Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ngorongoro crater

Zebras are even more striking in this black and white and white photo than they are in color, but that is because Nick Brandt specializes in art photographs of wildlife, rather than wildlife photography. In either case, one of the best places to see and photograph zebras is Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania (although I'm not speaking from personal experience). Ngorongoro - which is one of my favorite words to say - is a 3,200 sq. mile wildlife preserve for an estimated 25,000 large animals, including the "big five" (rhinocerous, lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo). Many of these are contained within Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera. It was formed 2-3 million years ago when a volcano as tall as 19,000' exploded, leaving a basin 2,000' deep. The crater forms a natural enclosure, with the unfortunate result that the lion population has become severely inbred. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the location of the important archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge, and Laetoli is nearby, so it is also the cradle of the human animal.

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