Tsavo West bush squirrel published in the BBC Wildlife Magazine

Tsavo West bush squirrel published in the BBC Wildlife Magazine

 

I am a wildlife photographer, and I have a passion for traveling around the country, world at large. My first visit to a National Park was back in year 2007, the experience was fantastic and amazing. It was so easy to spot a herd of elephants feeding and waking together, the land was green, herbivores were well fed which meant carnivores could sustain without much struggle.

A squirrel retrieving nuts from the ground.

A squirrel retrieving nuts from the ground.

Years later when I went back to Tsavo West with a team of photographers, I was disappointed, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We drove for almost 2 kilometers without seeing any wild animal. The land had lost its ambiance, it was hot, the weather condition had changed, the number of animals had decreased. Reason being, climate change.  

Luckily, I managed to spot a squirrel which was sneaking and feeding on nuts falling from the tree. I was attracted to it by its behavior and I quickly positioned myself to be on the same eye level with it so as to capture its feeding habit. The rest of the team didn’t find meaning in capturing the feeding squirrel. 

Chewing of nuts by the squirrel files down the length of their front teeth which is constantly growing.

Chewing of nuts by the squirrel files down the length of their front teeth which is constantly growing.

I calmly positioned myself, fixed my zoom lens quietly since I was avoiding any distraction that would make the animal run away. In a spark of a second, I managed to take almost seven images. I even recorded a video of the squirrel feeding. I was super excited and showed it off to my friends. Unfortunately, the squirrel left even before they could adjust their camera settings. 

The Bush squirrel eating a nut which has fallen from a tree.

The Bush squirrel eating a nut which has fallen from a tree.

From my more than ten years experience in photography, I have come across the many Photography awards which are available online. I decided to stop being a hard disk photographer who just captures images without sharing. Of late I have been submitting images that I have captured and captioned to tell a story. I use my images to create awareness about climate change and solutions we have before all is lost. The squirrel was part of it. I spent my entire 6 hours submitting the award images. 

Here is the good news, I received another email from BBC, this time round it was not the questions but an email congratulating me that my image had been published in the March 2018 issue of BBC magazine which went on sale on 14th February, 2018. I even purchased several copies to make sure that its true my image had been published.

Above is the squirrel which managed to be published on the BBC wildlife magazine. The image has also won Nikon The Heart of Kenya Awards and received Nikon accessories. I received two of my images I had submitted printed on a Forex board. . One of the main reasons why I was attracted to the squirrel is its efforts to re-create the forest vegetation. Squirrels not only use the forest to live and eat, but also help in its process of renewal. Squirrels store part of the collected seeds. A squirrel take in its mouth a nut fallen on the ground, start looking around, stopping to dig a small hole with the fore limbs so to place the nut and cover it up. The seeds left in the ground will have the chance to germinate and give rise to a new plant .

 

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