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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Night stalkers of the plains: Unique thermal imaging pictures capture ghostly giraffes

By Gavin Allen

Moonlighting: A herd of giraffes gathers on the Masai Mara in Kenya, completely unaware that they are being filmed thanks to new camera technology

Finally, under cover of the night, these giraffes gather on the Masai Mara free of the hindrance of safari sight-seers or wildlife cameramen - or so they think.

Moving gracefully along the plains of 'the cradle of life', the animals are totally unaware that they are being filmed in their natural habitat.

Wildlife photographers strive and only occasionally succeed to capture the most unconscious moments of earth's most magnificent animals.

Out for the count: Sleeping African elephants - two adults and their offspring - on the Masai Mara, Kenya

And now thanks to a unique style of photography National Geographic has managed to illuminate the night-time routines of giraffes, lions and tigers after the sun has gone down.

These beautiful images were shot using a combination of light-enhancing and heat-seeking technology on a 'Starlight Camera'.

They revealed how the circle of life continues when the Sun's eyes are turned, with a trio of lions converging on the body of a zebra foal on the Masai Mara
The technique also illuminated a family of Asian elephants feeding at Yala National Park, in Sri Lanka.

Undercover of water and night: A pool in Puerto Rico, Central America, filled with the ghostly images of Snook, Snapper and a Stingray fish

Down by the river: Three young male lions feed on a rotting zebra foal that had drowned in the mud on the Masai Mara

It even allowed the team to snap ghost-like underwater images of a pool in in Puerto Rico filled with Snook, Snapper and a Stingray fish.

Perhaps the most striking image is of a row of 15 lions with their eyes shining as they listen for the sounds of prey on the Serengeti in Tanzania, East Africa.

The enraptured cameramen didn't stop at wildlife thought, and they even took images of the Southern Cross star constellation shining above Ballenites trees on the Masai Mara.

• Night Stalkers' begins on National Geographic WILD on Thursday, October 13

Cats eyes: A pride of lions listens for sounds of prey on the Serengeti Conservation Area, in Tanzania, East Africa

Midnight snack: A family of Asian elephants out feeding at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka



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