This year, a British photographer managed to capture images of a rare elephant. He named the majestic "tusker" mammal the “Elephant Queen.”
It’s believed that there are fewer than 20 of them left on Earth. Shortly after the images were released, the elephant died.
British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas was able to capture a series of black-and-white photographs of the elephant named F_MU1. The mammal has lived peacefully at the Tsavo National Park in Kenya for more than 60 years.
The female elephant was huge with long tusks curving down to the ground. The rare mammal was known as a "big tusker."
Burrard-Lucas had the pleasure of taking photos of the majestic animal before it died from natural causes. The photographer worked in partnership with the Tsavo Trust to attain his goal.
The trust is a local not-for-profit group that Burrard-Lucas worked with over a few visits in the hope of raising awareness about the animals. Speaking about documenting F_MU1, the photographer said, "It was just incredible."
He added, "Especially in this day and age where these elephants with long tusks are so rare." As a child, Burrard-Lucas had spent some time living in Tanzania and that’s where he grew his interest in wildlife photography.
He said, "My earliest memories are of safari and wildlife and ever since those days I've had this passion for the natural world.” The photographer took the images of the elephant with a contraption known as the "Beetlecam."
It allowed him to get up close to capture the mammal in its natural habitat. Burrard-Lucas stated, "Over the years I've used it on various projects, and for this project, it's really to show and emphasize the size of these animals.”
F_MU1’s images will be the subject of a book in conjunction with the Tsavo Trust called "Land of Giants." The book will feature 150 stills of the elephants of Tsavo.
In a blog post, Burrard-Lucas revealed that F_MU1 had experienced periods of poaching and that it was a miracle she lived for so long. Speaking about the message behind his work the photographer said, "I find [the photos] inspiring to look at because it's just very positive and inspiring to think that elephants like this are still out there -- they haven't been hunted or poached.”
Together with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Tsavo Trust works to provide support in conservation efforts including anti-poaching patrols.
"National Geographic Explorer" Alex Braczkowski, is another photographer who spent six months last year taking pictures of eight rare tree-climbing lion cubs in Uganda. The lions from the Queen Elizabeth National Park had become famous for their rare behavior of climbing candelabra trees.
However, sadly on April 10, 208, 11 of them were found dead, from an apparent aldicarb (an insecticide) poison attack.