Tusk Conservation Award for lifetime conservation work. Brian reported that it was a sincere privilege to spend so much quality time with one of Africa’s great wildlife heroes!
This week on the CBC’s The Homestretch, Brian Keating speaks about his reunion with Mudzi the elephant – a bull he met over a decade ago.
Brian approached this pack of Wild Dogs, Africa’s equivalent to our wolves, on his bum! He did what he describes as a “bum shuffle”, slowly moving into position hardly 15 meters from these incredible carnivores. Mana Pools National Park has about 6 packs of dogs denning this year, and these animals are incredibly relaxed around people who carefully and cautiously approach. The researchers in the area suggest that the dogs interpret human beings as “irrelevant”, making close observation of these rare and beautiful canids possible. No off-road driving is permitted in this park, and this provides a brilliant option. Brian was with Clive Stockhil and Lin Barrie, two well known Zimbabwean wild dog experts and conservationists during his week of searching for this remarkable predator.
Brian spent the last week in Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, camping with some of his best Zimbabwe friends before meeting up with his next safari group. Each evening he and his buddies were treated to an excellent sunset like this one, and following that, all night, the sounds of a vibrant ecosystem: hyena, leopard, lion, hippo, and buffalo. These were just some of the nocturnal guests that ventured into his little riverside tented camp, entertaining them with their presence of vocalizations or feeding!
One meter from their tent, Brian and Dee watch and photograph a magnificent and relaxed bull elephant. They are safely standing on a sandy ledge several meters above the Zambezi River in Mana Pools National park, a park famous for these gentle giants. Their good friend, Haggis Black, a physician from South Africa and fellow Africa wildlife enthusiast snapped this amazing photograph.
Brian meets his newest group of adventurers today at the beautiful Victoria Falls. A breathtaking site, marking the beginning of an exciting journey in Zimbabwe.
Brian “hit gold” this week, when he found a pack of eight wild dogs feeding on their kill in Zimbabwe.