Blog

09.19.2021

Lewa Conservancy, Kenya

I have the privilege to work as a wildlife photographer and continue to learn more and more with every experience I acquire. Over time, I have continually assessed what I was doing and evolved to take a more reflective approach to my photography.
 
In photographing wild animals, I think I have one advantage over other fields of photography in that I believe there is an authenticity to their personalities. To me, the mental state of a wild animal is neither covered by a mask that a human subject is tempted to wear nor adulterated by human influence that a captive animal acquires.
 
To lend voice to the mental state of a wild animal, I have established an approach that is very personal. I try to be accepted by wild animals, be intimate with them, and try to sense what may be in their mind.
Say ‘jambo’ to a special black rhino named Elvis who I had the honor to meet and photograph a week ago in Kenya. He’s one of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s hand-reared black rhinos now successfully returned to the wild and is a real character.
 
Elvis was born to a blind mother who has sadly been unable to keep her calves for long before losing them. So when a calf is born to her in this well-known rhino sanctuary in the country’s Laikipia region, the conservancy sends out a team of rangers to watch her 24/7 so they can step in when it’s clear the calf is ‘lost’. The baby rhino is then rescued and hand-reared by an expert substitute parent like Kamara, one of my new heroes, who stays with the calf until the rhino is old enough to return to the wild. Apparently this process can take quite a while and in Elvis’ case it was not until he was four years old that he was encouraged to wander in the wild on Lewa alone.

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Guadalupe Laiz