New butterfly, snake species discovered in Mozambique


Small striped swordtail butterfly

From Wildlife Extra:

Forgotten Mozambique forest yields 3 new species of butterfly and a new snake

22/12/2008 15:37:17

Kew scientists explore Mount Mabu

December 2008. Scientists based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) have led the first expedition to the previously unmapped Mount Mabu in northern Mozambique, funded by the Darwin Initiative. The expedition is part of RBG Kew’s ongoing work with Mozambique’s government to identify priority areas for conservation in the face of rapid development. …

Wealth of wildlife – New butterfly species

They found a wealth of wildlife including pygmy chameleons, Swynnerton’s robin, butterflies such as the Small Striped Swordtail and Emperor Swallowtail as well as three new species, a previously undiscovered species of [Atheris] adder and many exotic plants, including a rarely seen orchid. The team brought back over 500 plant specimens and are looking forward to finding out more about the species they collected.

Three very rare species of bird

Mount Mabu is also home to three bird species not known in the area previously:

*
Thyolo Alethe – globally threatened and seen in moderate numbers in the Mabu forest
*
Namuli apalis – Mozambique’s only endemic species, previously known on one mountain. The fact it has been spotted on Mabu is significant for conservation.
*
Swynnerton’s Robin – previously only known from three locations (Tanzania’s east coast, Zimbabwe and central Mozambique)

See also here.

And here.

Video here.

Photos here. And here.

Mozambique agrees to protect lost rainforest of Mount Mabu: here.

Expeditions to search for new species in Mozambique & Madagascar: here.

Sexy Or Repulsive? Butterfly Wings Can Be Both To Mates And Predators: here.

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8 thoughts on “New butterfly, snake species discovered in Mozambique

  1. Wetland and Waterbird Monitoring Training in Mozambique – A training course to build national capacity in conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds was recently held in Maputo, Mozambique. The training emphasised the importance of implementing the African Waterbird Census and Important Bird Area (IBA) monitoring schemes in promoting conservation of wetlands and migratory waterbirds. Participants visited wetland sites, and had hands-on training in the identifying and surveying waterbirds. WOW donated binoculars, field guides and telescopes for future use by the trainees. The training was organised by BirdLife International and Wetlands International – under the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project – in collaboration with the Natural History Museum (of the Eduardo Mondlane University). For more information, please click here

    http://wow.wetlands.org/ABOUTWOW/LATESTNEWS/tabid/125/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2031/Default.aspx

  2. Gorongosa wildlife bounces back

    2011-02-16 20:44

    Maputo – The helicopter races past the trees overhead in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. It whirls in circles, then suddenly charges at an unseen prey in the lush vegetation. A man hangs out of the open door, takes aim, and shoots.

    Seconds later a buffalo bursts through the bushes, a pink dart in the side. The team of twenty follow on foot and with 4×4 bakkies until the beast finally collapses.

    They bind its eyes and quickly lift it into a special container truck.

    Another animal has been caught to be moved from the protected wildlife sanctuary to the greater expanses of Mozambique’s largest national park.

    Having once sported a higher density of wild population than South Africa’s Kruger National Park, it is now getting to its feet after Mozambique’s 16-year civil war decimated its wildlife numbers.

    And South African accents are heard among the group helping to repopulate the world-renowned reserve.

    “We are always busy with Gorongosa,” says wild catcher Louis van Wyk while waiting in the summer heat outside an animal quarantine centre, where the newly arrived animals from outside are observed before their release into the park.

    “We have a very long relationship with these guys.”

    Wildlife translocation

    Once a professional hunter, Van Wyk turned to game catching for Wild Vets, a company based in Nelspruit which specialises in wildlife translocation in nature reserves and parks around the world.

    Working during the March-October catching season, Wild Vets’ teams of catchers, veterinarians and helicopter pilots moved 120 rhinos and 300 buffalo in South Africa last year, and last April they surveyed diseases among Mozambican buffalo in Gorongosa.

    “We darted 100 buffalo in three days,” Van Wyk told Sapa.

    A popular holiday destination for Europeans during Portuguese colonial rule, the park was closed when civil war broke out between liberation party Frelimo and rebel movement Renamo after independence in 1975.

