In 1996, Makaiko the Dolphin was driven from his pod in Japan and forced into a life of captivity – hauled from venue to venue in painful conditions and starved in a cruel bid to teach him tricks.
Driven mad by years of loneliness, Makaiko took to smacking against his tank in a heartbreaking act of self-harm.
Snatched from his family in 1996, the poor bottlenose was starved and forced to perform for human crowds – but ran out his final years alone after being deemed “too heavy” and “foolish”.
He died a lonely death some ten years ago after being snatched from a life in the sea with his 80-strong family pod – that were either murdered or taken too. No one noticed he had got tangled in a net at the dolphinarium and quietly drowned.
Makaiko — meaning “inner strength” — was born in 1996 in the waters of Taiji, Japan, where she socialised with other pods and spent carefree days playing and roaming the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Ocean.
His former trainer Lorena Kya Lopez recently opened up on his heartbreaking tale in a grim warning about the wildlife trade, which “subjects millions of wild animals to suffering every day”.
Born in 1996, Makaiko roamed free with other pods, playing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Taiji, Japan.
One day, however, the sound of motorboats approaching the group left mothers desperately scrambling to gather up their young.
Hunters threw down heavy nets, scooping up dolphins to harvest for their meat or to sell into the tourist entertainment industry.
“While the water turned red from the blood of the dolphins who tried to escape or were killed, Makaiko was lifted out of the water, unable to move in the net,” Lopez told World Animal Protection.
“Makaiko had been captured. And so began the rest of his life in captivity.”
Alongside his sister Kumiko, the young animal was sold to a dolphinarium in Japan.
During transportation, he was painfully laid out on a stretcher and sprayed with water to keep his skin from drying out.
It was days before the pair were given any food. When they finally arrived at their temporary home, Makaiko was put in a small tank treated with chemicals to keep it clean.
“It wasn’t until they went to the surface and people approached them and started throwing dead fish at them that they had a chance to eat,” explained Lopez.
“The dead fish were not as nutritious as the food they would normally get in the ocean, but at that point, it was better than nothing.”
The meals came with a catch – the trainers would only feed the dolphins if they obeyed orders to perform tricks.
Weak and disorientated, Makaiko learned to jump and pushed trainers around the tank for hours on end.
After 10 months, the siblings were suddenly moved into a pitch black transportation box. For over two days, they were unable to see anything.
Hauled out on to a stretcher, Makaiko was treated with a cream to stop his skin drying again, but he was left in agony – visibly bleeding.
Eventually, they landed at the Six Flags dolphin venue in Mexico, where Lopez first came across the distressed creatures.
Here, trainers continued to teach them the tricks they had struggled with in Japan, but Kumiko was depressed and sadly died soon after.
Makaiko was once again moved, this time to the island of Isla Mujeres.
While the tanks here were bigger, the dolphins were still given punishingly little food and Lopez took sympathy.
“I would always come back at night to give them some extra food so they wouldn’t be as hungry,” she said.
“The water was too warm, leading to skin irritations and fungus infections. The sun was too bright, causing skin burns.
“The dolphins were getting weaker each day.”
Concerned about the animals’ welfare, Lopez supported a rescue mission which failed.
The trainer was fired over her involvement and was only allowed to come back one more time to say goodbye to the dolphins, which was “one of the hardest days” of her life.
Distressed dolphin dumped for being ‘too fat’
For Makaiko, however, the stakes were even higher.
When it came time for his pod to be moved again, he was said to be a “foolish” performer who refused to listen to orders and was deemed too big and too heavy.
While the rest of the animals were transported to another island, he was left behind – increasingly lonely and depressed.
“He stayed alone for some time, without food, and with a growing sense of anxiety he started banging his head against the walls,” said Lopez.
“At some point, people would come in with dead fish, and to clean the water. This was the only time Makaiko wasn’t alone.”
Makaiko’s fortunes changes after an intervention by the Mexican government.
He was rescued and placed with a company called Aqua World, where Lopez was able to lead a rehabilitation process.
Yet the years of mistreatment had left a deep impression on the distressed dolphin, who continued to self-harm.
He was finally transported to Dolphin Discovery at Isla Mujeres, where he would see out the last four years of his life.
While he was able able to swim in the ocean once more, it was only in a confined area and he was required to perform for crowds again.
One day, following Tropical Storm Emily, tragedy struck.
“Nets had been put down due to the destruction and Makaiko got tangled up in them,” said Lopez.
“The people looking after them didn’t see any of this, so Makaiko died. He lay tangled up in the nets in the dolphin venue where he was exploited to entertain thousands of people.”
