Showing 1 to 10 of 12 blog articles.
The Tribe Endangered

This is the introduction to a series on animals that are endangered or in decline, giving them a name so that we can give them a voice.

A.E. (Anthony) Lovell

Meet this tribe
These far flung ones
Precious ones we can’t let go
Little do they know
Their lives are in our hands
And in our plans
What is the plan for these friends
Endangered or in decline?
But they are not numbers
Or strange tongue twisting names
Linnaean Taxonomic classifications
They are sentient beings
We are sentient beings
We have that in common
But only we can control
Whether they get to keep ther home
In the wild, not in captivity
We want to see them in the future
In their natural estate
Not protected by being taken and contained
Effectively gone in the wild
On the shortlist to extinction
Let’s get them off the list
Let’s treat them with respect
As if their life matters
To them and us 
Directly and indirectly
We are their greatest threat
We’re giving them a name
And a face to go with it
And a tribe to recognise
These endangered ones banding together
Safety in numbers is their hope
And names as fellow creatures
Their rescue rope

We’ve anthropologised them
Within an inch of their lives
Some even further, now gone
Now we must anthropomorphise
To call them back from the brink
There are better ways in the future
Just recognise sentience
We have to lo and behold them
To hold them and keep them dear
With all the life on earth 
encircled on this sphere

The first is George...
He already has his name
Then it will be your turn
To give the others
Their names

391   2 days ago
Bycanistes subcylindricus

The Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill is distributed to evergreen forests and savanna across equatorial Africa, in central and western Africa.

Females have a smaller casque and a black bill. The purpose of the casque is unknown for males, although suggested to be for sexual characterization. 

The black-and-white-casqued hornbill has very mobile eyes which is not a common trait in birds. 


This means that its eyes themselves can move in their socket, while other birds tend to have to move their heads to see. 

It is capable of displaying emotions through the feathers at the top of the head, which allows it to communicate its emotional state. 

Black-and-white-casqued hornbills are quite vocal, with a large repertoire of calls, one of which can be heard from a distance of 2km.

A monogamous species. Pairs commonly nest in naturally formed cavities 9 to 30 m high in large (>3 m circumference) rainforest trees. 


Due to the rarity of these nesting cavities, there is a high degree of intraspecific competition for nesting sites. In order to protect their nest, pairs seal the cavity with mud pellets collected by the male. Inside, the female lays a clutch of 2 eggs, which are white in color with pitted shells. The eggs are incubated for 42 days while the male delivers food to the female hourly through a small slit, regurgitating numerous fruits, mammals, and insects. The male can bring up to 200 fruits per visit. 

Usually, only one offspring is reared, with the chick from the second-laid egg dying of starvation. Newly hatched chicks have pink skin and open their eyes at 20 days of age. The offspring fledge in 70 to 79 days and can feed themselves by 40 to 72 days after fledging.

The diet consists mainly of figs, fruits, insects, and small animals found in the trees. Black-and-white-casqued hornbills are mainly frugivorous, with fruit comprising 90% of their diet, 56% belonging to Ficus species. They forage by hopping from branch to branch in the rainforest canopy and reaching for fruit with the tip of the bill, which they then swallow whole. This species is known to consume over 41 plant genera. The black-and-white-casqued hornbill does not consume water directly and seems to instead hydrate itself from the water contained in the fruits that represent most of its diet.

Black-and-white-casqued hornbills mediate seed dispersal of rainforest trees, by defecating or regurgitating seeds.

Carnivores, apes, monkeys, snakes, raptors, and humans all prey on these hornbills.

#Birdsofeastafrica

#visituganadarwandatanzania

interiorsafarisea.com 

19   27 days ago
Marabou stork-Leptoptilos crumenifer

Marabou stork is a large, unusual-looking bird. In addition to hollow leg bones, marabou storks have hollow toe bones. In such a large bird, this is an important adaptation for flight. The African Marabou storks reach a wingspan of 2,6 m and a height of 1,5 m. 

