Lens-Artists Challenge #132 – Striped and Checked
“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”Isak Dinesen
For this week’s challenge “striped or checked” I decided to keep it simple and focus on a single subject – the beautiful zebras of Botswana. Surely there is no more iconic subject when it comes to stripes! All of my images this week were captured in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, home to the Plains Zebra – including the Burchell variety which is the only type found there.
“When you look a wild animal in the eye, it’s like catching a glimpse into the soul of nature itself”Paul Oxton
Named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2014, the Okavango Delta is so large it can be seen from outer space. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean. Because it floods seasonally, the delta’s plants and animals have adapted their lifecycles to its annual rain cycle. During migration, up to 25,000 zebras can be found in Botswana. The image above shows a zebra and a wildebeest (both striped 😊) grazing comfortably side by side. While we did not see intermingling between species, we found most of the grazing creatures peacefully co-existing.
“Scientists think they can now clone an all-white zebra. Now, I’m no expert, but isn’t that a horse?Jay Leno
The three types of zebra are very difficult to distinguish. The Plains zebra (including the Burchell) is noted for its faint tan line within its white stripes. The Grevy’s zebra is the largest species, and the Mountain zebra prefers to live in high altitude areas. All three varieties have that perfectly-shaped black and white mane that looks as if it has just come from the hairdresser 🙂. While generally placid, the kick of a zebra can break a lion’s jaw, and males are known to eat the foals of other males to reinforce their dominance within the herd.
“I asked the zebra, are you black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?”Shel Silverstein
Zebras, horses and donkeys are the only members of the Equus genus of mammals. A male zebra and a female horse can mate, creating offspring called a zorse. Much more rare, a female zebra and a stallion can mate and give birth to a hebra. Interestingly, although very difficult for humans to recognize, each zebra has its own unique pattern of stripes, much like our own fingerprints. Scientists believe the stripes help hide the zebra from predators as they resemble the dappled sunlight through African trees, or that they form a bit of a thermometer assist – dark stripes attracting the sun on cool mornings and white reflecting it to cool them in mid-day heat.
“The herd may graze where it pleases, but he who lives the adventurous life will remain unafraid when he finds himself alone.”Raymond B. Fosdick
A group of zebras is called a dazzle or, less interestingly, a herd. We found them to be curious creatures, but in an interesting way. Typically we’d come across a dozen or more in a group, but only one would turn to see us, typically the last in line. Do you suppose they have an appointed guard or lookout assigned to check out potential threats?
“Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken.”Ernest Gaines
I have amazing memories of our African safari, including the beautiful creatures with which one is surrounded. While in the midst of it however, there is much to see and absorb, such that little facts tend to be forgotten. Many of those in today’s post were discussed during our safari but had long been forgotten until I searched them online.
“Travel , photography and wilderness are my addictions….And I’m happy with that…”Kedar Dhepe
I had a hard time narrowing down the number of images for this week as you may have noticed. Hopefully you’re still with me as I thank you for your creative and interesting responses to last week’s Emotions challenge. We appreciate your using the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you, and ask you this week to include a link to Ann-Christine’s post here. As always, we look forward to seeing your responses. Finally, we hope to see you again next week when Amy hosts our next challenge. Until then, stay safe and have a wonderful week.