Klaus Tiedge's Elephant Collection
As a wildlife photographer, I have spent many days exploring beautiful creatures of nature. Here is some of the information and experiences I felt that are worth sharing about African Elephants.
If you don’t know it yet, then let me tell you that African Elephants are the world’s largest land animals. They look adorable when they are small and as they become of age, they get pretty big. You will be stunned just by looking at their size. African Elephants are found all across the world, but if you want to see them living in their natural habitat, then Amboseli National Park is a place to visit.
When I travel to Kenya Amboseli is usually my first stop. The dry dusty plaines, the swamps and the view of Kilimanjaro alone are enough to just feel alive. Then you add Elephants into the mix and you are ready for a great photographic trip.
African elephants can grow up to 7.5m long (with trunk obviously), 3.3 m in height, and weigh somewhere around 6 tons. I don’t know about you, but I was amazed to learn this. Their trunk is an extension of their upper lip and they can handle objects as if it where a hand. The main difference between the African Elephant is that they have two opposing extensions at the tip of the trunk, whereas Asian elephants have just one.
Another notable feature of these huge creatures is their large ears. It allows them to radiate excess heat so that they can survive in extremely hot regions. The crazy thing is that an African Elephant’s Ears are shaped like Africa. There two subspecies, i.e. Larger Savannah Elephant and smaller forest elephants. The savannah elephants roam around the grassy plains and woodlands, while the latter lives in equatorial forests of western and central Africa.
The best thing I saw in Amboseli National Park is the organized system of the herds. It usually composed of females and their calves.
The male elephants prefer to live alone but they can also be found with a small group of other males. Normally, the family unit of the herd is about 10 individuals. Even though you will find some clans in Amboseli that are larger. At certain times of the year various herbs come together for short periods of time to form super-herds. These can be incredibly large with more than 50 Elephants. This is one of the only places on earth that this happens. As a Matriarchal society they will be led by the oldest and wisest females.
Another fun fact: Elephant communication calls are so low in frequency that humans can’t hear them. They talk with infrasonic sounds.
Population and Distribution
There was a time when African elephants used to roam around most of the continent. But nowadays, they are confined to a very small regions. At Amboseli National Park in Kenya, you can find the highest density of wild African Elephants. Other than Kenya, these big animals are still found in National Parks in Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. I found out that back in the early 20th century, there were between 3 to 5 million African elephants. And now, the numbers have been reduced to 415,000. They are now confined to protected areas to prevent poachers from killing them for their ivory.
Poaching has reduced significantly over the years, but there is a new danger. The growing populations of Kenya, especially around Amboseli and the Maasai Mara have forced the once Nomadic Masai people to become Farmers. Elephants love farms. It’s like a food buffet for them and naturally this causes conflict between man and elephant. We went to visit The Mara Elephant Project – read more about it here.
I felt surprised when I found out that the mother elephant has to go through a gestation period of 22 months. The calves are born after that and they wean after 5 to 18 months. But that’s not it, they have to be nursed even after that for over 6 years.
The male elephants leave their group at puberty and tend to form alliances with other males. Usually, they live up to 70 years. The fertility age for females is between 25 and 45. But the males reach the age of successful mating at 20 years.
African Elephants are vegetarians, they mainly eat leaves and branches of trees. But they also eat grass, bark, and fruit. In fact Elephants need to change up their diet regularly this is why they roam from one park of the other. They will spend time in the woodlands in the morning and evening and head to the lush green grass swamps in the daytime.
My Elephant Fine Art Prints
Elephants are beautiful animals that are adored across the planet. Parks like Amboseli and the Okovandgo Delta attract travellers to just come and be with these giants.
The most common types of elephant pictures in my collection are Mothers with their Calves, Matriarchs, and Family Groups or herds. On my most recent trip I was lucky to get photos of Tim and a group of male elephants. More on this bachelor herd later. Below are some images from my Elephant limited Edition Prints and also Open Edition Prints as well as Elephant Gifts.
Limited Edition Elephant Prints by Klaus Tiedge
In the Pride of Africa Collection the Matriarch group of images is the largest of one collection.
The following Images are all of the Limited Edition Elephant Collection. You can click on any image to read the back story and see available Print sizes.
Mother elephant with two calfs drinking from her while she lifts up her trunk.
Unique capture of two elephants greeting with their trunks – wonderful piece of artwork for every elephant lover or as a wonderful gift for special occasions.
Pictures of Mother and Baby Elephant (Limited Edition Prints)
This could be a traditional family – two large elephants with a baby elephant walking in open grassland of Africa. So closely together that they truly represent a union as a family.
This image is known as Union 1. Photograph of a mother and baby elephant grazing in the open savannah of Kenya. A unique piece of art that reflects togetherness as well as separation and going own ways.
This image is called Matriarch 1.
In this video I tell the back story of the image alongside: Affirmation. Two large elephants rising up in the swamps below Kilimajaro in Kenya as they affirm their friendship.
Open Edition Elephant Prints by Klaus Tiedge
Below are a collection of my open edition prints. Because there is no limit to the number of prints the prices are lower and these images can be used in other applications such as bags and pillows for example.
These Elephant prints are from the “open edition” collection.
From the moment I arrived in Kenya, I could feel the welcoming nature of the people and the setting. And I was hoping to see these big-tuskers for a very long time. I must admit that this creature looks massive and observing them and capturing them has been one of the best journeys of my life.
I really hope you enjoyed seeing some insight into my elephant collection. Please leave a comment or a personal story of your favourite elephant encounter below. I’d love to connect with you.
With Kind regards