David
Chancellor

With Sir David Attenborough in the northern rangelands of Kenya ‘with butterflies and warriors’

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“I’ve always felt that Sir David Attenborough is part of my family, an uncle maybe, who traveled the World bringing stories of other Worlds to us. He’d talk to us through that magic window, presenting us with all manner of marvelous creatures seemingly known only to him.

Many years, and a lifetime later, I found myself sitting in a Land Rover listening to that voice of reason; now I understand far more of the world than I did then. The world has changed immeasurably, but the man remains constant, a bright light that we should all follow.

It’s clear, if we do not lead by example, and therefore as a result our children are not taught that it’s not our God given right to take what we want, then what hope for the myriad of creatures who inhabitant this planet alongside us?

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I’ve walked these hills now. I’ve followed in the footsteps of a game keeper with four generations of knowledge passed from father to son, and father to son once more. Imagine that, at best estimate almost 200 years of knowledge and understanding of the nature of what is – and what is required, of these extraordinary lands. I’m humbled by the depth of his understanding and knowledge of these lands. We must listen to those who’s blood runs through this land, the blood of four generations. I’ll be bringing more from here over the coming months, and hopefully, as a result, understand more about our increasingly complex relationship with wildlife. The challenges we face in order to maintain the habitat on which wildlife does not simply survive, but flourish, under the stewardship of those who truly understand the significance of these spaces, not those who manage from afar, but those with the smell of fresh air, wind, rain, and moss on their clothes.

Humbled by this wild and beautiful place.

Liwonde National Park, Malawi, in the Sunday Times Magazine

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I’ve been working in Liwonde National Park, Malawi, with an elite team of specially trained British soldiers, known as CPO’s (counter poaching operatives) who alongside rangers from African Parks are combating the soaring illegal wildlife trade.

Worth an estimated £17bn a year, poaching and trafficking is pushing species towards extinction, fueling corruption and funding organised crime and terrorism. The British Army’s involvement is thanks, in part, to the Prince of Wales. A lifelong conservationist, his Charitable Foundation funded counter-poaching trial in 2015, in which rangers were trained using British military techniques. The trials success led to the development of the CPO team in Malawi.

The CPO’s patrol with the extraordinarily dedicated team of rangers from African Parks for six days at time, living entirely in the bush.

Liwonde’s 57000 hectares are home to a spectacular array of wildlife, including African elephant, and black rhino, both subject to intense poaching pressure.

African elephant numbers across the continent have slumped to 350,000 from an estimated 5m at the beginning of the 20th century. The population declined by 30% between 2007-2014, largely due to poaching; approx 20,000 killed every year for their tusks.

There are currently only about 5000 black rhino left in Africa; on average 1 rhino is killed every 8 hours by a poacher.

Humbling to work alongside Roya Nikkhah and witness this extraordinary selfless dedicated group of individuals pushing back against the tide of poaching, and for many species the inevitable race towards extinction. Thanks also to Russ O’Connell at the Sunday Times Magazine for presenting the opportunity for me to look at this.

Published in the magazine today and available everywhere online.

I’m delighted to be working with @everydayextinction

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a rhino calf removed from the lifeless body of its poached mother, northern Kenya -from work documenting community conservation #withbutterfliesandwarriors - I’m delighted to be working with @everydayextinction - conceived by @sean_gallagher_photo the aim of this new feed is to highlight the causes, effects and solutions to the current 6th mass extinction of global biodiversity. This is a vitally important issue but still vastly underreported. We are currently a group of around 25 contributing photographers who use their powerful work to highlight the conflict between man and nature, such as @patrickbrownphoto @paulhiltonphoto @adriansteirn @amivitale and many others..Three years ago, author Elizabeth Kolbert argued that Earth was experiencing its sixth extinction — an accelerated and global phenomenon characterized by the mass disappearance of entire species. The planet experienced five such mass events in its history, including at the end of Permian Age, commonly associated with the end of the dinosaur era. But, Kolbert writes, the sixth extinction is distinct from all its predecessors: It’s the first one caused by man. In the past 100 years, some of the 177 most common mammals have lost 30 percent or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines. Sean feels that this mass extinction ‘event' remains largely unknown among the general public. The issue is covered from time to time in mainstream media, but it isn’t getting the attention it so desperately needs. I think he’s bang on, so on here you’ll find some of those stories; it’s not import ant to like them, it is important to be aware of them !! please follow @everydayextinction and on our own feeds @chancellordavid and @natgeo etc..there is also a selection of images shared on the @buzzfeedphoto account today..and we’ll be guesting on other accounts in due course..#everydayextinction #wildlife #africa #rhino #stoppoaching #kenya #endextinction

A rhino calf removed from the lifeless body of its poached mother, northern Kenya -from work documenting community conservation #withbutterfliesandwarriors

@everydayextinction – conceived by Sean Gallagher, the aim of this new feed is to highlight the causes, effects and solutions to the current 6th mass extinction of global biodiversity.

