I wanted to start this story with an image from the next afternoon. There are giraffes, zebras, deer, antelope, all in this image. The school bus that has a camoflauge paint job is one that takes people on the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center's Scenic Wildlife Drive.
Fossil Rim has 1700 acres containing 1100 animals who roam freely in areas that approximate near natural conditions. (These words are almost verbatim from the Animal Identification Guide we were given before the drive.) The animals are managed this way so that they can behave, socialize, and reproduce, much as they would if in the wild. Some are endangered, on the brink of extinction, or part of dwindling populations.
Ken and I had such a magical time here. An 18-hour vacation! But it was so packed full of new sights, sounds, smells, etc that it felt like a longer time. It was rejuvenating. Here are some of the shots I took with my small camera.
Range: Mauritania to Egypt, western Sahara and Sudan. Critically endangered. The most desert adapted of all antelopes, an addax can live most of its life without drinking, deriving sufficient moisture from the plants it eats. Their coloring is stark white to tan with a distinctive brown "toupee." (I called that fringe of dark hair "bangs" when describing them to Ken.) Our tent was called "Addax."
Range: Northeastern Siberia, Alaska, Canada and northern United States. Population: Stable. Most easily recognized by their call, greater sandhill cranes can be heard up to half a mile away. These cranes have the longest migratory route of any crane -- about 14,000 miles round trip. This image is a crop, but you can see a youngster if you look closely; lighter in color and to the left of the two large gray Cranes.
Range: Southeastern Kenya to Angola and eastern South Africa. Status: Least concern. The herd rests in an outward-facing circle to watch for danger, while young lie protected in the center. Females are reddish brown, males are black, both sexes have white undercoats. I thought this female struck a pose that looked majestic. She was grazing in a pasture between the Lodge and the Foothills Safari Camp.
Status: Least concern. Red deer closely resemble the American Elk. Males emit a powerful bubling call during mating season in the Fall. Red deer shed their antlers each year in February and regrow them quickly. One of these deer came up to the car for a handout but I didn't have any food yet.
Wildflowers in the meadows. These were in the meadow right outside our tent. The morning light is doing a nice "fringing" light on the thistle bud.
Wildflowers with the watering hole in the background.
This is our "tent!" No locks on the doors but who needs them!
Addax Tent. With Ken relaxing in front. Now you can see why they call the cabin a "tent."
View out the front door of Addax Tent.
If you like animals, this is a place to experience.
The next post will be the drive through the park, called Fossil Rim Wildlife Center's Scenic Wildlife Drive.