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Allan Blanchard
World traveller with a passion for safaris, big cats, conservation, wildlife photography and Indian wildife tours
World traveller with a passion for safaris, big cats, conservation, wildlife photography and Indian wildife tours


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8 African Wild Dogs have been safely relocated from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to Botswana!

The operation, which took place on Monday, was a collaboration between Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, The Endangered Wildlife Trust and Wildlife ACT - with huge thanks to Dr Jaques Flamand and Dr Rowan Leeming. Also a huge thanks to Bateluers for the the plane and pilots, and to Mphafa Private Nature Reserve and Colchester Zoo for temporarily holding 3 of the dogs in their boma.

The first 3 Wild Dogs (males) are originally from Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park (HiP) and were darted and transported by Wildlife ACT co-founder, Chris Kelly, to meet the other 5 (female) Wild Dogs from Tembe Elephant Park, before being transported by the Bateluers plane to Botswana.

All 8 Wild dogs are now safely in Northern Thuli Game Reserve where they are being held in a boma to bond. Their progress will be closely monitored until their released later this year. A big round of applause for all those involved!

This again highlights the importance of these collaborations, which make these relocations possible.
11 Photos - View album

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When the light is not ideal for wildlife photography
Last month I spent a week in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska and was stunned to see how high the sun was in the sky, even at 8.00pm. Given the park is only open from 06:00 (sunrise was around 05:00) until 22:00, my hoped for sunrise and sunset brown bear images were rather blown out of the water. We also 'endured' exceptional weather and intense sunlight, so I was trying to figure out how I could use the climatic conditions to my advantage. This is what I decided to do
This photograph taken below was with my Canon 7D and the incredibly versatile 28-300mm wide angle lens.
Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard
#wildlifephotography   #naturephotography   #landscapephotography   #canonphotography #travelphotography #bears

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Meet Scavenger Bear; one of the many brown bears we encounted in ‪#‎LakeClarkNPS‬ ‪#‎Alaska‬ last week. Here are my personal rating for this young, crazy bear.
Clamming Technique: 0/10
Finding rotting fish: 10/10
Running around in random circles: 10/10...
Chilling on his back: 10/10
Teddy Bear resemblance: 9/10
Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard
#wildlifephotography   #canonphotography   #naturephotography   #alaska   #bears  

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Sibling Love or Rivalry?
Would wild tigers fight each other to control a territory if they were brother and sister?

We observed this exact situation just last month in Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary during a tiger safari of India. A large male tiger called Pacman was approached by his sister Lightening and this was his aerial reaction! However not everything in this picture is how it seems!
Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard
#wildlifephotography   #naturephotography   #canonphotography   #india   #tigers   #travelphotography   #safari 

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Periyar tiger reserve - Can tribal villages live in harmony with nature and play a crucial role in tiger conservation?
As I started my half-day trekking and bamboo rafting tour in Periyar tiger reserve, I reflected that finally the park authorities were starting to get the right balance, between 'mixed' low impact tourism activities which support the local tribal people still living inside the park or within the buffer areas.
What was striking during my month long recce trip in South India during February 2015, was how different the policy was towards local tribal populations. In the north and central regions of India it has all been about wholesale relocations and compensation packages to the affected villages; not all of which have gone smoothly. Whereas in the south, as I enjoyed wildlife safaris in parks such as Parambikulam and Periyar, it was striking to see significant sized villages – such as Bison Village – remaining inside the park; why the difference?
As well as being allow to remain in the park and harvest seasonal products, such as elephant grass, medicinal plants and fish. Some of the tribal men and women have become park guards. This is music to our ears and something we have called for, as passionate wildlife followers for many years; to see it finally coming to fruition and for it hopefully to be used as a role model for other parks is really encouraging.
Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard,  Tribal people collecting Tamarind in South India.
#indigenous #India #tigers #peoplephotography

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Parambikulam tiger safari - Wild Dogs, alcohol and a 25,000 rupee fine
I added in a visit to Parambikulam tiger sanctuary, South India, at the last minute due to the advice from my wife and I am so glad that I did. What a magnificent forest they have there; free of invasive weeds like Lantana, which are choking the life out of some more famous tiger reserves in South India and full of life! Within minutes of our canter departing from the tented camp where we were staying we had seen all 3 deer species; Spotted (Chital), Sambar and Barking deer (Muntjac). Grey Hornbills, White-Cheeked barbets and Black-Naped Orioles called from the top of ancient trees and endemic Nilgiri Monkeys were hanging off branches like Christmas decorations. However it was something inside our canter that caught my attention. The harsh smell of liquor and cheap aftershave from a group of 'businessmen' that were here to party; viewing wildlife being of secondary importance.
On returning to camp the full story of the 'liquor fiends' came out in the open. The assistant DFO has searched their car and found 5 bottles of hard liquor, which he had promptly poured onto the ground in front of them – sorry I should have mentioned much earlier that no booze is allowed in Parambikulam! The following day the DFO himself arrived and as well as voicing his displeasure, issued the group with a 25,000 rupee fine. This little story is not so much about whether drinking should be allowed in national parks; everything in moderation is what I was taught as a kid. It is more the fact that the management of this national park are not intimidated by anyone and run it in a way that I both admire and respect. I wish them all the best for 2015 and beyond.
Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard, Parambikulam Tiger Sanctuary, Feb 2015
#naturephotography #naturephotos #wildlifephotography #wildlifephotos #wilddogs #india #canonphotography #canonphotographers  

