World Elephant Day – 5 Exceptional Elephant Photos by Roy Terlien

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World Elephant Day – 5 Exceptional Elephant Photos by Roy Terlien

In homage to World Elephant Day here are some previously unpublished photos of elephants by the brilliant photographer Roy Terlien, who happens to live around the corner from me. I’ll let his elephant photo-essay speak for itself….except to say that Roy has just come 2nd in the Sony World Photography Awards (the world’s largest photography competition with 183,000 contestants), for this photo which he entitles ‘More Thirsty’ taken in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. That’s worth shouting about!

Above: More Thirsty “I set up the camera within a trunk’s length of where I knew the elephants would be drinking at a camp waterhole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. It was superbly atmospheric with a full moon behind the clouds and silent lightning flickering in the distant horizon. Being close enough to touch these huge wild animals was a euphoric experience, with their heavy breath held in the silence as they drank with gurgling satisfaction. Shortly after taking this picture I had to scramble to retrieve the camera as the very first thunderstorm of the year broke overhead and the dry season was finally over.” Roy Terlien.

Above: Let There Be Oliphants “I wanted to capture an image that reflected the past, when animals such as these elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, would have regularly been seen in huge numbers. They arrived at the waterhole with such urgency, delight and anticipation after their arduous daily journey between food and water.”

Above: Stretch “To pass the time while humans got in the way of the elephants crossing the Chobe River from the Botswana banks to the Namibian side, this large male was the only one able to stretch up and nibble some of the newer growth – which for most of the others was far out of reach.”

Above: Tip Toe “As with the goats who crop trees into a uniform base at the limit of their stretch, the elephants of Mana Pools, Zimbabwe do the same, with large bulls like this one able to raise themselves onto tippy toes like a dainty gymnast!”


Above: Steel Statues “This group had just crossed the Chobe River from of the safety of Botswana to the riskier Namibian banks in search of grazing. They had fully submerged while crossing the deep river, giving them the uniform look of shiny steel. Motionless as they got their breath back, the calves showed visible relief at having survived this arduous crossing.”

Which is your favourite of Roy’s photos? Would you like to see more?  You can email him

Leave a comment – we’d like to hear what you think.

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