Tag Archives: elephant

Elephants near Kasane, Botswana (photo by Alison Nicholls)

Elephants near Kasane, Botswana (photo by Alison Nicholls)

In some parts of Africa towns happen to sit on or beside routes used by wildlife, and the town of Kasane in northern Botswana is an example I know well. Kasane sits on the banks of the Chobe river and many species, including elephants, not only drink from the river but also cross it on a regular basis. This might be a novel sight for tourists, but it can be a nuisance and a danger to local people, leading to human-wildlife conflict.

Elephants Without Borders have set up ‘urban corridors’ and have found that animals are using them on a regular basis, thereby reducing the potential for conflict with people.

You can see photos of elephants using the corridors and  read more about this innovative idea here on the National Geographic website.

Elephants outside Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (photo by Alison Nicholls)

Elephants outside Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (photo by Alison Nicholls)

Learn more about Elephants Without Borders

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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What Do Elephants Do All Day? Interactive Map of GPS Collared Elephants in Kenya.

We know so much about elephants from years of research in so many countries. One of the many things we know is just how smart they are. But the advent of new technology, like GPS tracking collars, allows research to be seen in a new light. Take this very interesting interactive map showing the movements of 5 bull elephants in Laikipia County, central Kenya. The map was created by Wildermaps for Space for Giants. Click on the map to see the movements of the bull elephants over a 24 hour period and you’ll notice that they spend the daylight hours in the relative safety of protected areas then at night they move out into the ‘unsafe’ zones occupied by subsistence pastoralists. At dawn they return to the safe areas again.

We may view this as very smart behavior. I’m sure that many of the subsistence pastoralists who have to deal with their night-time incursions into their fields are less enthusiastic about ‘smart’ elephants (incidentally, this is the subject of my next painting, which will be revealed here fairly soon). But there is no doubt that seeing this data as an interactive map helps illustrate the behavior and will hopefully help in the creation of policy and actions on the ground which can help people and elephants share the land, thereby ensuring the survival of Africa’s giants.

Learn more about Space for Giants.

Until next time…
Alison

Art Inspired by Africa.
A donation is made towards conservation in Africa from every sale.
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A Beautiful African Elephant Photo and Why I Won't be Painting It - by Artist Alison Nicholls

Elephant, Botswana photo by Nigel Nicholls

My husband Nigel was going through his photos from our recent Africa trip. I saw this one he took in Botswana and immediately voted it one of his best shots! Maybe because this photo follows many of the same principles I use in my paintings. It has the same calm, tranquil atmosphere showing an undisturbed animal with a peaceful expression. It has the same limited palette of color I often use too. And I just love the detail of the intricate shadows. In short – its beautiful.

So will I be painting this? Absolutely not!

Because it is wonderful just as it is, as a photograph.

You see I remember when this was taken, as a herd of 50 or so elephants moved quickly through a dry dusty riverbed on their way to water. Elephants of both sexes and all ages passed both sides of our vehicle. They were moving fairly fast and coming straight at us, which gives limited sketching time, so I took some video footage (for a video I am making about my work). My favorite part of the video is not that the elephants are so close but that you can hear them walking. I’ll post the video footage on Friday so you can see what I mean.

Will I paint from the video footage? Absolutely not!

Because it is wonderful just as it is, as a video.

Instead my painting will come from my visual memories of that scene and from the small and very brief sketches I was able to do. Those will be my inspiration. I won’t capture the minute detail of shadows falling across an elephant’s forehead but I will hopefully capture what it meant, to me, to be surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of a moving herd of elephants.

Will I paint that? Absolutely!

Lets hope it is as wonderful as the photo and video!

Until next time…

Alison

Wildlife and Conservation Artist

A donation is made towards conservation in Africa from every sale.

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Nicholls Wildlife Art