Image Credits: Rocio Cue
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Roxy Danckwerts is the founder of Wild Is Life, an animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe. And one day, while working, she stumbled upon a baby Elephant that seemed to be lost and separated from her herd. The small baby Elephant almost drowned in a river while the herd was trying to cross it, and her health was in a critical condition.
The baby Elephant was found on the shore of Lake Kariba, and the efforts to find her herd were in vain because there were no Elephants in the area. At that time, the Elephant was just a few days old, fragile, scared, and separated from its family. Roxy decided to nurse the Elephant back to health, but what she didn’t expect was for the two of them to become best friends.
Roxy spent a lot of time with Moyo, giving the baby 18 litres of a specialised milk formula every day. They spent a lot of time together, and Roxy even slept with her, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that she became so fond of Roxy and now follows her everywhere she goes.
Moyo – which in African translates to ‘Of The Heart’ ~ is now 5-years-old and growing up fast. Moyo has become so attached to her savior Roxy, that she sees her as a second mother and doesn’t let her out of her sight.
While there’s plenty of room for her to go play outside in the wildlife sanctuary, Moyo seems to be enjoying life inside the house and doesn’t really care for outside activities. The cute elephant regularly visits the kitchen, munching on peanuts, brownies, salt, and he also seems to be really into silverware.
The fact that Moyo almost drowned while crossing the river left the poor Elephant with a great deal of trauma and a fear of swimming. However, her caring guardian Roxy has been there the whole time, to help Moyo recuperate, and after 15-months of therapy, Moyo was finally able to overcome her fear of swimming.
And with the selfless help of the people at the Zimbabwe sanctuary, Moyo and other orphaned and injured animals like him get special care and lots of love and attention to overcome their fears and traumas.
WILD IS LIFE
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”
Wild Is Life is a genuine wildlife sanctuary in Zimbabwe. It is also home to the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN), Zimbabwe’s first elephant nursery which rescues, rehabilitates and re-wilds orphaned and injured Elephants.
Daisy the adorable terrier didn’t have the best start in life. The pretty tan shorthair cross was born with an underbite, two wobbly front legs that never managed to work properly, and was abandoned when she was only two months old.
Daisy was abandoned on the streets of Bellflower at the age of 2 months, and was found by an animal control officer. 2 months passed and the shelter scheduled to euthanize her, but luckily, a volunteer from A Home 4Ever Rescue pulled her out just in time. Several months later, she found her forever home.
Sheena Main was looking for a special needs dog to adopt and found Daisy in the summer of 2011. Daisy was born with a congenital deformity in her front legs and uses a wheelchair to assist her walk. After learning that disabled dogs have a difficult time finding a forever home and are usually the first ones to be listed to euthanize at the shelter, Sheena was heartbroken.
And although Daisy managed to get around just fine on her paralysed paws, Sheena was concerned about the strain it was putting on her spine, so had a pink glittery wheelchair made especially for her.
In Sheena’s eyes, Daisy is a strong girl and she doesn’t pity her disability and feel the same way about all disabled dogs. She decided to use social media platforms to share Daisy’s story and raise positive awareness for all disabled dogs.
With Daisy’s sweet nature, spunky attitude, and underbite smile, she has gained many fans from all around the world and I am beyond grateful. I hope that Daisy’s story and photos will continue to spread, and more people will open their hearts to dogs with special needs.
A double amputee has struck up an incredible bond with a rescue dog who only has two legs himself.
Gill Dalley, 57, lost both her legs to a virulent infection in 2004, a year after she left her home in Leeds to enjoy her retirement in Phuket, Thailand, with husband John, 67.
The pair had set up a charity calledThe Soi Dog Foundation to help the animals on the island and it was during a rescue that Gill waded through some water to reach the animal and contracted the infection.
Doctors were forced to amputate both legs as a result and she has had to get used to getting around on a pair of prosthetic limbs ever since.
In the July of 2016, Gill heard of a dog called Cola, who had been brought to a vet in Bangkok by his owner after a neighbour cruelly hacked off both his front legs with a sword in revenge for the ten-month-old puppy chewing his shoes.
Walking into the vet’s Gill Dalley took one look at the terribly injured young dog and instantly knew she was going to adopt him.
What’s more, Cola seemed to know it too.
Despite the fact that he had had his two front legs cruelly hacked off with he started barking with excitement, rolling onto his back for tickles like he’d never done before.
What had caused this extraordinary connection?
Quite simply, the pair were kindred spirits.
Gill instantly knew what the dog, who had been given his own prosthetic legs, would be going through and decided to bring him back to her home.
She explained: “The moment I saw Cola, there was an instant bond between us.
“It was quite incredible, like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
“It was as if we’d known each other all our lives yet we’d never met.
“I knew immediately that not only did I have to help him, but that I was in a unique position to be able to.
“I knew exactly what he was going through – I’d been through it myself.
