cheetahs

The hunt and not the chase puts cheetahs at risk

New research into the lifestyle of the cheetah seems to indicate that cheetahs are using more energy looking for food than they use in super-fast chases when they catch their prey. It’s this hunt for food that is the greatest risk to the cheetah. This contradicts current wisdom that says the cheetah is heading towards extinction because it uses more energy than other big cats. With dwindling prey numbers and greater competition between predators it is thought the extra energy used in the chase puts the cheetah at a disadvantage. There are also issues with larger cats such as lions stealing prey bought down by cheetahs. The new research, led…

Calls for West African lions to be declared critically endangered

The results of a 6 year lion survey covering West Africa has shown just how precarious the population is. There is estimated to be barely 400 west African lions left spread over 5 countries. With fewer than 250 mature adult lions left the west African lion meets criterion C2a(ii) for designation as critically endangered. While officially there are only two sub-species of lions – African and Asiatic – modern studies have shown that lions from Central, West and North Africa are genetically linked to Asiatic lions rather than southern and eastern African lions. The northern Africa lion – also known as the Barbary lion – is already extinct which makes the…

62% of African forest elephants killed in 10 years

The sheer scale and speed of elephant poaching in central Africa has been highlighted in a new long-term multi-national study of forest elephant populations. In 10 years 62% of the elephants have been killed  and a third of all their habitat of 10 years ago is now too dangerous for them to live in. The study, which is the largest of any ever undertaken on the African forest elephant  included work from over 60 researchers and spanned from 2002 till 2011. Conservation staff who took part in the surveys committed 91,600 days surveying elephants in 5 countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and the Republic of Congo), walking over…

West Africa agrees to multi-national anti-poaching force

A gang of 300 Sudanese elephant poachers have wrecked havoc across west African elephant populations. Now the affected African states are fighting back and have agreed to the formation of a specialist 1,000 strong anti-poaching unit that will cost USD 2.3 million. The 15 west African countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in Yaounde, Cameroon, between March 21 and 23 to discuss a range of issues that affect the region. How to combat the poaching gangs from Sudan was on the agenda. The new plan will see a new military force of 1,000 soldiers made available for deployment to areas that the poachers are…

Male lions hunt in a hidden world

When you watch nature programmes it’s easy to think that the male lion in Africa has an easy life with the females heading out on hunts to feed the pride. But it may not be quite so simple. New research seems to indicate that male lions are just as effective at females on hunts but they use a different and hidden strategy. While both male and female lions head out to hunt at night under the cover of darkness the way that each hunt differs. Females will hunt as a group and work together to kill their prey. Working in a pack over open ground its easy to think that…

The night of elephant slaughter in Chad

Chadian government authorities have confirmed that at least 89 elephants were killed in one night  – Thursday March 14-15 – near the town of Ganba in southern Chad. The slaughtered elephants included 33 pregnant females and 15 elephant calves. Sources said that the poachers arrived on horseback and were speaking Arabic. It was estimated that there were 50 poachers taking part in the attack on the herd. There are unconfirmed reports that the poachers who under took the slaughter are from the same group that attacked elephant herds in Cameroon in February last year killing over 300 elephants. The local WWF office in Cameroon issued a statement slamming the latest atrocity.…

African parrots return home from Bulgaria

Thirty-two illegally caught African Gray parrots that ended up being seized in Bulgaria have now found their way back home to Africa in a first of its kind operation. While confiscated parrots in Africa have been returned to the wild before, for the first time confiscated parrots from outside the continent have been returned for release. In a journey that has taken 3 years to complete the endangered parrots were first caught from the wild and exported to Lebanon. From there they were transferred to Bulgaria were they were confiscated on arrival by customs officials. Now the grey parrots have made the return flight home and are being rehabilitated and…

Attenborough’s Africa leads a safari renaissance

Sir David Attenborough’s latest BBC series Africa has relaunched the safari tourism trade and with modern internet sharing and online watching it is not just the British audience that have been inspired to look again at the African safari for a holiday this year. Many safari holiday operators have had a tough few years with the financial markets reducing demand from Western clients. While the Chinese tourist is increasing in number they did not make up for the lost of high spending western customers. However since the broadcast of Africa a number of operators are reporting increasing bookings and enquiries. While many who opt to go on safari this year…

A tale of two rhino

Just as in the Dickens novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ we can see just how different the settings are for the African rhino at Kruger National Park and the Asian rhino at the Kaziranga National Park. The plight of the two could not be more different. The southern white rhino of southern Africa number about 18,000 most of which live in South Africa and having a stronghold in the Kruger National Park. The one-horned rhino or Asian rhino has a population of about 3,000 left in wild, predominately in India with a small number in Nepal. The vast majority of the rhino, about 2,200, live in the Kaziranga National…

Can restaurants help save the vulture?