Marabou storks are bald-headed. Males can be identified by their large air sacs. In addition, males are generally slightly larger and taller than females. Sexes are alike in coloration. A juvenile has similar coloration but is duller. Immature birds have a woolly covering on their heads and do not gain the black in their plumage until about three-years-old.


Its soft, white tail feathers are known as marabou. Its neck and head contain no feathers. The Marabou stork has a long, reddish pouch hanging from its neck. This pouch is used in courtship rituals. The naked 18-inch inflatable pink sac is particularly conspicuous during the breeding season. It connects directly to the left nostril and acts as a resonator allowing the bird to produce a guttural croaking. While usually silent, the Marabou Stork will also emit a sound caused by beak clacking if it feels threatened.


They mainly feed on carrion and scraps. Although it doesn't seem to be very sympathetic in human eyes, this behavior is of great importance to the ecosystem they inhabit; by removing carcasses and rotting material, Marabous help to avoid the spreading of pathogens. They are scavengers, they eat anything from termites, flamingoes and small birds and mammals to human refuse and dead elephants. They also feed on carcasses with vultures and hyenas.


Marabou storks are attracted to grass fires. They march in front of the advancing fire grabbing animals that are fleeing.


Marabous breed on the treetops, where they build large nests. It reaches sexual maturity when it is approximately four years old and usually mates for life. They are colonial breeders, their nests are a large, flat platform made of sticks with a shallow central cup lined with smaller sticks and green leaves. Usually, 2-3 eggs are laid during the dry season. Both sexes incubate; eggs hatch in 30 days. Their young are helpless at birth. Both sexes tend and feed the young. The fledging period is 3-4 months.


Marabou Stork defecates upon its legs and feet. It helps in regulating body temperature, and also gives the false appearance that the birds have lovely white legs. Like many birds, the Marabou Stork also pants when it becomes hot, again to lower its body temperature.


These are particularly lazy birds and spend much of their time standing motionless, though once they take flight they are very elegant, using thermal up-draughts to provide the needed lift. Like other storks, they fly with their especially long legs trailing behind, but unlike their cousins they keep their neck tucked well in and bent into a flattened S; this allows the weight of the heavy beak to be taken on the shoulders. #birdsofeastafrica. 

78   1 month ago
7 Unique Experiences You Can Only Have in Uganda

www.interiorsafarisea.com

Uganda earned its status as a bucket list destination thanks

to the country’s most famous residents, the majestic mountain gorilla. The

thrill of trekking through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and spending time

in the presence of these extraordinary animals draws travelers from around the

world, but there’s so much more to Uganda than awe-inspiring apes.

This astonishingly diverse country which Winston Churchill

famously dubbed the ‘Pearl of Africa’ is also home to tree-climbing lions, some

of the rarest bird species on the planet like the African-Green Broadbill

and the spectacular natural scenery that will leave you in awe.

Are you an animal activists or you are a conservationist, or you are just a nature lover or both, If you’re ready to start planning the ultimate Uganda

itinerary, read on for a list of remarkable experiences from wildlife viewing

to cultural attractions that can’t be missed.

Elephant surrounded by grass and trees in Uganda

Spot four of the Big Five on safari in Uganda- © Godfrey

Elasmus.


1. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest Reserve

Chimpanzee trekking offers a completely different experience

to a traditional gorilla trekking tour. Rather than observing gentle giants in

a quiet, intimate setting, you’ll follow a boisterous group of chimps as they

leap and scamper through Budongo Forest Reserve, heading in whatever direction

the agile animals lead you.

The reserve is home to nearly 700 of these playful primates

including six groups habituated for trekking. Knowledgeable guides follow the

chimps’ daily movements and lead groups of up to six people into their habitat.