“I could help him build up his strength, perfect his walking and take care of the sores the prostheses would inevitably create, like no one else could.
“In turn, he instantly trusted me in a way he didn’t trust any other person.
“He knew we were the same.”
Gill managed to get a fresh set of prosthetics made for Cola and the puppy, who was then 16 months old, could do everything that other dogs can do.
Gill added: “He has to be the happiest dog on this earth – he never stops smiling, he grins from ear to ear and never looks sad…
“People say Cola’s lucky to have found me, but I think it’s the other way around.
“I’ve just learned so much from him.”
Sadly Gill passed away on the 13 February 2017. Every year, Soi Dog Foundation recognises this date as International Gill Dalley Remembrance Day, the day they commemorate their leader and co-founder.
Gill was the heart and soul of Soi Dog. Despite the many challenges that life presented to Gill, she always put the needs of homeless animals first.
Note: The neighbour was prosecuted and was sentenced to just a month in jail.
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In Odisha, rapid urbanization, mining and industry, expansion of linear infrastructure and fragmented habitats have sent Elephants into a growing conflict with humans over the last several years.
A total of 282 Elephants died in Odisha from 2018 through August 31, 2021, the state’s forest minister Bikaram Keshari Arukha said. The highest number of Elephant deaths (93) took place in 2018-19, followed by 82 in 2019-20, 77 in 2020-21 and 30 till end of August this year.
As many as 43 of the Elephants were electrocuted, seven were killed by poachers, 13 were hit by trains, four in road accidents and 59 died in other accidents. The rest succumbed to infections — 18 died of anthrax, six of herpes and 77 of other diseases. As many as 34 Elephants died of natural causes and 21 due to unknown reasons.
The eastern state had 1,976 Elephants in 2017, according to the last census. This was an improvement from 1954 in 2015 and 1930 in 2012, the minister noted at the state assembly.
“Odisha’s forest and environment department has selected 14 traditional Elephant corridors in the state for smooth movement of the Elephants,” he added.
The Minister also informed that the state lost 17 Leopards in this period which included two Royal Bengal Tigers, killed in electrocution and disease separately in 2018-19. Five Leopards were killed in poaching. The Special Task Force of Odisha Police, State Forest department as well as the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau have seized at least 29 Leopard skins since April 2020. Nine Leopard skins were seized by Forest officials in Kalahandi alone in July this year.
The number of Leopards in the state, however, more than doubled to 760 in that period, according to the NTCA report released December 21, 2020.
‘Leopards occupy areas vacated by Tigers and this is one of the main reasons behind the increasing Leopard population in the state, according to LA Singh, former wildlife research officer of Similipal Tiger Reserve.
Leopards also breed more often than Tigers and can survive in almost any type of habitat and need less space, he added. Tigers, the biggest of the big cats, thrive in larger forest expanses, said the expert.
To curb poaching of wild animals, the State Government has formed anti-poaching and anti-smuggling squads in the sensitive areas.
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Once targeted for their ivory tusks, Asia’s already endangered elephants are facing a new threat to their survival: Poachers in Myanmar and elsewhere are selling their hides to be turned into purported cures for stomach ulcers and cancer as well as jewellery and prayer beads for sale in China. Elsewhere, the skins are being turned into luxury leather goods from golf bags and designer boots to wallets, belts and even motorcycle seats.
Trafficking in Asian elephant hides has grown over the past four years from small-scale sales of skins to a wholesale commercial trade. In Asia, this includes sales on open, online forums as well as by some Chinese pharmaceutical companies, according to the U.K.-based wildlife conservation group Elephant Family, which believes most of the Chinese products come from illegally traded Asian elephant hides. Legally licensed trade in hides from four African countries is strictly controlled and regulated.
Conservationists fear that elephant skin may even begin to replace ivory as a motive for poaching, and that any legal trade provides a loop-hole for illegal trade. For these reasons, they have urged countries to completely ban its importation.
Asian Elephants live across a vast range of 13 countries, from India to Indonesia, yet their global population of 30,000-50,000 is barely 10% of their African cousins. While all Elephants face the threats of habitat loss, conflict with people, and poaching for ivory, Asian Elephants are also threatened by illicit live trade for the entertainment industry and, most recently, by poaching for the illegal trade in their skins.
The first conservation organisation to investigate the Elephant skin trade chain, their research revealed that this trade continues to grow both in scope and in volume. Traders are diversifying and experimenting.
Initially, powdered Elephant skin was sold as a traditional medicine ingredient. Then a new trend emerged where dried Elephant skin was carved and polished into prayer beads and other Chinese collectibles, with traders extolling the qualities of the blood-red hue in the translucent subcutaneous layers.