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The Wild Tigress Krishna and her 3 Cubs bonding in Ranthambhore MAGIC!
No one likes rain on a Tiger safari……My first morning in Ranthambhore National park was in the varied and beautiful zone 2. It had rained the night before which usually spells disaster as it is not uncommon to go days without a sighting after a down pour. Nevertheless the park was green and fresh and unusually cold for April. We had a wonderful morning spotting 8 owls (3 different species) and a beautiful serpent eagle nestled in a flames of the forest tree. After pleasant morning and some beautiful bird photography we made our way back to gate when suddenly a forest guard started waving at us and pointing. Our driver put his gas on the pedal and we drove with excitement to an opening between zones 2&3. There was over 10 jeeps huddled next to a bush…They had found Krishna’s cubs. All we could see was ears and tails. Suddenly my guide Hemraj Meena taped the driver on the back and we carefully reversed away from the huddle. Herman had spotted mum coming in the opposite direction but the other jeeps were focused on the cubs. Suddenly the cubs shot out onto the track…they knew mum was coming. Krishna sat in front of our jeep and her cubs raced over and jumped all over her. To our amazement they began to suckle her. The cubs are 14 months old, almost fully grown and eating meat and Krishna is no longer producing milk. The love and affection was there for all to see - it was a beautiful moment. I clicked this beautiful image and then they were off. These 4 tigers together looked formidable. The cubs were now playing with confidence with mum by their side as they climbed a near by tree and bounced between the bushes….suddenly they gave us the slip and they were gone. A great start to my Wildlife Trails Safari and all thanks to the rain!
Photo Credit: Andrew Morton, Wildlife Trails
#wildlifephotography #wildlifephotos #wildlifewednesday #naturephotography #naturephotos #tigers #india #bigcats  

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Mating Jaguars on the Cuiaba River, Pantanal, Brazil
The year was 2007 and during the hot and dusty month of July, I found myself driving down the famous unsealed  Transpanteneira road, heading for the sleepy hamlet of Porto Jofre. Infact, really there is only the fishing and wildlife lodge of the same name located here, as the road comes to a grinding halt - they never built the bridge over the wide Cuiaba River!
This is the best place to see Jaguars in the world It is not a national park or well controlled private reserve like in Africa. It is simply a huge wetland consisting of several massive private ranches; some of which have 'converted' to wildlife tourism. The Jaguars have gone from being hunted with dogs and guns, to being hunted with Canons and Nikons and numbers have rebounded spectacularly.
It was late in the evening and after a fruitless day on the Cuiaba River - at least for Jaguars - we increased the speed of our private motor boat to get back to the lodge before sunset. Suddenly we glimpsed the unmistakable marking of a Jaguar under some trees by the rivers edge and to our great excitement we realised there were two Jaguars together - a male and female. We were the only boat there and we had to position ourselves with some skill in the current to get the best photos. We witnessed some incredible post-cotial classic big cat behaviour and as I celebrated with a cold beer back at the lodge, I could still hear the roar of the Jaguars reverberate around by head.
Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard
#naturephotography #naturephotos #wildlifephotography #wildlifephotos #bigcats #brazil #animalphotography #jaguars  

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A pair of Giant River Otters in the Pantanal, Brazil playing Peek-a-Boo with me
These beautiful mammals are sometimes called the 'Wolves of the Amazon', for their incredibly strong social ties which keep the family groups together, their amazing hunting skills and their ferocious defence of their young in the face of predators, such as the Jaguar or Black Caiman.

I was lucky enough to take this photo of just a pair of these otters close to the lodge I was staying in on the famous Transpantaneira road, which runs from Cuiaba to Porto Jofre in the northern Pantanal. As well as large rivers in the Pantanal like the Cuiaba River, which have many families of Giant River Otters living on their banks, there are also opportunities in the many small lakes which are located on the southern section of this incredible road for wildlife viewing.

Photo Credit: Allan Blanchard
#wildlifephotography #wildlifephotos #naturephotography #naturephotos #animalphotography #otters #brazil  
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