Jason Savage Photo

Jason Savage Photo

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Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 24/12/2023

As I peered through my binoculars at what looked like a warthog moving between 2 southern white rhinos the excitement suddenly took over as I dropped the binos and said out loud “that’s a baby rhino!” To an empty car, wishing someone was there to share my excitement. I started the engine and drove down the tared road and turned left onto a new gravel road to get a closer look at this little miracle.
I haven’t seen a rhino calf this small in a very long time. The size of a medium sized dog this little guy couldn’t have been more than a few months old staying very close to mum and another larger rhino that looked like a male.
After a gestation period of 16 months the little calves are born at around 40kgs and need to grow quickly. This is a dangerous time for a calf as lions and hyeans can take them. But it’s made a lot harder with an almost 2 tonne, very protective mum always close by it’s difficult for predators.
This little calf will stay with its mum for 3-4 years or until she has a new calf. During this time it will grow and learn the very important lessons on how to be an adult rhino. And hopefully one day they will contribute to the growth of rhino populations that have taken a massive hit in the last 10-15 years.
From around 22,000 down to just over 16,000 white rhino populations, being the most numerous, have taken a beating at the hands of poachers that kill them for their horns.
Although it does look bleak for these ancient animals it’s important to look back at their history. In the late 1800s/early 1900s, white rhino populations were believed to be only 50-100 animals. In 120 odd years their numbers increased to over 20,000 thanks to intense conservation measures and passionate individuals.
Today I see so many passionate individuals fighting for rhinos so I’m sure we will turn the tide and those numbers will increase again.
But for now at this sighting I watched this tiny little baby walk around chewing on some grass, suckling and then needed to lay down and take nap. Unfazed by the issues that’s facing his species. In this moment I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, full on cuteness overload. A day I’ll remember and cherish forever.

Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 08/12/2023

On the 5th of November I lost my first best friend, my biggest supporter and the best dad I could have ever asked for. As I sit here writing this it still doesn’t feel real that I won’t get another hand shake and a big hug from him again. And to be honest it probably won’t ever feel real.
Dad was sadly involved in a fatal motorcycle accident and passed away instantly. He was the only fatality.
Dad was an incredible family man who would go above and beyond for his kids. He didn’t shy away from telling me how proud he is of me. Dad is the person who shaped me into the person I am today and helped guide me down my path with wildlife.
He saw I had a passion and nurtured it from an early age.
One of the greatest moments in my life was back in 2017, after working as a rhino monitor with for over a year, dad came out to visit me.
He loved South Africa right from the start especially the cheap beer and food, then the incredible landscape and those amazing rhinos that mean the world to me.
To share that time with dad in the African bush was so special. To have him see why I was so in love with Africa is something I’ll hold close to my heart.
The rhinos blew him away and I’ll never forget the smiles they put on his face. Here are some of the photos of dad from that trip.
For where I am now in life and the experiences I’ve had I owe that to dad. The biggest thing he did for me was believing in me and supporting me. It’s very hard to say goodbye to someone you’ve loved from the moment you’ve enter this world. The words don’t seem meaningful enough.
I’ve never felt pain and sadness like this before. My heart aches and a piece of me is gone forever, but never forgotten. I’ll cherish the memories we shared and will continue to try make him proud of me.
Dad was an incredible father, a loving husband, an amazing uncle, a caring brother and a friend to everyone. I’ll miss him every day. We all experience loss at some point of our lives. Being able to really sit in grief allows you to feel the moments of joy and gratitude for having loved someone so deep. And I loved him deeply. I’ll miss you dad, until we meet again.