Much like on a gorilla trek, it can take anywhere from 30

minutes to a full day to locate a group of chimpanzees, which provides ample

time for participants to learn about the forest’s ecology before spending an

hour watching a chimp family play and go about their daily lives in the wild.

Chimpanzee swinging from tree branches in Uganda

Add chimpanzee trekking to your Uganda itinerary-© Godfrey

Elasmus.


2. Look up for the tree-climbing lions in Queen

Elizabeth National Park

Not only is Queen Elizabeth National Park home to four of

the Big Five safari animals (lion, leopard, elephant, and Cape buffalo), it’s

also one of the few places on the continent where you can see a wonderfully

rare wildlife sighting: tree-climbing lions.

 Found in the park’s southerly Ishasha sector, lions ascend

the wide branches of acacia and sycamore fig trees to catch a cool breeze and

avoid insect bites on the ground-a unique behavior that’s rarely exhibited in

other lion populations. If your safari guide shouts “lions!” in this region,

remember to look up rather than out at the grasslands.

 When traversing the park, be sure to plan a stop at the

equator. Monuments on both sides of the road mark the exact spot of latitude

00, a perfect photo opportunity.

Lion in the grass in Uganda

Look for lions on the ground and up in trees in Queen

Elizabeth National Park-©Godfrey Elasmus


3. Spot rare bird species in Uganda’s parks

If you’re a birding enthusiast, prepare to be wowed: Uganda

is home to more than half of Africa’s bird species, and it’s one of the richest

birding destinations on the continent. Visitors from across the globe flock to

Uganda hoping to get a glimpse of more than 1,000 species, including several

found nowhere else on Earth.

 With the right itinerary, it’s possible to identify as many

as 200 species in a single day. Keep an eye out for the prehistoric-looking

shoebill stork, considered one of the most desirable bird sightings in Africa;

the colorful African green broadbill found in Bwindi Impenetrable National

Park; and one of the world’s rarest birds: the elusive Shelley’s crimson wing

(which can be found in Bwindi and Kibale National Park).

 Two birds sitting on a branch in Uganda

Uganda is an excellent destination for birding enthusiasts.


4. Ride the Nile to Murchison Falls

Majestic waterfalls draw visitors to Murchison Falls

National Park, and a boat trip along the Nile River to their base is one of

Uganda’s signature wildlife activities.

 The three-hour trip allows travelers to get up close and

personal with an abundance of wildlife, including hippos, Nile crocodiles,

elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and plenty of birds.

 This activity offers a new perspective on the traditional

safari, along with incredible photo opportunities. An early boat trip in the

cooler morning hours is often followed by an afternoon game drive and

sundowners, while a morning game drive and bush breakfast set the stage for an

afternoon boat trip.

 Murchison Falls, Uganda

Murchison Falls, Uganda -©Godfrey Elasmus


5. Whitewater rafting on the Nile

When it comes to adrenaline-fueled activities in Uganda,

look no further than Jinja, the undisputed adventure capital of East Africa.

 Of the town’s many activities from horseback riding to

kayaking and bungee jumping-nothing is more thrilling than whitewater rafting

on the Nile. This mighty river boasts class 1-6 rapids, making it an ideal

activity for first-time rafters, families, and adrenaline junkies looking for

an unforgettable adventure.

 Rafters on the lower-class rapids can enjoy a relaxing

float, swimming in the river’s warm pools along the way, while those opting for

higher class rapids can set off on a heart-pounding adventure filled with

plenty of thrills and spills.

The Nile River, Uganda-©Godfrey Elasmus


6. Get buzzed on a coffee safari

Uganda is quickly becoming the next up-and-coming

destination for specialty coffee in East Africa thanks to its high-quality

Arabica coffee plants.

A coffee safari in the Sipi Falls region or the Buhoma

sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a fantastic way to learn about

the country’s burgeoning coffee industry (and get your caffeine fix at the same

time).

