- Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captured the images over the space of three months from August 2015
- He set up five unmanned camera traps around watering holes in the Zambezi region of Namibia for the shots
- Conservationist Lise Hanssen hopes the captivating images will help efforts in protecting the area in the future
Capturing some of Africa’s most elusive animals can be a long waiting game.
But wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas has managed to shoot a stunning set of images, including lions, leopards and hyenas prowling the watering holes of the Zambezi region in Namibia.
The photographs give an incredible insight into the secret life of these creatures, which could help conservationists protect them for the future.
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Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas has managed to capture this close up picture of a lion on the prowl with his camera trap set up
The camera traps have a motion sensor, which is triggered by movement during the day and night. The camera then captures whatever is passing by
Most of the images were taken at night, when the majority of the more elusive animals come out to roam. Among them is this leopard
Burrard-Lucas travelled to the Zambezi region of Namibia in August 2015 for the project, which lasted for a total of three months
Burrard-Lucas travelled to the Zambezi region in August 2015 with the World Wildlife Fund to help with the conservation efforts in the area.
The area borders Angola, Zambia and Botswana, and animals frequently move between the four countries and nearby Zimbabwe – making it an important conservation area.
Working with Lise Hanssen from Kwando Carnivore Project, the photographer was able to easily identify where he needed to be in the conservation area to get the best shots.
Hanssen had already been in the area for several years photographing, identifying and tracking animal movements.
But it’s not as easy as having a camera to hand and lying in wait.
Burrard-Lucas wrote on his blog: ‘The carnivores are extremely elusive and hard to see. I spent two weeks in Namibia trying to find and photograph them but didn’t catch a glimpse of a single one!’
The greatest challenge was photographing the lions. These cats spend much of their time outside the national parks and are extremely shy
Working with Lise Hanssen from Kwando Carnivore Project, the photographer was able to find where he needed to be to get the best shots
Lise Hanssen had already been in the conservation area for several years photographing, identifying and tracking animal movements
The area borders Angola, Zambia and Botswana, and animals frequently move between the four countries and nearby Zimbabwe
Camera traps were implemented as they can blend much better than any photographer could, noted Burrard-Lucas
Big cats like leopards will frequently travel long distances and live outside of the conversation areas, making sightings incredibly rare
It’s an important conservation area but it’s not officially protected. Hanssen hopes the images will help it become protected in the future
The photographer then set up a series of five camera traps along popular watering holes that were similar to the ones used by Hanssen but with higher quality cameras.
The camera traps are fitted with motion sensors that are designed to go off when something moved in front of it.
Combined with professional camera equipment, the traps were able to capture images that would have been otherwise impossible.
Even so, some of the big cats remained elusive.
Burrard-Lucas explained: ‘The greatest challenge of all was photographing the lions. These cats spend much of their time outside the national parks and are extremely shy.
Although Hanssen has hundreds of camera traps already set up, her photographs are not as high quality as those by Burrard-Lucas
Hanssen’s cameras takes thousands of images each year, which she uses to identify each individual animal as they have unique features
All of the images taken by Hanssen has GPS location information attached, meaning that all of the identified animals can be tracked
The set of images taken by Burrard-Lucas will help to inspire people around the world and highlight the area’s abundance of wildlife
The photographs already taken by Hanssen helped Burrrard-Lucas the best places to put his cameras. Wartering holes were most popular
The camera worked day and night and captured numerous action shots, like this one of an elephant swinging its trunk by the water
‘In the three months that my traps were operating, the lions passed by twice, resulting in some very rare shots of these secretive big cats.’
But the images that Burrard-Lucas managed to shoot revealed what animals really get up to when there were no people around.
Most of the images were taken at night, when the majority of the more elusive animals come out to roam.
On several occasions, the cameras photographed groups of animals drinking from the watering hole side by side, completely oblivious to the presence of the camera.
Hyenas, lions and leopards were seen prowling at night; guinea fowls paraded past in groups; and elephants stretched their long trunks through the air.
It’s now hoped that these captivating images with inspire more people to support conservation in the area, which is currently protected in name only.
Hanssen told WWF magazine: ‘Now that we know what’s here, we know what there is to lose.
‘Documenting the wealth of wildlife makes a strong argument for protecting it, and backing up that data with Will’s powerful photos might just win the day.’
The cameras shot groups of animals drinking from the watering hole side by side, completely oblivious to the presence of the camera
The click of the hidden camera is loud enough to alert the animals, which shows how sensitive to noise the wildlife in the area is
At the beginning of the project, the photographer took the photographs by hand but soon realised that this wasn’t a viable solution
The images that Burrard-Lucas managed to capture revealed what animals really get up to when there were no people around
As well as catching animals in their natural habitats, they can also be used to identify any new species that may be passing through
The most frequently captured animal was guinea fowl but elephants also appeared frequently during the day (right) and at night (left)
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online