03/11/2023

A 3 metre Nile crocodiles rests on the river bank of the might olifants river in South Africa’s . During the dry, cooler season of July, it’s easier to spot crocodiles on the river bank as they need to lay in the sun to warm themselves up.
Crocodiles, like all reptiles are ectothermic or cold blooded. Meaning that they can’t regulate their own body temperature and need to use environmental factors to do so. Which is what this crocodile is doing here.
The winter months in South Africa are colder but sunny. So utilising the suns rays the crocodile can sit on the river bank and warm itself up to get to their optimal temperature. The same goes for cooling down. First they will open their mouths and point it into the direction of the wind to cool their head. If it still is too hot they will move into the water to cool down. This is repeated most days and the frequency differs depending on the season. In summer the waterways are much warmer so they don’t need to come out on land as often.
Crocodiles get referred to as modern day dinosaurs which is a fairly accurate observation. Their history on the earth is an incredible one. Modern day crocodilians evolved some 80-90 million years ago but their lineage dates back much further to the early Triassic period some 200 million years ago. From that 90 million years they have virtually remained unchanged, one of the worlds perfect predators.
They stay submerged under water for over an hour and can slow their heart rate down to 2 beats per minute. Almost completely shutting down which helps them stay underwater. Ambushing their prey at the waters edge. It’s a perfect and effective design.
There were several Nile crocs in this river system basking in the sun. They are more tolerant of other crocs compared to other species. They have a strict hierarchy system where the biggest males rule.
It was such a nice experience being able to leave my vehicle while on one of krugers bridges to get this Birds Eye view of this ancient and amazing creature.
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22/10/2023

This would have to be one of the most spectacular and impressive animals on the planet. This male sable antelope stopped walking for a brief moment to check us out, in the early morning sun, while I was with .
The first thing that stands out when you see a sable is its most charismatic feature, it’s horns. Both males and females have these impressive, curved back horns. Males grow longer and thicker. But it’s still easily to tell the to sexes apart as females are a chestnut brown colour and males are generally black and grow larger.
These horns can grow over 165cm and are used to defend themselves in fights but also enables the sables to reach their rump area when being attacked by predators.
They live in a range of habitats including dry savanna woodlands and grasslands. They are also well adapted to survive in the harsh miombo woodland.
They live in small herds of females, calves and one dominant bull. They are mostly browsers but will feed on grasses when available.
Unfortunately their numbers have dropped considerably over the last 30 years. Mostly due to habitat loss for agriculture. They are popular for breeding in the private sector as they can sell for a lot of money.
They are so impressive and I don’t want to have favourites but they could be my favourite antelope species. I do have a fascination with them. Particularly the Angolan subspecies that I’ve read so much about.
The giant sable lives in small number in a few Angolan national parks. They grow larger and have bigger horns than their South African cousins and the other 2 sub species. They were thought to have disappeared during the Angolan civil war but some held on and survived. I’m about to read a book on the Angolan giant sable and it’s a species I’d love to find and document one day.
I always get excited when I have a sighting of a sable. Before when I monitored rhinos on this reserve sables weren’t free roaming but now they are. We were lucky enough to have a few sightings in a short space of time of these incredible and majestic animals.
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18/10/2023

A male Lion in his prime takes a little breather in the . Just to the right of this shot, a female lioness was also taking a breather after they had both just finished mating. Trying to create the next generation of lions.
Lions have no breeding season so breeding can take place throughout the year when the females go into oestrus. The time a male has to mate and pass on his genes is limited. They won’t mate until they have taken over a pride of their own. Which is usually after 5+ years of age.
The time they have as leader of the pride is usually short also. So there is only a small window to make sure your genetics live on.
Mating within lions is short but frequent. It rarely lasts over a minute but takes place every 15 minutes or so, over the course of 3-4 days. I don’t know what day these 2 love birds were on.
After, on average, 110 days gestation period she will give birth away from the pride in a hidden area where she will hunt for herself and look after her little ones until they are big enough to be integrated into the pride which can take 4-8 weeks.
Lions are good breeders. Which is why it’s so interesting to see their numbers drop from over 40,000 when the first lion king movie was released in 1994. To just over 20,000 lions today.
This is mostly due to habitat loss and competition with humans. When you put lions and humans together it’s always the lion that losses. They have to move through human settlements to get to new areas which opens up new prey sources like livestock which is easy to catch.
Livestock is very important to local people so losing any is a big deal. This usually results in them killing the lions themselves or poisoning the carcass so when the lions come back it can wipe out an entire pride.
Lions face many challenges as the human population continues to grow and the wild places continue to shrink.
With all this taken into account it was fairly special to see these lions mating and hopefully in the next 110 odd days there may be a new generation of lions that can help boost that population into the future. ————————————————————————

