The Huntress of Namiri, 2021

Medium: Pigment Print, Platinum Palladium, Silver Gelatin
Year: 2021

Eastern Serengeti is a vast expanse of open plains and is one of the few remaining strongholds for cheetah. Namiri is an area that was closed to tourism for two decades to rebuild numbers and conduct vital research for identifying why this most elegant of cats is on a quiet road to extinction. Today, Africa is home to only 7,100 individuals. They have disappeared from over 90% of their historical ranges as competition for land continues to rise. Cheetahs are perhaps the least adaptive to shrinking habitats of the big cats because larger predators put them and their cubs at significant risk. The Serengeti Cheetah Project found that in the past, cheetahs positioned themselves in further off regions in ecosystems, away from concentrated game where lion and hyena dominate. They also found that only 5% of cheetah cubs survive their first two years, and this figure is decreasing because they are forced into areas with greater competition due to human encroachment on habitat. Over the week in Serengeti, we encountered 19 different cheetahs, but this brief moment is perhaps my fondest memory of all. We found this female cheetah on the hunt, searching for her next target. However, the moments in nature with an element of calmness and silence are what I search for. At the time, it feels as if the clocks have been paused, with nothing else existing but me and the subject. At this very moment, I am totally connected and can make the image. These few and far between moments pass by in a matter of seconds, but to me, they feel like minutes that stay with me forever as memories and in the photograph. Termite mounds are dotted across the vast plains of Eastern Serengeti, providing the perfect vantage point for cheetahs on the hunt, but they also form an idyllic stage for intimate portraiture that assists in an undisturbed connection. For cheetahs to have a future, we have a lot of work to do in putting them on a stage for the world to see how threatened they have become. I hope my portrait will raise awareness for our fastest land mammal and support The Serengeti Cheetah Project. Their dedicated research can lead to a fine-tuned conservation strategy to better protect cheetahs across Africa as we advance into a more uncertain future.



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The Huntress of Namiri, 2021
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Isabella Garrucho Fine Art.