May 9, 2009

Rhino Removals

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 9:09 am

The plight of the elusive black rhino is well known, with less than 3,000 of these impressive animals left in the world today. In Kenya, despite poaching reducing numbers from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s to less than 300in the 1980s, conservation efforts have now suceeded in boosting current numbers to 539.

As the rhino population slowly recovers, however conservationists are faced with the new challenge of finding suitable areas for them to live in. In February the Ol Pejeta Conservancy began the single biggest rhino translocation ever undertaken in East Africa .

The project aims to eventually move 34 rhinos (each equipped with its own horn – mounted transmitter to enable careful post – release monitoring) from the overcrowded Solio Rhino Sanctuary into the recently expanded Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the Likipia District, providing a firther 30,350ha of prime black rhino habitat. The translocation will also hopefully maximise rhino birth rates, with final breeding population in the parkof 79 black rhino – the largest in East Africa.

May 8, 2009

The Noisy Nine

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 3:30 am

Barking Gecko:The true sound of the Kalahari is the clicking of male barking gecko as dusk draws them to their burrow entrance. The noise builds as each rival takes up the challenge, like a chorus of shaken matchboxes,

Spotted Hyena:The questioning ‘whoop’ of spotted hyenas embodies a night in the African bush. It serves to call wandering individuals together so they can pirate a kill and hare the spoils.

Hadeda Ibis:Melodic is not. Bur the raucous braying of this bird heralds its arrival as surely as a trumpet fanfare – from the gardens of suburban Jo’burg to the lakeshores of Nakuru.

Bushbaby:The largest bushbaby has the loudest territorial call: piercing infant like shrieks that leave no doubt the origin of its name.

Trumpeter Hornbill:A ‘bushbaby’ heard by day is probably one of these big beaked birds, whose wailing calls help keep the feeding party together. Listenout for the whoosh of wings overhead as they lurch from tree to tree.

Tree Hyrax:If a ‘bushbaby’ sounds unhappy, then you may be listening to a tree hyrax, whose crescendo of nocturnal cries climaxes in choking screams.

Hippo: Their deep, resonant grunts – amplified by the great barrel of a body – roll for kilometres downstream.

Cicada:This ear splitting insect gensrates its relentless noise not by stridulation (rubbing together legs or wings, as crickets do), but by the rapid, rhythmic contraction of organs on its abdomen called ‘timbals’. Only males produce the sound.

African Fish Eagle:This striking raptor gets top marks for effort as it throws bach its head in yodelling duet with its mate.

May 7, 2009

Five things Africa might lose

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 8:50 am

Snow of Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are melting fast. They heve shrunk by one quarter since 2006, and at this rate may be gone entirely by 2015. Some scientists blame global worming . Others blame deforestration on the lower slopes, which prevent prevailling winds from picking up enough moisture to replenish the evaporating ice with water.

Lake Chad

this lake was once Africas largest body of fresh water., comparable in size with Canada’s Lake Erie. But an increasingly dry climate and the ever-growing demand for water, including massive irrigation projects, have taken their toll. In just 40 years,it has shrunk from 25,000km2 to 500km2.

Fynbos

The unique fynbos of South Africa’s cape isthe smallest, yet more diverse, of the world’s floristic kingdoms. More than 8,600 plant species, of which two thirdsare endemic, are found in an area of less than 90,000km2. But fynbos is vanishing under pressure from Agriculture, urban development and alien plants. More than one third of its original area and 36 species of plant are already gone.

Northern White Rhino

Critically endangered is an understatement for the northern white rhino: just for wild individuals remain, all of them in the DRC’s Garamba National Park.After decades of poaching , the magnificent animal is now the victim of regional unrest , with armed militias roaming the park. Its prospects look bleak.

Blue Swallow

This endangered bird is confined to a scattered handful of locations from South Africa to southern Tanzania. Its habitat – high altitude mistbelt grassland – is under intense pressure from commercial agriculture, including timber plantations, and sugar cane. Fewer than 4,000 pairs are now thought to remain.

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