16/09/2023

This is a sight I never thought I’d see again. This white rhino walks away from us while having a tiny little look back to make sure we haven’t moved and to check on the other members of its crash to see if they were following.
This is a very special moment for me because the area this rhino calls home used to be my home for over a year some 5 years ago. I haven’t been back since and I hadn’t seen any of the rhinos I monitored every day since then.
There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing some amazing old friends that I worked so closely with. And not only see them, but see them doing so well. This rhino in particular I can’t remember if it was male or female but it was one I hadn’t worked with in the past. Which was really exciting because the population was slowly growing. In a world where rhino populations were declining.
Their fearless leader was a big female that I spent a lot of time with. She was the guardian over the younger rhinos once they left mum and had to venture off on their own. I’ll talk more about her another time and the role she plays in the development of young rhinos.
Rhino numbers have dropped in the last 20 years. White rhinos have been hit the hardest. Where there numbers have decreased from over 22,000 down to below 15,000. This is a result of being targeted by poachers that want to take the rhinos most charismatic feature, its horn.
The horn is made up of a protein called keratin which is the same protein found in human hair and finger nails. But there is a belief in several Asian countries that it cures all sorts of different issues from hangovers to cancer. Now of this has been medically proven. It has also grown as a status symbol to show other people that the one with the horn has money and is used to mix with drinks at parties. Basically the rhinos are dying for no reason at all. And it’s not fair.
These incredible animals that have so much personality suffer at the hands of us humans and their high calibre rifles. Coming in under the cover of darkness shooting them and hacking away their horn hopefully at least while they are alive, but sometimes it happens while they are still alive.
Continued in comments 👇

08/09/2023

Just taking a moment while photographing an inquisitive male giraffe while we sit on the sand of a dried up river bed. You can tell by the smile on my face that I’m so glad to be back on African soil.
Once you come to Africa it’s very hard to let it go. You’re bitten by the Africa bug and need to keep coming back.
That happened to me way back in 2011 as an 18 year old I had been out of school working for a few years and spent my savings coming out to Africa to do a conservation internship for 5 months. Instantly I feel in love with the country, its wildlife, the people and the environment. After that 5 months and going back to Australia I was already saving to come back again. I did my FGASA qualification and my back up trails, landed a job as a guide in KZN and then worked for over a year as a rhino monitor in Limpopo which I loved so much!
After covid and work commitments I haven’t been back to the African continent in over 5 years so to finally be back is such a relief. South Africa was amazing and now visiting a new country of Zambia I have a new found love for Africa in general. It’s a very special place.
I don’t get many photos of myself but thanks to I have this amazing encounter with this big bull giraffe saved in my phone. What a place!
Where have you been in Africa? What amazing encounters/experiences have you had? Do you want to go to Africa one day? I want to know your thoughts in the comments 👇
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For more of my work follow or visit www.jasonsavagephoto.com.au
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Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 03/09/2023

