Herd of elephants under a tree in Serengeti

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Herd of elephants under a tree in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana), also known as the African savanna elephant, is the larger of the two species of African Elephants. Both elephants, previously classified as exactly the same species, now prove different based from recent preliminary evidence which re-classifies the African forest elephant as a separate and distinct species (although this status is not conclusively accepted due to concerns over conservation strategies until the re-classification is formalized).

The African bush elephant has many distinctive features that sets it apart from the forest elephant. The bush elephant is much larger in height and weight, while the forest elephant has rounder ears and their trunk tends to be more hairy. The bush elephant has few predators, but still remains to be labeled an endangered species, mostly because of poaching. These elephants are known for being hunted for their tusks, ears, feet, and meat, so the population of bush elephants in the world have been increasingly declining. Their roaming has been limited to only specific areas, since they have been known for destruction of crops and landscape in certain areas. However they still travel in herds, with females being the primary leaders.

The African bush elephant is a very active and social mammal, since they are constantly on the move in search of food. Males often fight with each other during mating season, however they are considered to be very loving and caring toward relatives. Bush elephants also have strong social bonds, and when their herds are faced with danger, they tend to form a close, protective circle around the young calves. The elephants also tend to use their trunks to engage in physical greetings and behaviors.

The dramatic decline of the African bush elephant has resulted in various legal protections taking place in several states of Africa. Census reports show between the years of 2007 and 2014 there has been a decrease of 30% in the elephant’s population. The current rate at which the population is declining, leaves researchers to believe every year the African bush elephant will decline by 8%.

The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions.

The park covers 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.

The park is worldwide known for its abundance of wildlife and high biodiversity.

The park was the location of filming for The Grassland Landscape Of Planet Serengeti along with Masai Mara. (Description from Wikipedia)

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Leopard in tree in the Serengeti savanna

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© RicardMN Photography

African leopard walking in tree in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

The African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) is the leopard nominate subspecies native to many countries in Africa. It is widely distributed in most of sub-Saharan Africa, but the historical range has been fragmented in the course of habitat conversion.

Leopards inhabited a wide range of habitats within Africa, from mountainous forests to grasslands and savannahs, excluding only extremely sandy desert. They are most at risk in areas of semi-desert, where scarce resources often result in conflict with nomadic farmers and their livestock.

The impact of trophy hunting on populations is unclear, but may have impacts at the demographic and population level, especially when females are shot. In Tanzania, only males are allowed to be hunted, but females comprised 28.6% of 77 trophies shot between 1995 and 1998.

Compared to other members of Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but has a smaller, lighter physique. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard’s rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguar’s do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. The leopard is distinguished by its well-camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet, and strength (which it uses to move heavy carcasses into trees), as well as its ability to adapt to various habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe, including arid and montane areas, and its ability to run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph).

The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions.

The park covers 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.

The park is worldwide known for its abundance of wildlife and high biodiversity.

The park was the location of filming for The Grassland Landscape Of Planet Serengeti along with Masai Mara. (Description from Wikipedia)

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Trakai Island Castle

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Trakai Island Castle (Lithuanian: Trakų salos pilis) is an island castle located in Trakai, Lithuania on an island in Lake Galvė. The castle is sometimes referred to as “Little Marienburg”. The construction of the stone castle was begun in the 14th century by Kęstutis, and around 1409 major works were completed by his son Vytautas the Great, who died in this castle in 1430. Trakai was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.

Trakai Island Castle was built in several phases. During the first phase, in the second half of the 14th century, the castle was constructed on the largest of three lake islands by the order of Grand Duke Kęstutis. During the second phase, two wings were added, and on the southern side a 6-storey (35-metre or 115-foot high) donjon was built. The expansion of the forecastle in the early 15th century marked the third phase of Trakai’s development.

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Old House In Culloden Battlefield

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Thatched roofed farmhouse of Leanach in Culloden battlefield, Scotland, UK.

Culloden is the name of a village three miles east of Inverness, Scotland and the surrounding area. Three miles south of the village is Drummossie Moor, site of the Battle of Culloden.
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The Hanoverian victory at Culloden decisively halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle, while government losses were lighter with 50 dead and 259 wounded, although recent geophysical studies on the government burial pit suggest the figure to be nearer 300. The battle and its aftermath continue to arouse strong feelings: the University of Glasgow awarded Cumberland an honorary doctorate, but many modern commentators allege that the aftermath of the battle and subsequent crackdown on Jacobitism were brutal, and earned Cumberland the sobriquet “Butcher”. Efforts were subsequently taken to further integrate the comparatively wild Highlands into the Kingdom of Great Britain; civil penalties were introduced to weaken Gaelic culture and attack the Scottish clan system.
The thatched roofed farmhouse of Leanach which stands today dates from about 1760; however, it stands on the same location as the turf-walled cottage that probably served as a field hospital for Government troops following the battle.

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