A Beautiful Show of Hippo Tusks, North Luangwa NP, Zambia

October 16, 2015  •  1 Comment


The dry season had come early in North Luangwa National Park. Located in the North of Zambia this dense bushland contains a plethora of small waterholes wherein large hippo populations shelter during the wetter seasons. This year however water sources were becoming scarce far earlier than the norm, this led to hippos being extremely protective of the remaining pools. While this may not be fun for many an animal seeking relief from the dry heat of the bush it was perfect for a photographer. 


Teeth at the readyThis hippo was the first to begin the aggressive display that would last an afternoon, soon after his fellow joined in

Seeing my approach to the water the resident bull and several others exploded into a display of raw power. They burst from the water maw gaping, white tusks gleaming in the afternoon sun, deep hums shattering the relative quiet of the bush. It made a memorable afternoon. For hippos to be so overtly aggressive in the water to those outside requires significant pressure put on their habitat. Sunday, one of the guides at Buffalo Camp from Shiwa Safaris, put it rightly when he said that just a few weeks earlier or later and we would have never seen the magnificent display. As the first leg of the coast to coast tour North Luangwa National Park, and Buffalo Camp was an extraordinary experience, and this most certainly the highlight. 


Additional Images of this incredible afternoon, the one shown above being the last one taken as the setting sun shone directly upon the hippo pool;

Earlier in the day

The Family of Hippos, briefly before the start of the 'show' Note the protective huddle they place themselves in. One of the larger on the right is already becoming agressive

DispersalThe group begins to split up here, with the smaller individuals remaining further back while those who are larger approach the shore.

Later on in the day, as they hippo's become increasingly aggressive.

Explosive beginningBefore coming much closer there are displays of power as soon as the group splits up. Most impressive was this individual who would go below water only to break the surface with a below, teeth on full display.

One time again pleaseThe display continued sporadically for a period of three hours ApproachThe largest individual quickly approaches the shore with a gaping maw, teeth displayed threateningly


Great images!
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