Nicky Souness

Photographer and filmmaker

    We did find a lot of activity of moles, but the coastline is such a rich environment for coastal mammals, everywhere we walked there was just hundreds of tracks, of lots of little creatures, whether it's beetles, or Brown Hyenas or, big groups of cape fur seals on the cliffs.

    Nicky Souness is a South African photographer and filmmaker with a love of the wild. Nicky has dedicated her life to nature photography and conservation; she splits her time between many of the earth's remaining wild destinations. Working as an expedition and conservation photographer in Antarctica; the Arctic; Africa and India. Life in the wild has furnished Nicky with not only her guiding qualifications but also a deep knowledge and understanding of the wildlife she loves to photograph. Through photography and guiding, she channels her passion with others, hopefully contributing to the continued existence of those wild lands and the unique species that rely on them.

    She was embedded with an Endangered Wildlife Trust team in June 2021 in search of De Winton’s Golden Moles, capturing their efforts to literally comb beaches to try and find the elusive moles. 

    There hasn’t been a confirmed sighting of De Winton’s Golden Mole since 1936. There are no photos of the moles and conservationists are unsure if the species is extinct. If it does, it may be hiding beneath the sand in coastal areas that are becoming increasingly isolated. 

    “One of the things that I learned on the trip was about fragmentation of the species’ [habitats] with these areas being devastated with regards to either mining or building residential estates,” says Souness.  

    Nicky brought more than her artistic eye to the expedition; she joined the team in tracking and identifying all sorts of species. 

    “One thing that I just noticed about that coastline, which was phenomenal is the abundance of life, not just finding moles,” says Nicky. “We did find a lot of activity of moles, but the coastline is such a rich environment for coastal mammals, everywhere we walked there was just hundreds of tracks, of lots of little creatures, whether it's beetles or Brown Hyenas, big groups of cape fur seals on the cliffs. There was great bird activity! Even though it was a mining site, there was still always diversity there. There's a lot of species that are still surviving through this all, which is quite remarkable.”

    Wild Facts

    • There are 21 species of golden moles.

    • There hasn't been any sightings of De Winton’s Golden Mole since 1936.

    • Golden moles move by “swimming” through the sand using their wide claws as paddles.