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So close! Photographer engages hyenas, lion cubs, elephants

Come here, hyena! Wildlife photographer Marlon Du Toit said he 'twinkled his toes' to entice this curious critter to come say hello.
Come here, hyena! Wildlife photographer Marlon Du Toit said he 'twinkled his toes' to entice this curious critter to come say hello.Marlon Du Toit

Some people sit in cubicles for work. Others wiggle their toes to arouse the curiosity of wild hyenas.

Meet Marlon Du Toit, a wildlife photographer who lives in South Africa and captures outrageously close-up images of animals in their natural habitats. He sat down with TODAY’s Ann Curry on Friday to discuss his close encounters of the dangerous kind.

Du Toit said he was about 5 to 8 yards away from these elephants when he photographed them.
Du Toit said he was about 5 to 8 yards away from these elephants when he photographed them.Marlon Du Toit

“You have to understand the rules of engagement and not push an animal beyond its limits,” Du Toit told Curry. “The more you understand what you’re shooting, the more you can predict ... what they’re going to do and where they’re going to move.”

Du Toit takes many of his photographs in South Africa’s Singita Game Reserve. Keep scrolling to see stunning examples of his work and watch Du Toit's entire interview on TODAY.

Du Toit said he can sometimes get unusually close to animals, like these lion cubs, because they grow accustomed to human observers in game reserves.
Du Toit said he can sometimes get unusually close to animals, like these lion cubs, because they grow accustomed to human observers in game reserves.Marlon Du Toit
Sometimes Du Toit takes photographs from inside a vehicle, and sometimes he hops out for even closer shots.
Sometimes Du Toit takes photographs from inside a vehicle, and sometimes he hops out for even closer shots.Marlon Du Toit
Du Toit captured this image of a leopard deftly climbing a tree.
Du Toit captured this image of a leopard deftly climbing a tree.Marlon Du Toit
Du Toit has become passionate about protecting rhinos, like the one he photographed here near a body of water. He's an advocate of anti-poaching and security efforts, and he tries to raise awareness that rhino horns don't hold special medicinal value.
Du Toit has become passionate about protecting rhinos, like the one he photographed here near a body of water. He's an advocate of anti-poaching and security efforts, and he tries to raise awareness that rhino horns don't hold special medicinal value.Marlon Du Toit
Three giraffes are better than one, as this beautiful image captured by Du Toit reveals.
Three giraffes are better than one, as this beautiful image captured by Du Toit reveals.Marlon Du Toit

 

 

TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey wrote this post while sitting safely indoors and breathing climate-controlled air.

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