There is now an increase in the online advertising of powdered Elephant skin for sale to, apparently exclusively, buyers in mainland China. Videos posted on marketing sites show images of backyards in Myanmar and Laos being used by traders to carve up chunks of Elephant skin, remove coarse hair with blow-torches and dry it in ovens before grinding it into a fine powder. It is then packaged for sale as Traditional Chinese Medicine for stomach ailments. Field investigations revealed that while some consumers are satisfied with these prepared products delivered to them by courier, more discerning buyers in China’s cities prefer to buy whole skin pieces complete with creases and hair to prove their authenticity, before grinding them into powder themselves.
The main source for Elephant skin is, at present, Myanmar, where officials have identified a poaching crisis that has developed rapidly since 2010. But traders have also mentioned other Asian Elephant range countries. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of known importers, online traders, physical salespeople and consumers are in China. The product labels are printed in Chinese, online traders communicate in Mandarin and prices are quoted in Chinese currency. In early 2018, the investigation found Elephant skin products on sale in Yunnan, Guangdong, and Fujian provinces of China.
Like many forms of illegal wildlife trade, traffickers are exploiting a traditional, usually medicinal use, to create new trends that drive demand, and allow them to profit from poaching. Of particular concern is the discovery that Chinese pharmaceutical companies are advertising the sale of medicine that contains Asian Elephant skin derivatives, and that China’s State Forestry Administration has apparently issued licenses for these products.
At a time when China has shown commitment to ending its domestic trade in Elephant ivory, it would be troubling and perverse to find that, at the same time, it is creating a new legal demand for Elephant skin products. Conservationists, law enforcement specialists and many governments agree that domestic wildlife markets facilitate the laundering of illicit commodities while simultaneously placing increased demand on law enforcement agencies as they attempt to address a growing and illegal wildlife trade with limited resources, inadequate criminal justice responses and institutional corruption.
The report outlines Elephant Family’s findings and provides evidence of a profoundly worrying trend in Elephant skin trade that severely threatens already fragile populations of Asian Elephants. Moreover, this new trend could easily spread to Africa as has been seen with other species. As one trader told Elephant Family investigators “it’s only skin – who cares if it comes from Asian Elephants or African Elephants”.
The report aims to provide greater insight into the illicit trade in Asian Elephant skin. We also raise critical questions that need answers, and make recommendations to guide urgent action by key stakeholders.
Key Findings Of The Report Found:
Since 2014, the trade in Asian Elephant skin has expanded from small-scale use to wholesale commercial trade as traffickers stimulate demand.
The first account of manufacturing Elephant skin beads was posted online in 2014. Elephant skin powder is now a dominant commodity sold as a medicine for stomach complaints.
Manufacture of Elephant skin products is taking place in Myanmar, Laos and China. The market in China is where skin products can reach several times the value at source. Elephant skin beads and powder are mainly traded through open online forums such as Baidu, and private personal messaging platforms such as WeChat. Traders use only Chinese language on forums and quote prices in Chinese currency.
The primary source of Asian Elephants used in the skin trade now appears to be Myanmar where poaching incidents have increased dramatically since 2010, with Elephant carcasses found with their skin removed entirely or in strips. Most traders also confirm that Elephant skin products use Asian Elephants, a species protected under Appendix I of CITES.
Elephant skin products have been found in physical markets in Mong La, Myanmar, and Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, China and in January 2018 were also found in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.
Documentation shows that China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) issued licenses for the manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical products containing Elephant skin. These commercially produced products, claiming to contain African and Asian Elephant skin, were advertised for sale by several Chinese companies.
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The Rhino was heavily pregnant and roaming Pilanesberg National Park in Mogwase, north-west South Africa, with its calf when they were hunted down for their horns.
These heartbreaking images show an unborn Rhino calf who died after its mother and sibling were shot and killed by poachers.
Photos show the poachers began hacking off the mother’s prized horn, but they were interrupted by park rangers and fled before they had time to remove it.
When park staff tried to save the unborn calf, it was found to have died inside its mother’s womb.
Pilanesberg National Park wrote on its official Facebook page: ‘There are no words.
‘Mom and calf shot and killed by poachers. Horns are still on as the murderers fled the scene when they heard a game drive approach. Mom looks very pregnant as well. We are devastated.’
Pilanesberg National Park added in the post that a reward will be issued for any information leading to an arrest and prosecution of the poachers.
A spokesperson for the park told MailOnline that the mother Rhino was aged eight and the calf just two years old. The unborn foetus would have been due in February next year.
‘We have lost 16 Rhino and 3 unborn calves so far 2017 – that we are aware of,’ the spokesperson said.
‘This loss is not due to lack of interest or effort from Park management, as this is a large park with many valleys and hills, which is a difficult territory to operate in.’