 Directly benefiting local communities, these coffee tours

give visitors the chance to explore coffee farms, meet local farmers, and learn

about the stages of production from field to cup. Of course, a sample of the

plantation’s finest brew is included as well.

 Rolling hills and greenery in Uganda

Experience the beauty of Uganda’s rural regions-©Godfrey Elasmus.


7. Experience the culture of rural communities

Uganda’s culture is defined by its colorful communities and

more than 50 distinct ethnic groups. Each area of the country offers

opportunities for visitors to interact with locals and learn about their unique

customs and livelihoods.

 Activities like the Batwa Experience near Mgahinga Gorilla

National Park offer a glimpse into the living history of this tribe that once

called Uganda’s forests home. The Batwa are one of the oldest surviving

communities in Africa and have preserved many of their traditions.

The Ik reside on Mount Morungole

near Kidepo Valley National Park and welcome visitors who partake

in a challenging day-long hike to their isolated home.

 Due to years of isolation and their strong beliefs, the

Ik have been able to maintain their ancestral customs dating back

thousands of years and willingly share these with visitors keen to make the

trek.

 Thinking it’s time to make your dream Uganda trip a reality?

Head to www.interiorsafarisea.com now to explore a range of Uganda tours, and

get ready to cross these bucket list-worthy adventures off your list-©Godfrey Elasmus

108   1 month ago
Amphibious Hippopotamus


Hippopotamus is also commonly known as Water-Horse. Hippos are the third-largest land mammal after the elephant and the rhinoceros. Weighing in at 1,500–1,800 kg (3,300–4,000 lb.), an adult male stands up to 1.5m (4.5 feet) at the shoulder, and, oddly enough, their closest living relatives are whales and dolphins. Hippos spend most of their days submerged in water to keep cool, as they have no sweat glands.

Though they have webbed feet, their huge bulk prevents them from floating and they cannot swim. Their size does not, however, prevent them from outrunning a human - hippos have been estimated to reach terrifying speeds of up to 30 or even 40km per hour on land.

An adult hippo can spend as long as six minutes underwater, and their raised eyes, ears and nostrils allow them to remain almost entirely submerged for long periods of time. After spending the day bathing, hippos venture out at dusk and spend the night grazing, travelling up to 8km (5 miles) and consuming up to 68kg (150lbs) of grass each night to maintain their enormous size.

When hippos sleep in the water during the day they generally prefer to sleep in areas of shallower water. They are not standing or floating when you see them sleeping but rather laying flat on their bellies. Despite being semiaquatic and having webbed feet, an adult hippo is not a particularly good swimmer nor can it float. It is rarely found in deep water; when it is, the animal moves by porpoise-like leaps from the bottom.

#AfricantripswithGodie

#visitUgandarwandatanzania #Mammalsofeastafrica

54   1 month ago
Reflection of the pearl of Africa


Tourism is a recreational travel that people do, Uganda has

been one of the African countries that has attracted prominent number of

tourists from different parts of the world. Uganda the pearl of Africa is one

of the fastest growing economies in Africa, there are so many building blocks

of this economy but one of the vital one that she is proud of is her tourist

attraction that she exhibits to tourists, with a lot of nature, culture and

amusement to offer. A tree did not start as a tree it started as a seedling

sown in the soil and because of the rich nutrient of the soil and care given to

it, it turned it into a tree, there are companies that have thrived and are

still pushing hard to strengthen the tourism industry in Uganda. One of them is

Interior safaris East Africa, one of the veins of the heart of Uganda tourism.

Uganda

has one of the best climates in Africa and in the whole world, this has maintained her tourist

attractions which has made it possible for tourism to occur. One of Uganda’s

tourist attractions are national parks, Uganda has numerous national parks like

Murchison Falls National Park often known as Kabalega mostly visited by

tourists because of its natural beauty, it’s located in the northern region of

Uganda it is 1,344 square miles large this makes it the largest wildlife

reserve. Queen Elizabeth National

Park which is 1,978 square kilometers in size and Lake Mburo National Park etc.