An african bush elephant, mother and calf move together over the vast expanse of South Africa’s just north of Orpen rest camp.
This sighting is really special to me as just ahead on the tar road was about 20 vehicles all jam packed trying to get a look at the male and female lions that were close to the road. I hate crowds so I hung back and waited for there to be less people.
During that time I saw a small herd of elephants in the distance and sat and watched them. There were several calves in the group and it was amazing to see just how bonded they are to mum. The largest land mammal on the planet and they are are incredibly passionate and caring for one another. They barely left each others sides.
Although elephants run a matriarchal group dynamic with several females in the herd. It’s the bond between mother and calf that is strongest.
The herd is made up of the matriarch which leads the herd, several other females and their offspring and young bulls that haven’t reached maturity yet.
It’s up to the matriarch to lead the herd to suitable feeding areas, water and safety. This means the matriarch is usually the oldest female that has the most knowledge of the environment.
Unfortunately it’s becoming harder and harder to find these suitable feeding areas and the herd has to move vast distances. This leads them into conflicts with people and villages. Elephants can do a lot of damage to crops and livelihoods in a single night. So pressure is always on them and many people don’t like having elephants around.
Loss of suitable habitats, poaching and snare have taken a toll on certain populations of elephants and their numbers have dropped from over 1.3 million in the 70s to around 400,000 today. They are very important to the landscape creating and changing habitats, dispersing seeds and allowing access to certain foods for smaller species.
Luckily South Africa has a healthy population of elephants and is one of the few countries with a stable population. But as numbers continue to decline elsewhere it was really nice to sit at a distance and watch this mother and calf go about their business undisturbed.

Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 20/08/2023

A female cheetah lays down and blends in perfectly with the yellow grass, orange sand and fallen mopane leaves around her. She almost disappears from sight. it’s an incredible moment seeing those stunning orange eyes looking at you from close range.
While spending some time on it was my goal to find and spend time with the cheetahs there. Although I didn’t get to spend as much time as I had hoped, it was this moment made up for it.
She is one of 6 cheetahs that call Mapesu home and the only female. She is the queen of this reserve. And with many different males to choose from hopefully there will be some cubs in the not to distant future.
Cheetahs are incredible animals. They are perfectly evolved for speed over short distances to catch prey. A streamline body, long legs and spine, semi retractable claws for grip, a long tail to counter balance as they change direction and enlarged nasal passage to allow more airflow in to cool the brain as it runs so it doesn’t overheat. Has allowed the cheetah to reach speeds over 110kms in just 3 seconds!
With all these adaptations it’s believed the cheetahs hunting success rate is over 50% making it one of the more successful hunters in africa. Unfortunately being only 60ish kgs for an adult male cheetah it’s hard to defend that kill from other predators and around 10% of cheetah kills get stolen from it.
Their conservation story is a tricky one. They are listed as vulnerable although there is only an estimated 7100 animals found throughout sub Saharan Africa and a small population in Iran. They have disappeared from 95% of their historical range. I believe they really should be listed as endangered.
It was such an honour to share space with this incredible cat before she moved off to find a safe place to rest for the night. It’s an encounter I won’t forget anytime soon!
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For more of my work follow or visit www.jasonsavagephoto.com.au
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Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 15/08/2023

An African Painted Dog that’s just been immobilised lays on the back of the bakkie (Ute) with a blind fold on ready to have a tracking collar placed around its neck.
Last week I was able to join the wildscapes veterinarian team of and as they tried to collar an African Painted Dog on a private reserve in the Hoedspruit area for the that monitors most of the dogs in the area.
This was a new pack to the area and it’s so important to track their movements as they can move vast distances, with fences not being able to restrict them. The information given will allow the to see what properties they spend most of their time on. Many of the smaller farms have issues with snaring and with Pianted Dogs being endangered every dog matters!
Snaring, disease, persecution from farmers and the reduction of their habitat/range have been major factors in the Painted Dog population falling to around 6500 individuals. So being able to monitor and check up on these packs is very important.
In this pack there were 10 dogs and after baiting them and calling them in with their hoo call over a speaker, they eventually showed themselves. was able to get a dart in and the dog moved off from the carcass and went into the bush while the others fed.
As night took over we had to wander through the bush to find this dog while the rest of pack members ran around us in the dark growling. They have such strong bonds between pack members that they wouldn’t abandon one of their own.
Once found the vets checked him over and was able to place the tracking collar on. The whole process was very fast and the dog was soon given the reversal drug. He woke up so fast and found the rest of the pack straight away.
It was an insane night and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. What an incredible experience, but more importantly such vital work. Thanks to wildscapes, and for allowing me to be apart of it.
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dog