This is a vitally important issue but still vastly under reported.

We are currently a group of around 25 contributing photographers who use their powerful work to highlight the conflict between man and nature.

Three years ago, author Elizabeth Kolbert argued that Earth was experiencing its sixth extinction — an accelerated and global phenomenon characterized by the mass disappearance of entire species. The planet experienced five such mass events in its history, including at the end of Permian Age, commonly associated with the end of the dinosaur era. But, Kolbert writes, the sixth extinction is distinct from all its predecessors: It’s the first one caused by man.

In the past 100 years, some of the 177 most common mammals have lost 30 percent or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines. Sean feels that this mass extinction ‘event’ remains largely unknown among the general public. The issue is covered from time to time in mainstream media, but it isn’t getting the attention it so desperately needs. I think he’s bang on, so on this feed you’ll find some of those stories; it’s not important to like them, it is important to be aware of them !!

The skeleton of a dodo (raphus cucullatus) from the 16th century (or possibly earlier)

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photograph by David Chancellor @chancellordavid - the skeleton of a dodo (raphus cucullatus) from the 16th century (or possibly earlier) During the month of September in the year 1598 a flotilla of ships belonging to the Dutch East India Company drew close to a mysterious island far out in the Indian Ocean. As far as anyone knows, no human had ever set foot on it, those who came ashore found themselves in a land of reptiles and birds: the only mammals were those that could fly or swim there. Birds were everywhere, one in particular stood out - a large fat creature equipped with an enormous beak; and so, man’s relationship with the dodo began. As we now know the relationship didn’t go well for the dodo. After many months at sea the birds presented a tasty alternative to the sailors usual diet; the birds couldn’t fly, they had no need to, they had no predators, so the catching was comparatively easy. With man came dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs, and rats. All preyed rapaciously on the birds and their eggs. By the year 1680 (or possibly earlier) the dodo was gone. All that was left were one or two poorly stuffed examples, a series of paintings, most of them produced by a dutch artist called Roelandt Savery, and a few written descriptions. So, less than 100 years after its discovery, the dodo passed into history. Over the next two centuries the dodo became something of a footnote in the tale of natural history. Some naturalists even began to deny that it had existed. Then during the 1860’s a great collection of bones arrived in London, all of them from the dodo. These had been found in a marsh on Mauritius by a school master, Charles Clarke. He had sent workers into water at the centre of the marsh, about 3ft deep, where bones had begun to turn up. Feeling with their naked feet they discovered the bones of many dodo’s. From these bones London’s Natural History Museum was able to assemble an almost complete skeleton. A very few reasonably complete skeletons have, over the years been assembled from these bones. From this time onwards the dodo’s rise to become one of the the great icons of extinction was as unstoppable as its demise at the hand of man #everydayextinction

During the month of September in the year 1598 a flotilla of ships belonging to the Dutch East India Company drew close to a mysterious island far out in the Indian Ocean. As far as anyone knows, no human had ever set foot on it, those who came ashore found themselves in a land of reptiles and birds: the only mammals were those that could fly or swim there. Birds were everywhere, one in particular stood out – a large fat creature equipped with an enormous beak; and so, man’s relationship with the dodo began.

As we now know the relationship didn’t go well for the dodo. After many months at sea the birds presented a tasty alternative to the sailors usual diet; the birds couldn’t fly, they had no need to, they had no predators, so the catching was comparatively easy. With man came dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs, and rats. All preyed rapaciously on the birds and their eggs.

By the year 1680 (or possibly earlier) the dodo was gone. All that was left were one or two poorly stuffed examples, a series of paintings, most of them produced by a dutch artist called Roelandt Savery, and a few written descriptions. So, less than 100 years after its discovery, the dodo passed into history.

Over the next two centuries the dodo became something of a footnote in the tale of natural history. Some naturalists even began to deny that it had existed. Then during the 1860’s a great collection of bones arrived in London, all of them from the dodo. These had been found in a marsh on Mauritius by a school master, Charles Clarke. He had sent workers into water at the centre of the marsh, about 3ft deep, where bones had begun to turn up. Feeling with their naked feet they discovered the bones of many dodo’s. From these bones London’s Natural History Museum was able to assemble an almost complete skeleton.

A very few reasonably complete skeletons have, over the years been assembled from these bones.