Since 2007, more than 6,000 Rhinos have been shot and butchered for their horns in South Africa alone.
The majority of those have come in the last four years with around a thousand being killed every year since 2013.
Sometimes the Rhinos are shot dead, in other cases they are brought down with a tranquiliser gun before having their horn hacked off – leaving the Rhino to wake up and bleed to death painfully and slowly.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal, which has the greatest density of Rhino in South Africa, has seen 139 slaughtered already this year.
Despite countries such as China, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia and even India believing Rhino has medicinal values, repeated studies have not found any evidence to support the claims.
Rhino horns are made from a protein called keratin, the same substance that human fingernails and hair are made of. The horn is essentially just a compacted mass of hairs that continues to grow throughout the animal’s lifetime, just like human hair and nails.
It is similar in structure to horses’ hooves, turtle beaks, and cockatoo bills – however these animals are not hunted and slaughtered in the same way.
Tragically tradition and cultural beliefs in some Asian countries mean the demand for Rhino horn has not waned despite just some 20,000 white Rhino being left in the wild.
Poachers are now being supplied by international criminal gangs with sophisticated equipment to track and kill Rhinos. Based on the value of the Asian black market, Rhino horn price is estimated at $ 65,000 USD per kg*. In the near past, the Rhino horn price soared up around $65,000 per kilogram. This price hike turned the Rhino horn more valuable than gold and many other precious metals, also many times more worthy than Elephant ivory. (*2020 figures)
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The use of elephants in the tourism industry has become incredibly popular. Vacations boasting everything from a chance to ride on an elephant, to seeing them paint, or even getting a massage from an elephant have popped up all across Asia. While these might appear to be fun activities for you and your family, the reality is that the experience is anything but for the elephants.
Although elephants are incredibly intelligent and docile by nature, there is very little about the behaviors exhibited by captive elephants in the tourism industry that is natural. To get these wild animals to interact with humans, they must undergo an extraordinarily cruel breaking process, called “Phajaan,” that renders them submissive to their human trainers.
Breaking Baby Elephants Baby elephants are taken from their mothers at a very young age, usually three to six years old, but often younger. After a young elephant is in the captivity of its handlers, the aim of the Phajaan program is to break its spirit. Babies will be kept in small crates similar to those found in the intensive pig farming industry. Their feet will be tied with ropes, their limbs will be stretched, they will be repeatedly beaten with sharp metal and other tools, they will be constantly yelled and screamed at, and they will be starved of food. Bull hooks (a tool used in most forms of elephant control) will be used to stab the head, slash the skin and tug the ears.
The next time you see an Asian elephant used in trekking, elephant rides, movies, in a circus or any other form of entertainment, take a look at the state of its ears. Captive elephants often have shredded or torn ears from their tissue being ripped and pulled away in the training process. They also often have scars on their foreheads from deep lacerations caused by beatings.
Ropes are used to tie and stretch the elephant’s limbs, these will eventually be replaced with tight, constricting chains. The Phajaan may last for weeks and they have no rest from physical torture and mental domination. Gradually, their spirits break and their handlers achieve control.
The “Bond” Between Trainer and Elephant Traditionally in Eastern Asia, a mahout will be sole charge of a single elephant. As a mahout ages, his elephant is passed down through his family line. An elephant’s mahout will not be involved in the physical abuse during Phajaan. In the final stage of the Phajaan, the elephant’s mahout will bring the animal its first meal with water, and will be the one to “release” the elephant and lead it away from the crate. After weeks of torture, of mental and emotional abuse, of loneliness, confusion and
separation, the elephant sees this human figure as its savior – the one it trusts. This is just another stage of mental and emotional manipulation, of course, but it is how a particular mahout gains such immense control over its animal.
This video illustrates the cruelty of this process. We will warn you, it is graphic.
What You Can Do Getting the chance to interact with a baby elephant might seem like an incredible experience, but given the immense cruelty and abuse that that elephant has to endure for these interactions, is it really worth it? Asian elephants are highly endangered animals and are often targeted by poachers who capture them from the wild and sell them into the tourism industry. By visiting attractions that feature captive elephants and paying to ride or interact with one, you become complicit in this injustice.
We can all help to end this cruelty by boycotting tourism attractions that feature captive elephants. If you are headed to Thailand and want to experience elephants in a humane way, check out elephant sanctuaries like Elephant Nature Park or Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. These organizations are helping to spread the truth about the cruelty inherent in elephant tourism while providing a sanctuary for animals who have been rescued from such attractions.
But remember, these elephants would not need to be in sanctuaries if the elephant tourism industry didn’t exist so please share this knowledge with others so we can see the cruelty against elephants end, once and for all.
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Born from a passion for wildlife, and decades of experience living & working in East Africa, The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards began its life modestly in 2015 as a photographic competition.
Since then, steered by its founders, Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam, it has grown into a globally renowned competition seen by millions of people every year, and always with wildlife conservation at its heart.
The free competition, open to wildlife photography experts and novices, celebrates the hilarity of our natural world and highlights what we need to do to protect it. From a surprised otter to a swearing turtle, Comedy Wildlife’s photographs transcend cultures and ages to bring a smile to everyone’s face.
Find out more about the Comedy Wildlife mission HERE.
#1 Time For School
“A smooth-coated otter “bit” its baby otter to bring it back to and fro for its swimming lessons” Cleo Kee Teo.
Michelle Wood, who is part of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards team said “The uniqueness of Comedy Wildlife compared to other photography competitions is the comedy aspect which can be a split-second decision to push the button at the right time,” she said. “We would probably say it’s a good idea to take your camera or camera phone with you whenever you are out and about, just in case that special moment arises,” she suggested always being ready to capture some amazing shots.
“And you have to be patient, very, very patient. Wildlife photography involves a lot of waiting around, Comedy Wildlife photography even more!! But the competition is free and so it is always worth entering your photo or video. By getting involved with the competition, even buying a print or calendar, you are directly helping us support our conservation charity and highlight our message, which is at the heart of the Awards.
#2 I Guess Summer’s Over
“I was taking pics of pigeons in flight when this leaf landed on birds face” John Speirs.
#3 Ninja Prairie Dog!
“When this Bald Eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped towards the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow. A real David vs Goliath story!” Arthur Trevino.
According to Michelle, how the Awards decide on what charity to support each year depends on a variety of factors. “We look at a range of factors, including sustainability, reach, location, species, long term goals. Save Wild Orangutans is an amazing initiative, set up by the Gunung Palung program helping the local population live and work in harmony with the Orangutan population and their habitat. We all share this world and have to work together to preserve it. This charity aligns with our core conservation message and we will do everything we can to shine a light on their work, through coverage of the competition.”
The Category and Overall Winners of the competition will be announced on the 22nd of October, and I can’t wait to see who takes the cake (and our hearts). In the meantime, the 2021 competition finalists will be exhibited at The Photography Show in Birmingham.
#4 Did I Say You Could Take My Picture?
“I followed this Ruby-Crowned Kinglet for about 15 minutes as it hopped from one branch to another in fast succession. I think it knew I was following it because, all of a sudden, it just stopped and stared at me for all of about 3 seconds!” Patrick Dirlam.
“I was photographing a group of goslings for a while when one broke away from the pack. It hid behind the leg of a bench for a few seconds before poking its little head out to say hello.” Charlie Page.
#6 Monday Morning Mood
“I took this shot while photographing a group of Pied starlings perched in a tree at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in South Africa. It perfectly sums up my mood on most Monday mornings :)” Andrew Mayes.
The finalists include 42 images, plus the Portfolio and Video category entries. 2021’s shortlist showcases the biggest mix of animals seen in the competition so far. The Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards team notes that among the entries are a laughing vine snake from India, a trio of strutting Gentoo penguins on the beaches of the Falkland Islands, and a Kangaroo performing a picture-perfect Pavarotti impersonation in Australia.
In a press release, Paul, the co-founder of the competition, said that the team has been overwhelmed with the number and quality of the entries they received this year. A whopping 7k photos were submitted to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards for consideration from every single corner of the globe.
“It was an amazing turnout, especially given the impact of the pandemic. The huge number of images we receive every year illustrates the appetite there is to engage with conservation and reminds us that wildlife truly is incredible and hilarious and, we must do all we can to protect it,” Paul said.
#7 Don’t Worry. Be Happy!
A Dragonfly early in the morning on a flower looks into my camera and it seems as if it laughing. The year 2020/2021 was very hard for everybody because of Corona. But when you go outside and watch carefully the Beauty of our nature, then problems seems to get less for me. So if I have a bad day this image make me give a smile back” Axel Bocker.
#8 Quarantine Life
“Isolated inside with your family eager to get out and explore the world? These eastern raccoon kits are too. Just when you think there’s no more room in the tree hollow, mother raccoon appears and displays just how compact the space is. The babies clambered all over their mom and each another, struggling to take a look at the exact same time. This photo was taken in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. After exploring a particular area with numerous tree hallows, I identified it as a hot spot for raccoon families. Since raccoons will move from den to den, often not spending more than one night at a time in a particular den, locating an area with numerous options is key to locating the animals. I stumbled across this family and immediately worked on leveling the camera with the hole to prevent an upward angle. When the camera and tripod were ready, the baby raccoons were extremely curious (and cooperative), sticking their heads out for a closer look!” Kevin Biskaborn.