08/05/2023

In the early misty morning a Southern Yellow Cheeked Gibbon takes a brief brake high in the canopy of Cat Tien National park.
Waking up well before sunrise and meeting the guide at the information centre we set out to find wild gibbons.
It was a cool misty morning which was a bit of a relief after several days of hot humid weather. It’s best to start the day early before the diurnal gibbons wake up. You can locate them quite easily once they start their morning territorial calls which echo through the still morning air.
Keeping up with them is another story. They cut through the canopy with their long arms and legs like a 100m sprinter. Moving for tree to tree with ease and at one stage we were running through the jungle trying to keep up. For a brief moment this female Yellow Cheeked Gibbon paused and then started calling.
You can tell she female by her paler colour where the males are her black. Both males and females will call in a duet and this is to let other gibbons know that it’s their territory and they do defend those territories when needed. Singing also strengthens bonds between pairs that are monogamous.
There is still a lot of research that needs to be done on this species as information is limited. They are listed as endangered with loss of their habitat and disturbance playing a key role.
It was an incredible morning going through the jungle watching these gibbons start their morning. You can do the gibbon trek as well if you’re ever visit Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam.
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Gibbons as a species need more help and attention. 4 species are listed as critically endangered, 13 as endangered, 1 as vulnerable and 2 as not yet assessed. It’s vital to support the organisations focusing on these less studied primates that are vital to healthy ecosystems.
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For more of my work follow or visit www.jasonsavagephoto.com.au
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Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 06/05/2023

Although the photos aren’t spectacular the conservation story of this species of crocodiles is. This is the critically endangered Siamese Crocodile which became locally extinct in the wild in Southern Vietnam in the early 1990s.
Here in Bau Sau wetland is a conservation success story. 60 pure bred Siamese crocodiles were picked from a local croc farm and reintroduced into this grand expanse of wetlands which were once described by the soldiers of the 600th division before 1980 as “eyes of the crocodiles in Bau Sau at night is as dense as the stars in the sky.”
The reintroduction happened in 2001. In late 2005 the first known baby crocs were spotted in the wild. As of 2019 there is an estimated 290 individuals living in the wetland ecosystem.
The story of the Siamese crocodile is a bleak one. It was believed to be extinct in the wild in 1992. Until they were rediscovered in small populations in Cambodia, Lao and Indonesian Borneo which resulted in conservation action being taken.
Large males can grow to 4m but most don’t get over 3.5. They eat mainly fish, amphibians and other reptiles. But they will catch small mammals that venture too close to the waters edge. They play a vital role within the ecosystem.
They live in a large range of habitats from wetlands, slow moving rivers, lakes and swamplands. Unfortunately they have disappeared from much of their habitats due to human encroachment, loss of habitat and hunting. Particularly in Cat Tien poaching was a massive issue for this species.
To see these crocs swimming around the lake was incredible. We spotted 3 and while I was laying down on a water level jetty these ones came up for a closer look. They were really inquisitive. It was truely humbling to be in the presence of one of the most endangered reptiles on the planet.
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For more of my work follow or visit www.jasonsavagephoto.com.au
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Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 26/04/2023

