May 14, 2009

The Surprising Six

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 9:56 am

Lung Fish:Deep beneath the cracked mud of adry lake bed lurks a living fish. The lungfish waits out the dry season in a cocoon of its own mucus until the rains arrive to release it . Its lung -like bladder allows it to breathe out of water.

Armadillo Girdled Lizard:This spiny -scaled reptile inhabits¬† rocky crevices in South Africa’s Western Cape. If caught out in the open by a predator it will take in its mouth and roll itself into an unswallowable ball.

Hero Shrew:A small,furry animal weighing just 100g. This remarkable insectivore has a masssively reinforced spine that can support the weight of a grown man.

European Swift:This migrant from Europe has such tiny, vestigial feet that it cannot perch -except by clinging to vertical surfaces

Cartwheel Spider:When ambushed by a hunting wasp or lizard, this diminutive denizen of the Namid Desert simply flips on its side and cartwheels away down the dune slope.

Black Heron:It makes a unique canopy of its wings in order to lure fish into the shade.

May 13, 2009

Kakamenga Forest a natural success

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 2:45 am

Kakamenga forest,the easternmost fragment of the Guinea – Congolian rainforest, is world famous for its unique biodiversity, which includes a huge variety of pants , birds,reptiles, mammals and insects. Sitting on the fringes of this forest in western Kenya is the village of Virhembe, a contrastingly nondescript neighborhood for such a famous site.

Kakamenga forest is invaluable to the people living around it ,many of whom depend on it for timber,fuel-wood,herbal medicines,food, income and new land for Agriculture and settlement.However increasing human and economic pressure,and haphazard,excessive and wasteful exploitation posed a threat to its survival.

There are several projects set by the people living within the area, there is the Muliru Farmers Conservation Group that came together in an effort to try and conserve the forest and earn a livelihood, by planting tree seedings in their homesteads which they would sell to neighbours.These project has been beneficial to the members bcauser they have build better homes. A lot of them, the low levels of literacy notwithstanding, are eager to acquire computer and business management skills.

May 12, 2009

The Secret Seven

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 4:13 am

Pangolin:This scaly creature curled up in a giant artichoke.The animal is widespread but notoriously elusive, it continues to frustrate many a seasoned safari wathcher.

Caracal:The field guides reveal this beautiful cat to be one oof Africa’s most widespread carnivores.

Black footed cat:To spot this tiny cat you will need to search the arid scrubland of South Africa’s Karoo by night and probably for a long time

Coelacanth:This ancient fish, presumed extinct for 65 million years, first turned up on a South African trawler in 1938. Since then more have appeared in Indian Ocean locations, including off Kenya and Tanzania. But as they generallly live at 100m or below, live sightting are only for deeep sea- divers.

Pel’s Fishing Owl: This enigmatic, apricot – coloured owl has acquired a ceratin mystique among birdwatchers. But some locations, including Zambia Luangwa valley, offer reliable sightings.

Okapi: So elusive  is this cousin of giraffe that it was not described by western science until 1902. Today it is confined to the Iluri rainforest of the Domocratic Republic of Congo, where its striped coat blend into the dappled under-storey.

Congo Peacock:This shy bird was discovered even after in 1936. Scientists were amazed to find that it has close affinities with Asian peafowl.

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