About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on Why Animals Don’t Pose

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Great writing! We humans indeed have a propensity to humanize the behavior of animals. I myself have been guilty of it many times, still knowing that there is no substance. But talking about feelings, I’m pretty sure that animals do have feelings. When you are following how a female leopard or a lioness takes care of her cubs, you just can’t disagree, you can call it instinct or what ever. Think of Sindile, who came back to Sabi Sand with a collar from seven months captivity, called his mother and tried to follow in spite of her denials…instinct? Thinking with human brains …also feelings. There are so many great examples…not forgetting the wisest ones, elephants. Let behavioral scientists do their researches and as you say: ” They are there simply to live out their lives, and we can be grateful that they allow us the privilege of baring witness to it.”

Thanks Karina.
The feelings question is definitely one I lean towards myself. That’s a post for another day though…

Perfectly said and all too often misunderstood … it’s not about us … we are just privileged to watch them all live their lives.

Thanks for the comments Bob and Lucie!


Aye, the stories we tell ourselves, but that what humans do! And each of us tells a different story. What fun! Thanks.


Such true and level observation of animals in their environment doing what we must understand is animal behaviour. We are simply observers who can choose to appreciate what we see and in the process gain respect for the magical interactions and instinctive behaviour that often needs no explanation.


Excellent article and outstanding photographs as usual. As we understand more and more about animals, we also learn how to interpret their behaviours. Take elephants for example. The rumbling sounds that they make were once thought to be coming from their stomachs. The low frequency vibrations that they use for communication over long distances are being understood now. Their body language, subtle changes in behaviour, all have some meaning. It could be called instinct, emotion whatever. As you rightly said animals don’t do “nothing” without a purpose. It’s we who fail to understand. I see so many tourists, come and see a tigress resting in a dry riverbed at 10 am, when temperature is already 38C on a hot summer’s day and say “hey why she not doing anything?”. I tell them I would come to your house at 3 am and ask “hey why are you sleeping? why are you not doing anything?”

Catching up on these older blogs!! Fantastic Perspective! In a sense it really connects with that song.. “your so vain, you probably think this song is about you” Us humans are immensely privileged in enjoying nature and its full effects.

This is so true. We like to think the animals are there for us but they are not. They are surviving in their world and we are the intruders. We asign human emotions to them and become emotionaly involved. There is no doubrlt that elephants are highly intelligent and show “human emotions” but we are the ones that must not get emotional.

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