Uganda also has unique eye-catching features in the national parks like trees,

different species of birds and mountain gorillas. Interesting and enjoyable

activities at your view from different parts of the parks which includes

birding, chimpanzee tracking, cultural visits like meeting pygmies from Batwa

who were the first inhabitant of montane rainforest, hot air balloon safaris

and boat cruise. Due to the magnificent hospitality that Ugandans give tourists,

has increased their interest in touring the country because they make them feel

at home. All national parks in Uganda have lodges and hotels at different

points of the national parks which provide the tourists with good care, great

meals and fancy accommodation. When it comes to the longest river in the world

don’t look farther because it’s here in Uganda as well as mount Elgon, these

are places tourists won’t stop talking about because they are enticing and rich

in nature.

Life

has been made easy in case you would love to tour Uganda; with the help of

Interior Safaris East Africa you can be anywhere you want to be. Interior

safaris East Africa has been in the center of the tourism industry in Uganda,

it was founded by Elasmus Godfrey Tumwesigye in 2013. It has its head office in

Uganda. Interior safaris East Africa cares so much about their customers to the

extent that we have Agents in Europe for tourists interested in bare a peek of

the pear of Africa and the great lakes at large.  Interior Safaris East Africa is surely the

right package deal to take you around Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania because it

comes With lots of surprises from their services, Interior Safaris East Africa

gives the best to its customers, and that’s why before tourists decide on the

place they would love to visit they first speak to a tour consultant from Interior

Safaris East Africa who will later give them advice about the package that will

fit in their budget that they will be comfortable with.

Connect now to be in a

place enriched with nature. 

68   1 month ago
International Polar Bear Day: Feb 27, 2021

Information from https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/fascinating-facts/polar-bears

photo: Florian Schulz/visionofthewild.com

1. POLAR BEARS ARE CLASSIFIED AS MARINE MAMMALS

Because they spend most of their lives on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean depending on the ocean for their food & habitat, polar bears are the only bear species to be considered marine mammals 

photo Jon Aars/Norwegian Polar Institute/WWF-Canon

2. POLAR BEARS ARE ACTUALLY BLACK, NOT WHITE 

Polar bear fur is translucent, and only appears white because it reflects visible light.  Beneath all that thick fur, their skin is jet black. 

Photo: naturepl.com/Steven Kazlowski/WWF

3. THEY CAN SWIM CONSTANTLY FOR DAYS AT A TIME. 

As well as reaching speeds of up to 6mph in the water, polar bears can swim for long distances and steadily for many hours to get from one piece of ice to another. 

Their large paws are specially adapted for swimming, which they'll use to paddle through the water while holding their hind legs flat like a rudder. 

 photo: Steve Morello/WWF

4. LESS THAN 2% OF POLAR BEAR HUNTS ARE SUCCESSFUL 

Although about half of a polar bear's life is spent hunting for food, their hunts are rarely successful.  Polar bears main prey consists of ringed seals and bearded seals, 

though they will scavenge carcasses or settle for small  mammals, birds, eggs, and vegetation 

photo: Public Domain

5. SCIENTISTS CAN EXTRACT POLAR BEAR DNA FROM JUST THEIR FOOTPRINTS 

an innovative new technique developed by WWF and DNA specialist firm SPYGEN allows scientists to isolate DNA from a polar bear's footprint in the snow. 