After visiting the rehab centre we decided to make our way to Da Nang in central Vietnam to go on a mini mission to find the critically endangered Red Shanked Douc Langurs in the wild. The mission was a success but it almost wasn’t.
After heavy rains the well known area and road that people travel down to try get a glimpse of these elusive primate had become impassable due to landslides.
We had traveled to the son trà peninsula after a contact had said they made it through the road block and found the langurs. We decided to go and have a look and try our luck.
Of course we were stopped and denied entry along the peninsula road. There were a few rhesus macaques hanging around the cliffs so we got some shots of them. We were about to call it a day but there was another road heading up to mountain to the . I thought we might as well check it out. If there is no langurs we could just get a cocktail?
As luck would have the staff allowed us to use their binoculars and we found a troop right by the tennis courts of this 5 star hotel. They allowed us to get rather close to them and we could see how they behaved and interacted with one another. Such an amazing experience and quite a strange place to find such a critically endangered primate.
They are mostly diurnal and are folivorous meaning that they eat mostly leaves. They live in a fission-fusion society meaning the size and composition of the social group changes over time.
The total population for this species is unknown but has declined rapidly, particularly in Vietnam. This particular population on the son trà peninsula also faces an uncertain future with its natural habitat making way for development. Habitat loss and hunting has played a big role in the population decrease. They are now only found in Central Vietnam and Central and Southern Laos.
To me these primates are just stunning. That face and those gentle eyes are something I’ve never seen before with that orange mask and white facial hair. Hopefully one day I’ll get to find them again.
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Photos from Jason Savage Photo's post 18/04/2023

A series of photos of some Southern Yellow Cheeked Gibbons going about their day in a semi wild area at the endangered primate rescue centre in Vietnam (.vietnam .
Being in a semi wild area gives the gibbons time to adapt to life in the wild. Being able to freely move around the 2 and 5 hectare areas throughout the day and forage for fruits and leaves as they please.
Eventually when they are released back into the wild they will set up territories that cover massive areas, 10 times the size of the semi wild area. They defend that territory and let other gibbons know it’s their patch by singing very loud calls, mostly in the early morning, like this yellow cheek gibbon is doing in the first photo. It’s the sound of rainforest right throughout all the gibbons species distribution and a sound I’ll never get tired of.
Little is know about wild yellow cheeked gibbons as they haven’t been studied intensely. They are found in lowland rainforests in Southern Vietnam, Southern Laos and Eastern Cambodia. They are mainly frugivores and play a significant role in the ecosystem as seed dispersers from the fleshy fruits they eat.
Males of the species are black and the females are this brownish yellow colour. The young are all born this yellowy colour to blend in to their mothers fur when they are really small and then after a few months turn black like the males. Males will continue to stay black while the females will then turn back to the yellowy colour around the time of sexual maturity.
Unfortunately Southern yellow cheeked gibbons are listed as endangered mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Excessive military activities from the Vietnam war greatly impacted their habitat. They are also sometimes hunted for food and the illegal pet trade.
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For more of my work follow or visit www.jasonsavagephoto.com.au
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10/04/2023

A grey shanked douc langur checks me out whilst munching on some leaves at the endangered primate rescue centre (.vietnam ) in Vietnam.
Grey shanked Doug’s are one of around 14 species that the centre cares for with many unable to be released back into the wild but many that still can be. The centre has some semi wild areas where primates are released into to acclimatise to the natural world again and is apart of the steps to be reintroduced back into the wild.
The grey shanked douc is currently listed as critically endangered with no more than 1000 individuals living in the central highlands of Vietnam, Southeastern Laos and Northeastern Cambodia.
Their numbers have rapidly declined due to habitat loss of their forest homes, the illegal pet trade, hunting for bushmeat and for traditional medicines.
They are diurnal and live in troops up to 15 individuals which are male dominate. They spend most of their day looking for food. Being primarily folivorous they prefer leaves but will eat fruits and flowers when available.
Not to much is known about the grey shanked douc langurs as they haven’t been studied much. Being so endangered .vietnam plays an important role in rehabilitating animals and also captive breeding in the hope to ensure their long term survival in
Vietnam. I was so captivated by their incredible eyes and the way they looked at you and the way they elegantly moved about their holding enclosure. Here’s hoping those numbers continue to rise and I can hopefully try find them in the wild.
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Vietnam is one of the most important countries in the world for primate conservation. 25 species call Vietnam home, with 11 of those being listed as critically endangered and 5 that are endemic to Vietnam. Having worked in vietnam for over 2 decades play a leading role in protecting the country’s critically endangered primates and their homes. Please show them some support and check out all their incredible projects. ————————————————————————

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