Photographs of rare Kenyan elephant captured moments before she died have surfaced online.
The black-and-white photographs captured by a United Kingdom Photographer Will Burrard- Lucas, captures the “big tusker” roaming in Tsavo National park.
In a series of photos posted on his blog, the founder of Camtraptions narrates the moments he had with the rare animal, estimated to be less than 20 in the whole of Africa.
According to him, the animal he refers to as ‘Elephant Queen’ was lucky to have survived over 60 years, considering the increasing cases of poaching in the world today.
Lucas’ first encounter with the big tusker was in 2017 when he partnered with Tsavo Trust in a project that would later lead him to an incredible elephant.
According to him, photographing one of Kenya’s big five, was one of the greatest honours of being behind the lens.
“We had been looking for this elephant for several days, but finding her in a vast wilderness the size of Switzerland had proven difficult. Now Richard had spotted her from the air and we were converging on her position. I had a feeling of great excitement mixed with anxiety that she may yet evade us in the thick vegetation, ” he wrote.
“Over the bushes I caught a glimpse of an elephant’s back and seconds later she stepped out into the open. I was speechless.”
He was amazed, and couldn’t take his eyes off the elephant’s long tusks, prompting him to take quick shots of her.
“Her tusks were so long that they scraped the ground in front of her. She was like a relic from a bygone era,” he narrates.
He describes the animal as “a creature that is unique – possibly the most remarkable of her kind – and yet an animal that few have photographed before.” Further, acknowledging the rare privilege of having met her.
Unfortunately, the moments didn’t last long, as she died shortly after he took his last shot. She is reported to have died of natural causes.
“These are amongst the last images captured of her. Shortly after they were taken, she died of natural causes. She had survived through periods of terrible poaching and it was a victory that her life was not ended prematurely by a snare, bullet or poisoned arrow,” he posted.
Lucas used his BeetleCam camera to capture what he terms the beautiful moments from the Tsavo.
In his new book titled “Land of Giants” set to be released in March 20, Lucas features photos of the “Queen Elephant” whom he refers as F_MU1.
The book was conceived by Tsavo Trust as a means of raising awareness and funds for Kenya’s wildlife.
It also includes several photos of Tsavo’s other iconic tuskers in the world.
Here are the photos, courtesy of Lucas: