As a photographer, I always find myself involved with photographing whatever it is I find worth capturing.  It’s what I love to do.  I sometimes forget to put the camera down and enjoy the scenery.  Well it wasn’t long after arriving in Tanzania that I did just that.

When I set out to East Africa, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  It was my first time in this part of the world and my first time photographing wildlife.  It’s one thing to see animals at a zoo and another to actually see them in their natural habitat.  When I witnessed a herd of elephants crossing in front of our path to get to a waterhole, or hippos fighting for territory in a small lake, or a lion waiting patiently for the right moment to go for a kill, I just appreciated nature more than I already did.  I would catch myself staring out into the endless plains of the Serengeti and realizing how beautiful our planet is and how important it is to protect it.  I felt privileged being there and realized that in 20 years, most of these animals will probably be gone for good due to poaching and habitat destruction.  The statistics don’t look promising.

People don’t realize these animals are being poached or captured for illegal trade every single day.  Rhinos are killed for their horns, elephants for their tusks, cheetahs and leopards for their skin, and lions are killed by the Masai men to show manhood.  In Kenya alone, 98% of the black rhinos were wiped out in less than 20 years.  Only a few remain in the wild and in captivity.  The national parks are protecting the animals to a certain extent but unless stricter governmental action is taken, there may be little hope for these magnificent animals.  There is still time to save them.

This post (along with my Kenya post) is a dedication to the beautiful wildlife found in the Serengeti, Ngorogoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara.  I went right before the Great Migration so many of the zebras and wildebeests were still grazing in the Serengeti but slowly moving north to the Masai Mara in Kenya.  The highlight of the trip in Tanzania was at the Ngorongoro crater where I witnessed a lioness chase a wildebeest after waiting patiently for one hour.  I watched it hunt from beginning to end though luckily for the wildebeest, it managed to escape.  Step aside National Geographic.