Two tiny scoops of snow from a polar bear track revealed not just the DNA of the polar bear that made it, but even from a seal, it had recently eaten. 

photo from WWF.org Website

6. THEY FACE MORE THREATS THAN CLIMATE CHANGE

While climate change remains the greatest threat to the polar bear's survival, that is not all that the predator is up against.  The oil and gas industry is turning its eyes to the arctic, and with it comes potential risks of habitat destruction from oil exploration work.  Contact with oil spills can reduce the insulating effect of a bear's fur requiring them to use more energy to get warm, and can poison them if ingested.  Polar bears can also be exposed to toxic chemicals such as pesticides through their prey, which can affect a bear's biological functioning and ability to reproduce. 

photo: Klein & Hubert/ WWF

7.  GRIZZLY-POLAR BEAR HYBRIDS EXIST

As recently as 2006 genetic testing confirmed the existence of polar bear-grizzly bear hybrids, also known as 'grolar bears' or pizzly bears'.  The hybrid physically resembles an intermediate between the two species, but as wild hybrids are usually birthed from polar bear mothers they are raised and behave like polar bears.  The ability for polar bears and grizzly bears to interbreed is unsurprising when you consider that polar bears evolved from brown bears as recently as 150,000 years ago. 

 image:  WWF-Canada

8. THERE ARE AS MANY AS 19 SUBPOULATIONS OF POLAR BEAR

The total population of approximately 26,000 wild polar bears is divided into 19 units or subpopulations, of these just 1 subpopulation is increasing, 5 are stable and 4 are in decline.  The remaining 9 have not been assessed as they are data deficient. - we simply do not have enough information about them to know how they are doing.

 

photo: Steve Marello/WWF

9. MALE POLAR BEARS CAN WEIGH AS MUCH AS 10 MEN

Male polar bears can weigh up to 800kg and are twice the size of females.  This, in addition to the fact that they can measure up to 3 metres long, making polar bears the largest land carnivore in the world. 

photo WWF-US/Elizabeth Kruger

10 THEY CAN SMELL THEIR PREY UP TO A KILOMETER AWAY 

Polar Bears have a very strong sense of smell, which they use to find seal breathing holes in the ice.  Once it has found the hole, the bear will wait patiently until the seal comes up for air to attack.  They can even detect a seal in the water beneath a metre of compacted snow. 

PLEASE ADOPT A POLAR BEAR AT support.wwf.org.uk

Other cool facts about Polar Bears: 


They can overheat when in running in the summer and when temperatures rise above freezing. 

The clean themselves by rolling in snow. 

They can reach speeds of up to 25 mph on land and swim 6mph. 

They can live up to 30 years 

A female polar bear will have an average of 5 litters of cubs her lifetime 

SAFARI TRIPS TO SEE POLAR BEARS! 

Polar Bear Mother and Newborn Cubs – March

Spring Polar Bears of Baffin – March & April

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari – May & June

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island – August

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari – October & November


YES, THERE IS MORE TO KNOW! 

Polar bears touch noses to ask to share food. 

Polar bears do not prefer sea ice to land, they need sea ice to survive. 

A polar bear’s hunting and eating patterns depend completely on sea ice. Why? Because seals depend on it––and seals are the only food source with a high enough fat content and enough calories to keep a polar bear healthy. Polar bears can only reach seals from the platform of sea ice. While they are good swimmers, catching a seal in open water is extremely challenging and unlikely. Polar bears also rely on sea ice for travelling, breeding, and sometimes denning.

Habits and Behaviors:  

Polar bears communicate through body language, vocalizations, and scent markings:

Head wagging from side to side: A sign that polar bears want to play. Adult bears initiate play—which is actually ritualized fighting or mock battling—by standing on their hind legs, chin lowered to their chests, with front paws hanging by their sides.

Nose-to-nose greetings: How a bear asks another bear for something, such as food. The guest bear will approach slowly, circle around a carcass, then meekly touch the feeding bear's nose.

Chuffing: A vocal response to stress, often heard when a mother bear is worried for her cubs' safety.

Scolding: Mother bears scold cubs with a low growl or soft cuff.

Rushing: When a male approaches a female with cubs, she rushes toward him with her head lowered.

Hissing, snorting, lowered head: Signifies aggression.

Loud roars or growls: Communicates anger.

Deep growls: Signifies a warning, perhaps in defense of food.