GPS tracking of young white-backed vultures in southern Africa shows that these fast diminishing birds tend to avoid national parks and prefer to feed on dead cattle on grasslands and farmland. This poses a real problem as chemicals used in cattle rearing can be toxic to vultures. However when a bird finds a ‘vulture restaurant’ it does not roam so much. Special feeding stations for vultures that are known as ‘vulture restaurants’ could help to ensure that the white-backed vulture (G. africanus) of southern Africa remains a viable species. While the species is widespread it is officially classed as endangered because of the rapid reductions in population. To try and…

The disappearing savannah

A new study by Duke University using high-resolution satellite images has shown that in the last 50 years over 75% of African savannah has been lost and there is just 10 locations left that are able to support a sustainable lion population in the long-term. The new study highlights how using high-resolution mapping can change the view of land use which was first established using low-resolution mapping. Taking a closer look by using maps from Google Earth the researchers were able to determine that many areas which had previously been classed as unbroken savannah were in fact peppered with agricultural fields and human habitation.  There was only 67 areas of isolated savannah left which had a low…

Interpol prepares to target African poachers

Interpol has just released details about the successful conclusion of a 6 day training course for wildlife officers from across Africa. The course involved 20 officers from 10 western African countries being trained in how to ‘conduct strategic wildlife law enforcement inspections’. The main reason for the training was to prepare the officers so they could return to their countries ‘with the knowledge and skills required to plan for a coordinated transnational operation in the upcoming months’. Interpol also hopes that those who have completed the course will have been able to make valuable connections with each other to allow them to co-operate on a regional level on an ongoing…

The forgotten plight of the lion

The lion is an iconic part of the landscape in Africa. It’s one of the Big Five and draws in tourists. But has the plight of the lion been overshadowed by conservation concerns of other species. could it be that the lion is so iconic that we forget that it is in a pretty precarious position. Mention the rhino and people automatically know that it is under threat and needs a lot of protection but the same attitude does not appear to be foremost when the lion is mentioned. But population numbers of rhino and lions are not too dissimilar. so why is the lion not attracting the high-profile campaigning…

Germany agrees to fund the Serengeti Highway

Following a meeting earlier today between Tanzanian government ministers and a German trade mission Germany has offered to fund the construction of the controversial Serengeti Highway which is planned to cut through the southern section of a national park and cross the route of one of the last great wildlife migrations. The meeting which led to the agreement was between Tanzanian Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Amb. Khamis Kagasheki and German deputy head of Mission, Mr Hans Koeppel. As well as funding the building of the highway the Germans have also offered to fund the production of a feasibility study on the southern section of the route that will have the…

WWF staff fired in USD400,000 fraud

Eight employees of WWF’s offices in Tanzania have been fired for their involvement in a US$400,000 fraud. The staff submitted fake expense receipts which were discovered during an audit by accountants from Ernst & Young. Fake hotel and taxi receipts submitted in fraud. The ex-staff submitted fake taxi and hotel expenses among others to defraud the local office of money received in donations. WWF International have stated that they will refund the donors of the money taken. Donors included the US and Norwegian governments. A statement issued by the World Wildlife Fund International President, Yolanta Kakabadse, and Director General Jim Leape said, “E&Y’s investigations confirmed fraud in all four projects that were reviewed. The amount…

Be prepared for bad news on elephant poaching

Each year CITES releases a report on the state of illegal elephant killings – mainly from poaching. The figures for last year (2011) are due for release in the next few weeks in preparation for the CITES Standing Committee meeting in July. The numbers of elephant killings could be higher than 2010. Late last week (Thursday 24th May) a written statement by CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, was presented to United States of America Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing looking into ‘Ivory and Insecurity: The Global Implications of Poaching in Africa’. [pullquote]The rise in levels of illegal killing and the dynamics surrounding it are worrying, not only for small and fragmented elephant populations, but also…

3D African photo safari

Having finally received my 3d glasses from an Amazon 3rd party shop (it took much longer than buying my new smartphone from China – I wonder why China is racing ahead of UK in it’s economy?) I thought I’d sort out some africa safari images and convert some to 3D. The best software I find for converting 2D images to 3D is the anamaker programme. Very simple to use and produces some pretty good results. So it’s the basis of the 3D photo safari that’s can be found below. You’ll need the red/cyan glasses to view the pictures of wild african animals. Using the 3D glasses will almost make you feel as…

How hunting is improving the lives of the poor in Namibia

For a lot of people in Africa life is tough. When you’re part of a rural community in Namibia that has traditionally been at the bottom of society then things are really tough. Extreme poverty and hunger becomes part of life. Sustainable hunting in community managed lands are turning the lives of the San group around.