Tag Archives: Lion

Door de grote meester Rembrandt met inkt vereeuwigd

Screen shot 2015-03-29 at 8.32.20 PMWij hopen dat de olifant, de tijger, de neushoorn, reuzenpanda, mensaap, walvis, zeeschildpad, sneeuwluipaard, blauwvin tonijn, rivierdolfijn, ijsbeer en alle andere dieren die vechten om hun voortbestaan, niet hetzelfde lot beschoren is als deze wilde berberleeuw. Deze soort bestaat inmiddels niet meer in het wild en werd door de grote meester met bruine inkt vereeuwigd op bruin papier 1660-1665. Voor de eerste keer staat in een tentoonstelling in Amsterdam het late werk van Hollands grootste meester centraal. In de laatste achttien jaar van Rembrandts leven (1606-1669) veranderde zijn kunst ingrijpend. Zijn werk werd technisch experimenteler en kreeg meer psychologische diepgang, emotie en intimiteit. De indrukwekkende tentoonstelling laat Rembrandts werk zien met al zijn terugkerende thema’s zoals licht, intimiteit of contemplatie. Rembrandt trok zich niets aan van wat waardig of mooi was om vast te leggen. Hij gaf daarentegen de realiteit zo goed mogelijk weer: een ter dood veroordeelde vrouw, een landschap met een eenvoudige hoeve, een exotisch beest. Ook deze leeuw is ‘naer ‘t leven’ getekend. Zijn lange , donkere manen lopen door tot aan de borst en tot ver onder de buik. Dit kenmerkt een Noord-Afrikaanse soort, een berberleeuw, die tegenwoordig niet meer in het wild bestaat. In menagerieën waren deze leeuwen een geliefde bezienswaardigheid. Rembrandt observeerde op enkele tekeningen nauwkeurig de bijzondere kenmerken van deze exotische dieren.

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Bibi Maria, a great grandmother and storyteller

Feeling lucky to have escaped the Lions, Tata&Squack talk about a great storyteller in their life. “You know Squack, Bibi told me once, that the Masai men used to conquer a woman’s heart by defeating a lion.” After our own encounter with the King of animals, I am very impressed by the courageous deed of Masai men. “For those of you, who do not know, Bibi means ‘grandmother’ in Swahili. Bibi Maria looked after me when my Mum and Dad were doing their fieldwork. I miss her a lot. She is very wise and knows a lot about nature. She told me endless stories about Africa and its animals when we sat on the veranda at sunset, mending my bag. Sharp treasures I found on my explorations often made holes in it. Now my bag looks cool because Bibi always patched it with colourful pieces of cloth. Bibi belongs to the Masai, an African tribe that loves colours. This cuddly colorful blanket was my farewell present from her, I take it everywhere I go. A memory of her and her stories in my mind”.

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Lions have to feed their children too

Eat and be eaten. We all know about the circle of life, but still it is harsh to see a group of lions actually kill and  eat an animal. At that point I remind myself that lions have to feed their children too. The chances of a lion cub reaching adulthood are very small. Feeding them is merely one of the challenges. They are often killed by competing male lions or rivaling predators. Food is scarce and one mouth less to feed can mean survival for others. Being a lion does not mean having an easy life in the animal kingdom. Depending on the territory and the abundance of game, hunting down an animal is a challenge. Most of the time the hunt is aborted because the hunters have been spotted by their prey. So every animal stands a chance of getting away, even in the land of plenty, in the calving season in the Serengeti. The predators depend on this short period of abundance, when the big herds pass through their territory. At least these two little guys are well fed for now.

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Golden camouflage and the lucky escape of Tata&Squack

Camouflage is the art of not being seen, often practiced by predators. Tata&Squack discovered this art of disguise during their Big Journey. Camouflage is achieved not by actual invisibility, but by not being noticed. Lions attacked the Wildebeest herd in the early morning hours by blending in with their background. Approaching the herd their golden fur becomes one with the golden grass of the Savannah. Camouflage is a form of visual deception; the term probably comes from camouflet, a French term meaning smoke blown in someone’s face. In the natural world there are two reasons for camouflage. The first is to avoid being seen by a predator that would eat you. The second is to avoid being seen by an animal you want to eat. Tata&Squack had a lucky escape; the herd discovered the lions before they could take them by surprise. Lucky also for us, as the journey continues.


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Stay put in the buffalo fortress

Some guides will tell you, buffalos are not very intelligent and have a very bad memory. True or not, they seem to know how to put up a defense against predators. Of course they use their horns and a well placed kick can be deadly for a lion. But even before it comes to that, they have all kinds of defense tactics to protect themselves. This segment of a Phanhabs illustrations shows buffalos on the Duba Plains in Botswana. They have been attacked by the famous Duba lions for years and have practice their defence. They use natural indentions in the landscapes to rest. Females, young and weak animals are put into the center of the group and the big old bulls will stay on the outside. In case soon predators attack, the “dugga boys” will fend them off. The rest will stay put in the buffalo fortress…

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What we love is what we cherish

Books for the child in us, sounds nice, but why do I use this phrase? Children look at the world with different eyes. They are still amazed by simple things. Somehow we seem to shift our attention to our daily chores, when we grow up. Traveling has opened my eyes again. Most importantly I have become to realize how beautiful our planet is. I hope we will be able to protect its wilderness for future generations. This of course is a very big cause, but we can all try to contribute our share. I hope that my books bring across some of the magic of the wilderness, not only to children, but also to you. I believe that the will to protect comes from the heart. What we love is what we cherish…

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Tree climbing lions and a flat tire

“Leopards climb trees, lions stay on the ground”, is what many safari guides will tell you. Not on the Busanga Plains, in Zambia! Our first encounter with that behavior was in 2009. We were traveling with a group of family and friends. My mother in law was still getting used to the idea of driving around wild animals in an open car. We had just been picked up from the airstrip and on the way to the camp we got a flat tire. Reluctantly she got out of the car and joked “I hope there are no lions around…”  There we were, in the middle of a wide open plain with one solitary tree, and in it, yes, a lion! We were exited about having spotted one of the famous tree climbing lions. She was not amused. A few days later we embarked on a walking safari. Tracking lions on foot was part of the deal. When I made the illustration for Phanhabs Lush Bush memories of that specific holiday were making me smile. No more safaris for my mother in law…

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Duba lions outsmarted by buffalo

The lion pictures for this illustration were taken in 2009 at Duba Plains, in the Okavango Delta. By then the famous Duba Boys had split up and the remaining lions were struggling to “form a new team”.  In the meantime the buffalos were often winning. They had practiced their defence tactics for years.

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Picture Story: 13 Lucky Lions and a Cheeky Leopard

Near the Savuti Channel in Botswana, we witnessed a family of 13 lions having a feast over a giraffe. Not a pretty sight, or smell. Then a leopard appeared on the scene. Wrong place, wrong time. He was chased into a tree in no time.

There he was, trapped and hoping for the lions to move off. In the end he got a chance to sneak away. Most of the scene was not “children’s book material”. I did use some of the images in Phanhabs Lush Bush, to illustrate that in the bush every animal has it’s part in the food-chain. Eat and be eaten…

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