#9 Mr. Giggles
“Grey seal pup appears to be giggling. I loved the expression captured. It looks so human-like. I was lying on a rocky beach for hours, as motionlessly as possible, patiently waiting for seal life to unfold around me. This seal pup came onto the shore for a bit of rest and ended up sleeping on its chosen rock for hours before the incoming tide forced it to move more inland. Occasionally, it would stretch and yawn and it was one of the yawns that led to this expression, looking as if the seal was giggling.” Martina Novotna.
#10 See Who Jumps High
Chu Ha Lin.
#11 Draw Me Like One Of Your French Bears
“This young Kodiak Brown Bear sauntered down the riverbed and stopped across from me. She proceeded to start making herself a bear bed pulling back the sand with her gigantic claws. Once she had her bed just how she wanted it she laid down, rolled over on her back and started smiling and me! And she didn’t stop smiling! I would have to say she was the most provacative bear I had ever seen!” Wenona Suydam.
#12 Majestic And Graceful Bald Eagle
“Bald Eagles will use the same nest for years, even decades, adding new material to it at the beginning and throughout the nesting season. Normally, they are highly skilled at snapping branches off of trees while in flight. Possibly tired from working nonstop all morning on a new nest, this particular Bald Eagle wasn’t showing its best form. Yes, sometimes they miss. Although this looks painful, and it might very well be, the eagle recovers with just a few sweeping wing strokes, and choses to rest a bit before making another lumber run.” David Eppley.
The photographer who took the overall best picture will win a one-week safari with Alex Walker’s Serian in the Masai Mara, in Kenya, as well as a unique handmade trophy from the Art Garage in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania.
A panel of experts will judge the finalists, and it’s quite an impressive turnout! The panel includes wildlife photographers Daisy Gilardini, Tom Laman, and Will Burrand-Lucas, travel editor Neil Stevenson, TV presenter Kate Humble, actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, co-founder of The Born Free Foundation Will Travers OBE, Managing Director of Serif, developer of award sponsor Affinity Photo Ashley Hewson, ThinkTank’s Simon Pollock, image expert Celina Dunlop, Amazing Internet’s Andrew Skirrow, and Bella Lack, the “formidable ambassador for conservation.
#13 Operatic Warm UPS
“The kangaroo looked like he was singing ‘the hills are alive, with the sound of music’ in the field.” Lea Scaddan.
#14 Dancing Away To Glory
“A young langur sways its body to give an impression that its dancing.” Sarosh Lodhi.
“Males of these species of lizard chooses higher elevations to monitor their territory and display. Caught this particular male roosting on the twig of a bush during high heat summer.” Aditya Kshirsagar.
#16 Before And After Coffee
“Baby Great Horned Owl shows human-like reaction as one wakes up before coffee and after having a cup. I was avidly watching the two cute owlets in the nest, hoping it would wake up and move. It took a pretty long time, as both babies were too sleepy and were nuzzling each other, sleeping with mouths open. When one finally started to stir, this is what I saw. It is too precious, half opening both eyes, opening one and finally both eyes looking like it was startled.” Nat Tan.
“A golden silk monkey in Yunnan China – this is actually a show of aggression however in the position that the monkey is in it looks quite painful!” Ken Jensen.
#18 We’re Too Sexy For This Beach
“I was lying on the beach during a stretch of fair weather at Volunteer Point in East Falkland, just waiting to capture a Gentoo Penguin jumping out of the surf to land on the beach. To my delight, a trio emerged from the water and walked straight in my direction. I really enjoyed photographing this moment as it seems to capture some sassy personality displayed by these individuals” Joshua Galicki.
#19 The Butt Dunk / The Face Plant / The Shake Off / The Final Scratch
“An elephant expresses his joy in taking a mud bath against the dead trees on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe on a hot afternoon.” Vicki Jauron
#20 How Do You Get That Damn Window Open?
“This raccoon spends his time trying to get into houses out of curiosity and perhaps also to steal food” Nicolas de Vaulx.
#21 Laughing Snake
“Vine snakes are very commonly seen snakes in western ghats of India. When approached they show aggression by opening their mouth wide open. Nothing to scare of this beautiful harmless Vine snake.I was happy to find it and smiling and It looks like he was smiling back at me.” Aditya Kshirsagar.
#22 Smoked Deer For Dinner
“I have been following the family of a tigress called Paaro in India’s Jim Corbett National Park for many years. This is her daughter who has stood on her hind limbs to be able to scratch her face with a log. But, it appears as if she is carrying the log on her shoulders.” Siddhant Agrawal.
#23 Let’s Dance
“Two Kamchatka bear cubs square up for a celebratory play fight having successfully navigated a raging torrent (small stream!)” Andy Parkinson.
