A photographer spent two months in the desert of India in temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit capturing rare photos of striped hyenas.
Hardik Shelat tells PetaPixel that the striped hyena photos are uncommon because they are nocturnal creatures rarely seen in the daylight, preferring to rest for long periods when the Sun is out.
“They live in the den and emerge out of its den in the dark only searching for food,” he says.
“To click them in daylight is really lucky as they don’t come out from their den the entire day as striped hyenas stay in a deep den.”
Shelat took the photos in Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India during the summertime when the scorching heat of the desert reached temperatures of more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).
“I was chasing them for the last couple of years and this summer I have visited that place almost two months to spot them in daylight and click them out from their den,” he explains.
“The most difficult part was the heatwave and waiting for them in this heat was really difficult because it was burning.
“And daily we have to drive almost 124 miles (200 kilometers) in the desert to that den and due to this we reach there around 14:30 and we have to wait till 20:00 daily for months.”
Shelat, who used a Canon 7D Mark II with a 500mm lens, underlines that it is “really rare and uncommon” to capture hyenas in an open area of the desert.
“So finally after waiting for years and chasing them for a couple of months in the summer I manage to click them in the daylight and away from its den,” he says.
“So it was special and I will say very very special for me that I am able to click that rarest moment after waiting for so long.”
Shelat is used to waiting patiently for stellar wildlife photos, last year PetaPixel reported on his “dream” photo of a lion drinking from a watering hole.
More of Shelat’s work can be seen on his Instagram.
Image credits: All photos by Hardik Shelat.