Wild Hot ShotsBy Ellen Lambeth
Kids in South Africa discover an awesome way to help wildlife: through a camera lens. Take a look!
How would YOU like to go on a wildlife safari? The girl in the safari vehicle (above) lives near South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park. But she had never visited Kruger before. Thanks to a group called Wild Shots Outreach, she got the chance to go and see her local wildlife, such as this African elephant, in the flesh! She was also given a camera to practice photographing the animals where they live. It’s the perfect way to connect kids with nature!
Mike Kendrick started the Wild Shots Outreach program. That’s him in the wide-brimmed hat, standing in the back of the safari vehicle. He’s taking that group of students for their very first wildlife drive. Each student gets a camera and can’t wait to start clicking! Meet some Outreach kids—and to see their wild shots.
Meet just a few of the Wild Shots Outreach students sharing their wild shots.
RICKY TIBANE ⬆️
Check out this herd of wildebeest, seen in silhouette against golden sunlight. Ricky snapped the photo just as one kicked up some dust with its hooves. Ricky and his photo won a spot in an international kids’ magazine—and now in Ranger Rick!
WISANI NGWENYA ⬆️
This isn’t your everyday cow! A Cape buffalo has huge, curved horns with sharp tips. You don’t want to get in one’s way! Wisani’s photos have appeared in newspapers. And he went on to study filmmaking. He says, “I want to share my passion for wildlife and wild places with my community.” And that’s exactly what he’s doing!
NOTHANDO MKHOMBO ⬆️
Nothando was on her very first safari drive, when the group came upon a herd of elephants. With her keen eye for detail, she decided to zoom in for this super-cool closeup. This wasn’t her only Wild Shots adventure. She went on to help other kids succeed in the Outreach program.
CELEBRATE NYATHI ⬆️
Celebrate had never before seen wildlife like this mama rhino and calf. She took the photo during a Wild Shots Outreach safari drive. Celebrate was both excited and sad about the experience. Why? Because she learned that there are way fewer rhinos now than before. She worried that this could be her first AND last sighting.
Here’s Karabo Magakane, just starting out in the Wild Shots Outreach program. Like Nothando Mkhombo, Karabo really wanted to zoom in on her subject. That’s how she got that eye-to-eye elephant closeup she’s holding.
But she didn’t stop there. She stuck with the program, helping new students along the way. She even became the assistant program leader, as seen in her official “Wild Shots” T-shirt (left).
Karabo was also chosen as a 2022 Girls Who Click Ambassador. This honor allows her to continue her training with professional female photographers. One day, she may become a professional wildlife photographer herself.
Wouldn’t you love to grab a camera and jump into the cruiser above? Just imagine rumbling through the savanna, on the lookout for big cats, colorful birds, grazing zebras, and more. Then—snap!—success.
Rifumo Mathebula, standing at far right, has done all that and much more. He’s gone from student to assistant to program leader of Wild Shots Outreach. His photos have appeared in his country’s newspapers. His goal is to “connect young people with our natural heritage.” And all that is most likely why he won an international Young Environmentalist of the Year award for 2022! “We’re the future of Africa’s conservation,” he explains.