Charging forward, with head down and ears laid back: Attack mode.

Moving downwind of dominant bears: Signifies submission.



TO KEEP UP TO DATE ON POLAR BEARS WE RECOMMEND YOU BOOKMARK:  

https://polarbearsinternational.org/




221   1 month ago
Top 5 of the World’s Endangered Animal Species

Continued from last week, this week we count down from 5 to 1. 

5. Tooth-billed Pigeon



A relative of the extinct dodo, tooth-billed pigeons are disappearing at an alarming rate. They only live in Samoa and are currently fewer than 400 left in the wild, with no captive populations to help conservation efforts. They are elusive birds, very rarely seen. Even though illegal today, hunting has played a huge part in their decline, along with the main threat being habitat loss due to agriculture, or natural causes likes cyclones or trees.

4. Gharial



Gharials are fish-eating crocodiles from India. They have long thin snouts with a large bump on the end which resembles a pot known as a Ghara, which is where they get their name. They spend most of their time in freshwater rivers, only leaving the water to bask in the sun and lay eggs. There are only around 200 left in the wild. Their decline is due to several issues, though all human-made. Habitat loss, pollution and entanglement in fishing nets pose as some of the biggest threats.


3. Kakapo

The kakapo, also called owl parrot, is a species of large, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot. The total known adult Kakapo population is 209, all of which are named and tagged, confined to four small islands off the coast of New Zealand that have been cleared of predators. A kakapo’s natural reaction is to freeze and blend in with the background when threatened. It is effective against predators that rely on sight to hunt but not smell. 


2. Amur Leopard



Amur leopards are one of the world’s most endangered big cats. They are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In 2015, there were only around 90 Amur leopards left within their natural range. That number is now estimated to be less than 70. Like all species on the endangered list, humans are their biggest threat. Their beautiful coats are popular with poachers as are their bones which are sold for use in traditional Asian medicine. They are also at risk from habitat loss due to natural and human-made fires.

1. Vaquita



The vaquita is both the smallest and the most endangered marine mammal in the world. It has been classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN since 1996, and in 2018, there were only around 15 vaquitas left. The latest estimate, from July 2019, suggests there are currently only 9. Their biggest threat is from the illegal fishing of totoaba, a large fish in demand because of its swim bladder. Vaquitas accidentally end up entangled in the gillnets set for totoaba and drown because they can no longer swim to the surface to breathe. 



*All Images for this blog sourced from Google and WWF

270   4 months ago
TOP 10 World’s Most Endangered Animal Species

In this two-part series, read on to learn some interesting facts about the 10 most endangered animals in the world and how we, as a race, should be more cognizant of the plight of these beautiful creatures.

 

10. Gorillas



Gorillas share close to 97% of their DNA with humans! They are capable of feeling emotions and even behave like us sometimes – did you know they can laugh? There are two species, the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla, and they both have two subspecies. Three out of four are Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The only one that isn’t is the Mountain Gorilla, a subspecies of the Eastern Gorilla. 

9. Rhinos




Rhinoceros comes from two Greek words Rhino and Ceros, which when translated into English mean nose horn. Human beings are almost entirely responsible for this beautiful creature nearing extinction. Poaching for their distinctive horns is their biggest threat.  Three of the five species of rhinoceros are among the most endangered species in the world: the black rhino, Javan rhino and the Sumatran rhino. The Javan rhino is the closest to extinction with only about 50 left, of which most are in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia.


8. Sea Turtles




Hawksbill Turtles and Kemps Ridley Turtles are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Hunting is one of the biggest threats to sea turtles, with poachers targeting their eggs, shells, meat and skin. They are also at risk from habitat loss and pollution as well as climate change. Sand temperature determines the sex of hatchlings with eggs developing as females in warmer temperatures. That means even small temperature changes could skew the sex ratio of populations.