#24 The Green Stylist
“I spent my days in my usual “gopher place” and yet again, these funny little animals haven’t belied their true nature.” Roland Krenitz.
#26 Foot Jam
“There is a great big pine tree with a small to medium sized hole in it near my house where a young racoon has called this home for the past year. Well this year it appears that the little racoon has outgrown it’s tiny home as it barely fits!” Brook Burling.
#27 Directing Penguin
“Two Gentoo penguins having a discussion after coming out of the surf” Carol Taylor.
#28 Monkey Riding A Giraff
“During a game drive we found a group of monkeys playing around with each other, jumping up and down from a bare branch.It was a joy to watch. After a while I saw a giraffe coming from the right. By the moment the giraffe did pass the branch, one of the monkeys was on his post to ride the giraffe :-)” Dirk-Jan Sttehouwer.
“This Proboscis monkey could be just scratching its nose on the rough bark, or it could be kissing it. Trees play a big role in the lives of monkeys. Who are we to judge…” Jakub Hodan.
#30 Are You Talking To Me? / Big Smile / Fluff / Lol
“While trying to make proper pictures with flash I visited two groups of wild horses for two years. Every now and then they didn’t try to eat my flashes or run over the stands and they posed for me.” Edwin Smith.
#31 Shhhh! I’m So Hungover It Hurts
“Burrowing owl youngsters are so amusing to watch. This burrowing owl caught my eye because he looked like he a hangover.” Anita Ross.
#32 The Photo-Bombing Wave
“Polar Bear mom and cubs frolicked in the icy waters of the Arctic. They kept dipping under the water and once came up together with this amusing pose. A tender moment is shared by mom and one cub while the other photo-bombs with a wave to the onlookers. Or, it sure looked like a wave…..” Cheryl Strahl.
#33 Yes, I Did It
“A frog climbed a flower from a plant, and when he made it to the end he laughed celebrating his success” Dieky Oesin.
#34 Leaning Post
“A young cub decides to use his patient mother as a leaning post, the birds in the trees requiring closer inspection” Andy Parkinson.
“I was photographing a group of goslings for a while when one broke away from the pack. It hid behind the leg of a bench for a few seconds before poking its little head out to say hello.” Pal Marchart.
#36 Cotton Eyed Joe
“Ever seen a grizzly bear square dance? Just need a jug, some spoons and a banjo. Gets ‘em every time”. Rick Elieson.
#37 Welcome To Nature!
“A red damselfly welcomes us into the world of macro nature. It was so amazing to see it climb up the straw, and pause at the intersection to say hi! :)” Mattias Hammar.
#38 Sweet Lips Are For Kissing!
“This picture was taken at CuraÃ§ao, Dutch Caribbean. Usually box fishes are difficult to take pictures of, since they do not have a problem of a diver coming close, but if you show interest, they always turn the back and not the face to you. That’s why I tried to swim 0.5m above the fish and showing no interest at all to him. The same time I had my camera not in front of me, but below at my chest pointing to the bottom. When the right moment had come, I turned the camera 90 degrees to the front and just point and shoot, hoping to have the fish in focus. Never expected to have its beautiful lips that close!” Philipp Starr.
#39 Just Checking
“A male Vervet Monkey was hanging around a bridge over the Luangwa River in South Luangwa National Park looking for some action (handouts from passersby).” Larry Petterborg.
“Two Western Grey Kangaroos were fighting and one missed kicking him in the stomach.” Lea Scaddan.
Graham Geran of the Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary in Powys collected a number of dogs.
The founder of an animal rescue centre in Wales was among the volunteers who helped transport Pen Farthing’s cats and dogs.
Farthing arrived at Heathrow Airport with 173 rescues from his Nowzad animal charity in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, August 29, and was met by a number of vehicles involved in transporting them to their quarantine centres.
Among them was Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary founder Graham Geran, who had volunteered to collect some of the dogs in a special transport vehicle free of charge.
The animal rescue, based in Powys, is on the list of premises and carriers authorised by the Government for rabies quarantine in England, Wales or Scotland.
Graham said “I was up at three o’clock in the morning as I had to be in Heathrow for 7:30… and then it was a case of waiting for the checks and then get them from the plane into the quarantine centre.”
There were said to around 18 other vehicles involved in transporting the animals.
Speaking about the dogs, Graham said: “They came out of the crate and they were straight up jumping on us.
Graham also revealed that he had received ‘numerous phones calls’ from people wishing to adopt the animals after it was discovered he was involved in transporting them.
He added: “People want to adopt the dogs, so they will go out to quarantine and to good homes.
The animals, with an estimated total of around 100 dogs and 70 cats, are in quarantine kennels across the UK, with hundreds of people looking to adopt them.
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