From this time onwards the dodo’s rise to become one of the the great icons of extinction was as unstoppable as its demise at the hand of man.

In northern Kenya at Mpala research centre, catching vulturine guineafowl for a research project

News
catching vulturine guineafowl for a research project, Mpala research centre, northern Kenya - photograph by David Chancellor @chancellordavid - The name of the vulturine guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) comes from its bald head and neck, which is similar to a vulture's. They have a range throughout North East Africa and can be found in the grasslands, savannahs and scrublands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.Using their beak and claws to dig and scratch for food, vulturine guineafowl forage for fruit, grubs, insects, roots, seeds, tubers and vegetation. Due to their dry environment, water is not always readily available to them but they can survive for long periods without drinking and are able to obtain all their liquid requirements from their food. Although they can fly well, vulturine guineafowl spend the majority of their time on the ground and prefer to flee from danger on foot rather than fly away. They are able to call to each other over long distances, not only to warn of danger but also to call the flock together to roost. Although they live together in large flocks, vulturine guineafowl can become aggressive and injure each other if food becomes scare or roosting sites become crowded. This is not just limited to adult birds; chicks will also fight each other for food. There is currently very little information on the vulture guinea fowl as a species and researchers are currently observing the birds, their associations, and construction of social networks here at Mpala research centre, northern Kenya. To see more of my work and projects follow me here @chancellordavid and @natgeo #conservation #conserving #northernkenya #kenya

There is currently very little information on the vulture guinea fowl as a species and researchers are currently observing the birds, their associations, and construction of social networks here at Mpala research centre, northern Kenya.

This is what we know..

The name of the vulturine guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) comes from its bald head and neck, which is similar to a vulture’s.

They have a range throughout North East Africa and can be found in the grasslands, savannahs and scrublands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Using their beak and claws to dig and scratch for food, vulturine guineafowl forage for fruit, grubs, insects, roots, seeds, tubers and vegetation.

Due to their dry environment, water is not always readily available to them but they can survive for long periods without drinking and are able to obtain all their liquid requirements from their food.

Although they can fly well, vulturine guineafowl spend the majority of their time on the ground and prefer to flee from danger on foot rather than fly away. They are able to call to each other over long distances, not only to warn of danger but also to call the flock together to roost.

Although they live together in large flocks, vulturine guineafowl can become aggressive and injure each other if food becomes scare or roosting sites become crowded. This is not just limited to adult birds; chicks will also fight each other for food.

Rest in Peace Clint…

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I lost someone today. I think we all lost a someone today actually. I met Clint last year whilst working on a story in Utah on mountain lion. He sadly passed away today. He made the world a better place. Those who knew him well, those who spent most time with him in the mountains where he was so at home will miss him more, I'm certain of that, as will the predators he dedicated his life to. Clint, I hope you too can be wrapped in your favourite jacket and buried in the mountains exactly as you honoured the lives of all the dogs who rode with you. Too soon sir. Way too soon. Thank you for the rides out - -In the quiet of the morning when the sky is clear and whiteand dawn's soft hush has slipped across the solitude of night,When the last pale star has fallen and the East’s a rosy glow, streaked with lavenders and orchids with a touch of indigo.When the colors all are blending, there is no defining each,And the sun peeps up appearing Like some plump and pinkish peach,There is nothing quite so moving, quite so silent, quite so strange as the Lord's most recent wonder— birth of morning on the range.I can't quite seem to fathom— I can't help wondering why—I was placed amongst such beauty, all this solitude and sky. Now, I see you ride before me, as my feet trod earthly sod,I watch you vanish in the sunrise. Go with God!

I lost someone today.

I think we all lost a someone today actually.

I met Clint last year whilst working on a National Geographic story in Utah on mountain lion. He sadly passed away today.

Clint was one of those people who actually made the world a better place. Those who knew him well, those who spent most time with him in the mountains where he was so at home, will miss him more, I’m certain of that, as will the predators he dedicated his life to.

Clint, I hope you too can be wrapped in your favourite jacket and buried in the mountains exactly as you honoured the lives of all the dogs who rode with you. Too soon sir. Way too soon.

Thank you for the rides out.

‘In the quiet of the morning when the sky is clear and white and dawn’s soft hush has slipped across the solitude of night.

When the last pale star has fallen and the East’s a rosy glow, streaked with lavenders and orchids with a touch of indigo.

When the colors all are blending, there is no defining each, and the sun peeps up appearing like some plump and pinkish peach.

There is nothing quite so moving, quite so silent, quite so strange as the Lord’s most recent wonder, the birth of morning on the range.