7. Saola




The Saola is one of the rarest large mammals on Earth. It was first discovered in 1992 in the Annamite Range in Vietnam. The Saola is elusive and so rarely seen it’s known as the Asian unicorn.

6. North Atlantic Right Whale




They are gentle giants that stay close to coasts and spend a lot of time at the surface skim feeding on zooplankton, all of which makes them an easy target for hunting. They were almost wiped out by hunters for their blubber and are now one of the most endangered large whales. They are now protected, and hunting is illegal, but population recovery is slow. They are only about 400 left, out of which, only 100 are breeding females. Females don’t breed for the first ten years of their life and then will give birth to a single calf every six to ten years. Vessel traffic also creates noise that interferes with their ability to communicate. Whales use sound to find mates, locate food and avoid predators, as well as to navigate and talk to each other.

 

Stay tuned for the Top 5 World’s Most Endangered Animal Species in the second part of the blog series.  Can you guess which animals will feature on the IUCN Critically Endangered List?


*All Images for this blog sourced from Google and WWF

204   5 months ago
Recon Africa, Fracking and its Impact on the Environment Wildlife

Recon Africa, a Canadian Oil and Gas Company, recently announced plans to start drilling oil and gas wells along the banks of the Kavango River in Q4 2020. The proposed site sits between Namibia and Botswana, an environmentally protected area that supplies water to the Okavango Delta in Africa.


Although, hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” has revolutionized drilling for oil and gas across the world, it has some serious negative effects on water, environment, and wildlife. Each fracking effort requires millions of gallons of water - which means two things - highly polluted leftover water and less water for fish and wildlife.


The produced water from fracking is so toxic that it will kill anything that drinks it, and it is often left on the ground or poorly disposed of, according to the US National Wildlife Federation.


The after-effects of fracking to human health such as contaminated drinking water, earthquakes, flammable faucets have been researched and spoken about many a time but the consequences to wildlife have so far been left out of the international conversation. These consequences are very real for animals, birds, fish and wildlife ecosystems. In some places wildlife is destroyed when their habitat suffers and in others water is sucked away or polluted, and fish and birds die as a result of it. Some species of birds can’t take the traffic, noise and dust that accompany extraction.


In 2006 a spill of close to 1 million gallons of fracking wastewater into the Yellowstone River resulted in a mass die off of fish and plants. Clean-up of that spill is still ongoing. - Source: The Revelator


The primary objective of ReconAfrica's initial three well drilling program, scheduled for Q4 of 2020, is to confirm a thick, active, petroleum system throughout the deep Kavango basin. Specifically, the wells are designed to test organic rich shales and more shallow conventional structures throughout the sedimentary basin as mentioned in their press release.


Studies show that there are multiple pathways to wildlife being harmed,” says ecologist Sandra Steingraber, a scholar in residence at Ithaca College who has worked for a decade compiling research on the health effects of fracking. Biodiversity is a determinant of public health — without these wild animals doing ecosystem services for us, we cant survive.” Source: The Revelator


As companies get drilling permits to drill in environmentally sensitive areas, vital wildlife habitat is altered and lost in surrounding/adjacent areas as well. The potential damage to the environment and wildlife ecosystems should not be ignored.


In one study, published in Biological Conservation in 2016, researchers examined the effects of unconventional gas drilling on forest habits and populations of birds in an area of West Virginia overlaying the Marcellus and Utica shales. The area has been at the center of the shale gas boom, with the number of unconventional wells in central Appalachia jumping from 111 in 2005 to 14,022 by the end of 2015. The study found that shale-gas development there during that period resulted in a 12.4 percent loss of core forest and increased edge habitat by more than 50 percent — and that, in turn, changed the communities of birds found in the forest. Source: The Revelator


Fracking uses a lot of water and much of the contaminated, polluted water returns to the surface loaded with toxic chemicals, radioactive substances, and high levels of salinity and in turn harms humans, wildlife and aquatic ecosystems.

 

1076   5 months ago