Animals

By Jos Weale


This perfectly-timed ‘class photo’ of curious young giraffes looking directly into the camera embodies all the woes of a school photographer – as one naughty member of the group looks the wrong way and pokes his tongue out behind his ‘teacher’s’ back spoiling the shot.

In the picture six well-behaved ‘student’ giraffes are accompanied by a taller ‘teacher’ figure all appearing to look intently at the camera in a classic school line-up picture.

PIC BY YARON SCHMID/MERCURY PRESS

But on closer inspection a seventh cheeky chap can be spotted sticking his head out in the back row and brazenly poking out his long tongue.

Veterinarian and photographer, Yaron Schmid, captured the hilarious image while visiting the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

And he says the shot will strike a chord with anyone who has posed up for a group picture in their school days.

Yaron, 47, from New York City, said: “There were actually two rebel students that refused to participate in the photo, and they were standing a few feet aside looking elsewhere.

“The cheeky one was mostly looking to see what they were doing.

“There is always that one kid that will ‘ruin’ a good picture by moving, closing their eyes, or in this case, sticking his tongue out.

“I think that they are mostly curious, funny and innocent looking creatures. They all had very funny faces.

PIC BY YARON SCHMID/MERCURY PRESS 

“They are all young ones, so they have some tufts on their horns, and as it was a bit windy we could see how their hair was blown in the wind.”

Yaron said he and his safari group had been driving towards the more remote areas of the Serengeti on a trip in February last year (2016) in the hope of finding big cats to photograph when they encountered the lofty crowd.

The veterinarian, who has been photographing wildlife for five years, said: “We saw a tower of giraffes that were close to the road, so we stopped and enjoyed looking at them.

“Then we spotted that there was a group of young ones all concentrated in one area, supervised by an older giraffe. The older ones were scattered around and were busy eating.

“The giraffes were all curious and at first were minding their own business. But when they saw that we had stopped they got close to the car, huddled together, and just stared at us.”

PIC BY YARON SCHMID/MERCURY PRESS 

“At first my camera didn’t work, and I was trying to fix it. And that was when the giraffes gathered and got closer to us, as if they were looking to see how I would fix it.

“Most of the time, a few of them were looking around while the others looked my way. It was only for a second or two that most of them looked my way to get that picture.”

Yaron, who visits East Africa several times a year with his own safari groups, said he was delighted to discover a ‘giraffe nursery’ as they are so seldom seen close up.

Yaron said: “I liked how they all got together around the teacher and showed great interest in us.

PIC BY YARON SCHMID/MERCURY PRESS

“I think that it is a very unusual thing to see, and to catch them when they are all looking my way makes it even more special.

“When I got back home, I did some research and found out that you may see these giraffe nurseries once in a while – something I didn’t realise existed.”

And he thinks the rebellious giraffe’s antics caught on camera is something that really brings people together when they see it.

Yaron said: “I think the picture has a sort of ‘ice-breaker’ atmosphere about it that makes everyone smile when they see it.

PIC BY YARON SCHMID/MERCURY PRESS 

“It also has a calming feel to it created by the nature of these gentle giants. It’s definitely one of the more amusing and interesting pictures I have taken of giraffes.”