I can’t quite seem to fathom, I can’t help wondering why, I was placed amongst such beauty, all this solitude and sky.

Now, I see you ride before me, as my feet trod earthly sod, I watch you vanish in the sunrise.

Go with God

The dodo..found this in an auctioneers desk draw, will return for the full skeleton

News
dodo skull-photograph by David Chancellor @chancellordavid - more words have been written about the dodo than any other extinct animal. Yet the truth is that almost nothing is known of this strange creature. The bird lived only on the small isolated island of Mauritius way out in the Indian Ocean. The first mention of it comes in a book published in 1599. Around 60 years later the species was extinct. What survives from this brief period of interaction with human beings is very little. Some 15 written accounts (most of which are disappointing) a similar number of paintings, a large pile of bones, and a stuffed head and foot. #dodo #fightingextinction #nopoaching #conserving #conservation #wildlife

More words have been written about the dodo than any other extinct animal. Yet the truth is that almost nothing is known of this strange creature. The bird lived only on the small isolated island of Mauritius way out in the Indian Ocean. The first mention of it comes in a book published in 1599. Around 60 years later the species was extinct. What survives from this brief period of interaction with human beings is very little. Some 15 written accounts (most of which are disappointing) a similar number of paintings, a large pile of bones, and a stuffed head and foot.

At the edge of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, on assignment for National Geographic

News

At the edge of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, in a community-run wildlife reserve called Nyae Nyae, where roughly 2800 San people live today in unyielding conditions, villagers shovel dirt over the skull of a bull elephant hunted earlier in the day. It will be dug up about a week later when the muscles around the tusks have receded.

The hunter will take the tusks home, while the meat, and a portion of the fee will go directly to community members, and to fund for conservation projects to protect the area’s wildlife. There is a trophy hunt limit of five elephants a year in Nyae Nyae representing real money, and a vital source of protein to the San.

Seen from the air Africa can appear as an illusion, rich velds and dramatic rifts, wide deserts and thundering rivers, these seemingly vast stretches of unfettered, unpopulated wild ostensibly forgotten by time and people. At a glance, it could be a repository for all our ideas about wilderness at its wildest. And yet today no patch here goes unclaimed, whether it’s marked, monetized, or fought over. The animals that roam the land have become commodified, part of a new consumerism, marketed and sold, their brands pitted against each other, their continued existence now a question of human demand, whim, and calculation. Wild game is the continent’s version of crude oil—and it too will run out someday. Revenues of hundreds of millions in federal excise taxes levied on hunters go directly to wildlife management and related activities each year in the U.S. alone. And anyone who keeps a freezer full of venison is likely to tell you that the act of killing your own dinner in the wild is more humane than buying the plastic-wrapped meat of industrially raised livestock. This hugely complex relationship that exists between man and animal, the hunter and the hunted, has always been one of the most difficult to navigate; we need to create a space for much needed dialogue, we can not, and should not simply turn away. This story is out in Octobers issue of National Geographic.

Working with King Cheetah at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, South Africa for a client publishing a book later in the year.

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king cheetah, South Africa-photograph by David Chancelllor @chancellordavid - King cheetah are infrequently seen in the wild. The last recorded sighting of a king cheetah in the wild was in 1986 in the Kruger National Park. They occur naturally in a localised area that covers adjoining portions of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa (northern and eastern regions of the Limpopo Province). During the 1980s, a number of litters born in captivity contained king cheetah cubs, and since then it has become customary for some of the breeding facilities to focus on sustaining blood lines with the intention of breeding king cheetahs at will. The gene appears to be carried at a low frequency in the wild, and its occurrence is localised. HESC @hesc_endangeredspeciescentre in South Africa has a genetic pool of king cheetah genes that can make it possible to breed king cheetah as colour variant without the intention of breeding the king cheetah for commercial purposes. #stopthetrade #cheetah #stoppoaching #cats #bigcats #southafrica #conserving #conservation #wildlife #wildlifetrade

King cheetah are infrequently seen in the wild. The last recorded sighting of a king cheetah in the wild was in 1986 in the Kruger National Park. They occur naturally in a localised area that covers adjoining portions of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa (northern and eastern regions of the Limpopo Province). During the 1980s, a number of litters born in captivity contained king cheetah cubs, and since then it has become customary for some of the breeding facilities to focus on sustaining blood lines with the intention of breeding king cheetahs at will. The gene appears to be carried at a low frequency in the wild, and its occurrence is localised. Here in South Africa the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre has a genetic pool of king cheetah genes that can make it possible to breed king cheetah as colour variant, without the intention of breeding the king cheetah for commercial purposes.