    Wide-scale poaching by the local population and the opposing forces during the war had depleted 95% of wildlife numbers by the time Gorongosa reopened in 1992.

    Ten years later the park launched an ambitious repopulation programme through the involvement of American billionaire philanthropist Greg Carr.

    In 2008 Carr was granted co-management for 20 years at Gorongosa, cementing his $40m investment in its development.

    Numbers increasing

    Today 500 elephants walk its verdant plains, their numbers swelling at 7.5% a year since 2006, and slowly approaching their pre-war numbers of 3 000.

    “We see the numbers increase. At the start you came and you would see nothing. Nothing!” quips Van Wyk about the animal populations.

    “Things are starting again now. It’s thanks to the good management. They’re on the ball with these things.”

    Since the project started 200 wildebeest, 180 buffalo, six elephants and six hippos have been reintroduced.

    South African reserves often offer some of their animals.

    “We co-operate with the Kruger Park. We get animals for free, then pay for their transport,” Pereira says at the park’s main camp, Chitengo.

    A second cross-border collaboration is to tap into their neighbouring country’s skills in conservation.

    Specialists

    “We contract people from South Africa that know what to do when it comes to capture and relocation,” explains Pereira, “It’s a very complex field.”

    The catch teams still are 80% Mozambican, but “we need a helicopter and a special pilot. People that really know how to transport animals,” he says.

    So a couple of times a year the Wild Vets teams make the three-day trek with their gear to catch some game in Gorongosa.

    This time round, they caught 50 buffalo from another Mozambican nature reserve to replenish the gene pool of Gorongosa and a third Mozambican reserve in the northern Niassa province.

    And they throw in some favours while they’re at it.

    “There was a bunch of animals they wanted to move out, so we said yes,” says Van Wyk, referring to moving some buffalo from the park’s sanctuary, where 6 000 of the animals from other parks were kept until they became accustomed to their new environment.

    Game catchers poaching

    Then the team moved some wildebeest too. “We saw two beautiful herds, so we chased the animals in for them quickly and dropped them off on the other side.”

    Both react with scepticism at the obvious question whether game catchers may be involved in rhino poaching in South Africa, where 333 of the creatures were killed in 2010 and 21 in January this year alone.

    “If these companies were involved, they will lose in the short and long term,” says Pereira.

    “You don’t know” if game catchers are involved, says Van Wyk. “If there are, you’ll obviously expose them.”

    And he thinks more than one syndicate is involved in the crime.

    “Behind all of this there must be people driving the demand.”

    - SAPA

  3. Mozambique: Signs of Recovery in Gorongosa National Park

    22 May 2012

    Maputo — Gorongosa National Park in the central Mozambican province of Sofala is reported to be showing signs of recovery. The park is widely regarded as the jewel in Mozambique’s conservation crown, but was severely hit during the war of destabilisation.

    Since 2005 a restoration programme has been underway at the park, and a team of scientists led by E.O Wilson has reported that there are positive signs.

    A secretary bird has recently been spotted in the park for the first time in many years. These birds were relatively easy for hungry soldiers to catch during the war of destabilisation, which devastated the park until the war’s end in 1992.

    According to a report by E.O Wilson’s team, “we have seen plenty of snakes, lizards and grasshoppers that should be supplying food for this specimen and relatives who may be on the way. This is an excellent sign that life is returning to Gorongosa”.

    The report also said that one of the three cheetahs reintroduced into the park in July last year was spotted on Saturday and is “clearly healthy and presently well fed”.

    It also pointed out that on Sunday there was a census in the “sanctuary”, an area protected from predators and poachers. The census found 372 Blue wildebeest, 193 Cape buffalo, 68 Sable antelope, 364 Common reedbuck, 112 Impala, 38 Waterbuck, 9 Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, 140 Kudu, 482 Warthog, 116 Oribi, 8 Nyala, 58 Bushbuck, 11 Grey duiker and 4 Red duiker.

    Gorongosa National Park is located at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley, and specialists claim that it has 54 separate ecosystems. It is planned that by 2015 the park will receive half a million visitors per year.

    http://allafrica.com/stories/201205221403.html

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