Should we move?

It is a very thrilling experience for many guests when a breeding herd of Elephants walks towards the vehicle.

And as a guide one sometimes hears a timid voice from the back asking “Should we move now?”

And the answer is …

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… it depends. Thanda’s experienced guides and trackers know when to move and when to stay. In this case there was plenty space for the Elephants and all of them were very relaxed as they moved past the vehicle. So the guests were able to enjoy a close encounter with these gentle giants.

I am back!

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This morning I left before sunrise to drive from Pretoria to Thanda. As the mist lifted the African sun appeared and I knew I was back home 🙂

I enjoyed my trip to Europe and the USA very much, meeting with family and friends, gaining a few kilos :-), visiting many “new” and many “old” places. And now it is great to be back in the wild!

PS: Over the next few weeks I will still mix in some “Europe/USA” blog messages as I had no time yet to work on all the images I took!

Twelve days old!

Imagine you are a twelve-days old Baby Elephant at the new Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at the Zurich Zoo …

20140625 - CS2_5391 - EI have on idea what the fuss is all about? …

20140625 - CS2_5496 - E… I live in this cool place at the Zurich Zoo …

20140625 - CS2_5422 - E… and they all treat me like I am royalty or something …

20140625 - CS2_5469 - E… check out all these people, and just for me! …

20140625 - CS2_5455 - E… that trunk thing is already working 🙂 – took me a few days to figure it out …

20140625 - CS2_5400 - E… my mum and my aunties are looking after me very well …

20140625 - CS2_5343 - E… and that is my daddy in front of our house, big and beautiful, what do you think? …

20140625 - CS2_5436 - E… and just to let you know, it is our job at the zoo to teach all you guys about my cousins in the wild, even via smart phones 🙂 …

… so, see you at the zoo!”

A few moments in the life of a small zoo Elephant.

Story and pictures by Christian Sperka

Snowballs in June

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I spent two days in the Swiss alps. A former colleague and good friend invited me to stay with him and his family in Innertkirchen, Kanton Berne. And he took time off work to show me around.

We had great fun taking very scenic tours. This picture was taken on the Grimsel pass where the last snow of the season was battling with the sun 🙂

Wolfgang took the picture above – me throwing  a snowball in June!

The picture below shows Swiss alps “wild”life – cows in the mountains 🙂

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Pictures by Wolfgang Sutter and Christian Sperka

Something different!

20140611 - IMG_0209 - E - Pacific Sea Nettle

I recently visited the aquarium in Gatlinburg and took this image of a Pacific Sea Nettle, a most impressive creature.

More about Chrysaora fuscescens:

The Pacific Sea Nettle in the East Pacific Ocean from Canada to Mexico. They have a distinctive golden-brown bell with a reddish tint. The bell can grow to be larger than one meter (three feet) in diameter in the wild. The long, spiraling, white oral arms and the 24 undulating maroon tentacles may trail behind as far as 10 feet. For humans, its sting is often irritating, but rarely dangerous.

Three friends …

With the help of three of my best friends in Nashville – Irene, Heather and Rick – I got some incredible images at the Nashville Zoo.

Collage 1 and 2 – Rick Schwartz, President of the Nashville Zoo, and I during a recent snake photo shoot. The model was Rick’s favorite snake, a Boelen’s Python (see also yesterday’s blog message at

The images in the third collage were taken during a back stage tour with Heather Robertson, Senior Veterinarian at the Nashville Zoo.

Irene Archambault, my host during my stay in Nashville, took the pictures in the first two collages. Heather and Rick took the picture in the third collage. So for once I am in all the pictures 🙂

Thanks for a great stay to all my good friends in Nashville!
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Reptile Rainbow

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Just before I left the USA I had the opportunity to photograph one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen – and it was a snake!

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This Boelen’s Python had just shed. During the photo shoot in the bright Nashville sun all the rainbow colors appeared on skin.

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Besides being a great model this specimen is also great to handle – she rested calmly around my chest as I brought her back to her living space 🙂

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Nashville, Cookeville and the Smoky Mountains

Collage USA 2014

It is almost over – Hard to believe, but my 2014 stay in Tennessee is coming to an end already. On Sunday I will be flying back to Switzerland/Germany.

I had a great time meeting up with a lot of old (and new) friends, giving four talks (with a total of over 350 participants), exhibiting at the Nashville First Saturday Art Crawl, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for three days and spending time at my favorite place in Nashville: The Zoo.

The collage above shows me at two of the talks in Nashville and Cookeville. The collage below shows me having fun at the Nashville Zoo with the Zoo Elephants, a Clouded Leopard and a Boelen’s Python (Pictures by Heather Robertson and Rick Schwartz).

Thanks for welcoming me again in Tennessee – see you again soon!

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Variety – Carnivores, Omnivores, Herbivores and Scenery!


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Day two in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA. Today we encounter a variety of species.

White-tailed Deer, a herbivore, in the early morning …20140610 - CS2_2868 - E

Wild Turkey, later in the day, …20140610 - CS2_2962 - E

Coyote, a carnivore, hunting just after the first rain …20140610 - CS2_3093 - E

Another Black Bear, an omnivore, creating a traffic jam with its appearance  …20140610 - CS2_3161 - E

and some very beautiful scenery – the view from the continental divide!20140610 - IMG_0137 - E

Another great day in the park 🙂




Mum – I can’t get up higher than that!

Day one in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA.

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This four-month old bear cub was climbing up a tree while mum was foraging on the ground. It went up and up into the crown of the tree. Many people were watching from the road while the bears gave their “performance”, completely oblivious to their audience.

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A great start to a three-day visit to the park.

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