01 November 2009

Zebra, Nyika Plateau, Malawi

On the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi, Crawshay's zebra (Equus guagga crawshayi, a subspecies of the plains zebra) were common. Although a lone zebra in grassland like this appears conspicuous, a herd can be confusing to look at, particularly when they're running, and I imagine they'd be hard to spot in the dappled light of the small patches of forest scattered around the Plateau.
[Updated 3 November 2009 to add details of identification]

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor


the watercats said...

there's something about the loudness of zebra that I admire. It's also interesting that they work on confusion rather than complete camoflage. beautiful picture :-)

Zhoen said...

Sure it's not a donkey painted like a zebra?


Patricia said...

I love the feathery texture of the grasses that softens the bold contrast of the zebra's coat. This is a spectacular image!

Barbara said...

This is what draws me back time and time again - your obvious love of nature and your beautiful way of capturing it! I love fields of waving grasses, especially when the wind ruffles over them. In this photo, aside from the zebra's inherent 'flamboyant' beauty, I like that the muted shades of the grass pick up those same shades in the zebra's coat ... it isn't totally 'black and white' ... if you know what I mean;)

Anonymous said...

The charity 'Raising Malawi' (PR firm) founded by Madonna AND TWO OTHERS over three years ago held fund raisers for over two years before finally getting registered as a non-profit. In other words, Madonna and the others were free to squander the lion's share of that funding any way they saw fit for those first two years. In fact, they still havn't accounted for the 3.7 million raised from a single event in the fall of '07' (The opening of a Gucci flagship store in Manhattan.). She also pleaded with her fans worldwide for donations along the way. In the meantime, she toured the world to promote her latest CD and raked in another $280,000,000 gross in just over 12 months. To date, the basic financial info for 'Rasing Malawi' still hasn't been posted on the website or anywhere else. The 'progress' page only tells of the collective works by over 20 seperate charities. Each of which have their own sources of funding and may have recieved some sort of promotion or support from 'Raising Malawi' in order to be considered 'partners'. But no indication is made how much of their funding came from 'Raising Malawi' or how much of their progress if any could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. The fans/donors have no clue how many millions of dollars were raised in that first two years, no clue how much Madonna herself chipped in, and no clue how the money was spent before they finally registered as a non-profit. No clue what fraction of funding or works listed on that 'progress' page could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. Nothing to go on but the vague word of Madonna. The vague and very misleading word of Madonna. For example: She states in her latest promotional video that she will match any contributions made to her charity (PR firm) "dollar for dollar". However, there is a disclaimer posted on the website for 'Raising Malawi' that Madonna's total contribution will not exceed $100,000. Thats not per donation. Thats a maximum of $100,000 TOTAL. Less than a single days pay for Madonna. Also much less then she will surely rake in by promoting her own CDs, DVDs, and 'for profit' merchandise through this massive worldwide publicity stunt. So I called the office of 'Raising Malawi' in an attempt to verify some sort of efficient financial operation (310) 867-2881 or (888) 72-DONOR). These details are ALWAYS made available by legitimate charities to their potential donors. But not in this case. I got nothing but recorded messages and hangups. So I did some research on my own. 'Rasing Malawi' still hasn't been given any kind of rating by ANY independent charity watchdog like Charitywatch.org. The vast overwhelming majority of 'celebrity' foundations never are. In general, they are inneficient and riddled with corruption. Like the promotion of CDs, world tours, commercial websites, entire lines of jewelry (not just the single piece from which proceeds are donated), and high end fashion retail flagship stores. Celebrity foundations are also notorious for squandering much of their funding on private jet rides and super high end accomodations for their managers, PR crews, and celebrity figure heads. Its legal even for a nonprofit but not noble or efficient by any stretch of the imagination. In general, 'celebrity' foundations are a twisted inefficient mutant of charity, self-promotion, exotic travel, and PR crap. Still, they compete for funding with more efficient legitimate charities who do more work with less money. The celebrity figure heads often disregard the primary donors, co-founders, and managers, take personal credit for any collective work done, and seek maximum publicity shortly before or after the release of their own commercial projects. Its a sham. So if its not rated, then don't support it. Instead, support a top rated charity like any of those given high ratings at Charitywatch.org.

pohanginapete said...

Watercats, thanks. I know that kind of defence is common among other kinds of animals, but offhand I can't think of other examples among mammals. Zebras seem like op-art animals to me.

Zhoen — pretty sure! I saw a news clip on TV about that and just had to shake my head.

Thanks Patricia :^)

Barbara, thanks, and yes, I understand. Actually, the tawny colour in the coat seemed ubiquitous among the zebras on the Nyika Plateau, and I still don't know whether it was inherent in the hair or just picked up from rolling (I assume they have a good thrash around on the ground every so often, the way horses seem to love).

Anon., I had a bit of a hunt around after reading your comment, and although I've not looked as thoroughly as you, I wasn't impressed about how hard it was to find any substantive information about how much money had been raised and where it had gone.
The problems with ensuring "aid" money (arguably a complete misnomer) got to where it was intended led NZ millionaire Gareth Morgan to check it out for himself (he donated his own money — quite a bit, too). He's pretty cynical and isn't known for mincing his words (I disagree strongly with some of his arguments), but his impressions of Malawi were pretty close to mine (although I think he's got the state of the Lake itself completely wrong). The brief article is at: http://articles.garethmorgan.com/malawian-magic_1154.html

robin andrea said...

Truly stunning, Pete. I never realized how much is not really white on a zebra, and how except for the black it would blend quite well in the grasslands.

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Robin Andrea. One of the things I like about this photo is realising that these animals aren't endangered (yet).