Okavango Delta in Botswana gets World Heritage status


This video about lions is called Okavango Swamp Cats.

From Wildlife Extra:

The Okavango Delta in Botswana has been listed by UNESCO as the 1,000th World Heritage Site.

This inland delta, which is situated in the northwest of the country and fed by the the Okavango River (that originates over 800 miles away in the highlands of Angola), is the largest of its type in the world and is comprised of permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains.

The River Okavango is at its fullest during the dry season, due to rainfall and floodwater from the Angolan Highlands, and overflows into these plains.

This attracts animals from miles around, making it one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.

It is home to populations of some of the most threatened large mammals in the world, including the cheetah, white and black rhinoceros, elephant, the wild dog and the lion. It harbours 24 species of globally-threatened birds.

“The Okavango Delta has long been considered one of the biggest gaps on the World Heritage list and IUCN is proud to have been able to provide support to this nomination,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General.

“We congratulate Botswana’s authorities on their extraordinary commitment to make this historic listing a reality.”

“The Okavango Delta has been a conservation priority for more than 30 years and we are delighted that it has finally gained the prestigious status it deserves,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “Its ecological and biological importance as well as its exceptional natural beauty make it a prime example of what World Heritage stands for.”

UNESCO works to the identify, protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Read Chris McIntyre travel feature on the Delta HERE.

Lioness sniffs wildlife photographer, video


This video, recorded in Botswana, says about itself:

Feb 26, 2013

One minute you’re taking a few photos of a lion pride in the distance, and the next, a curious 300-pound lioness is sniffing your crotch. It’s just another day at the office for Earth Touch cameraman Graham Springer.

African children’s bird drawings


Bee-eater, drawn by Kadison Augustine Mada Duwai, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, first prize in 13-16 years of age category

From BirdLife:

Winners of “My Spring” Drawing competition in Africa announced

Fri, Dec 21, 2012

Winners of “My Spring” Drawing competition in Africa announced

BirdLife International … is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 maiden edition of the Spring Alive drawing competition for children in Africa.

In all, nine (9) winners have been selected from a total of about 141 entries received after the close of a two and half months long competition on the 15th of November, 2012. The highly creative and impressive entries were received from school children aged 16 years and below in six African countries namely: Botswana, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The jury for the competition … were very pleased and highly elated to receive such a high number of creative and beautiful artistic paintings from school children in Africa. According to Julie Rogers … “The pictures are absolutely beautiful, and we’re honoured to be able to judge this competition. It’s so difficult to choose just one from each category! The effort and time put into drawing these wonderful pictures was inspiring”.

Evidently, to create a more fair and balanced platform for all entrants and as well increase the chances of winning, the entries were categorized into three different age brackets (6-9 years, 10-12year & 13-16years) and subsequently three winners (First, Second & Third) selected from each category by the competent jury.

The final outcome as determined by the jury is presented below:

Ages 6-9 years
First: Olamide Ajayi, Nigeria Conservation Foundation
Second: Jennifer Tshukudu, Birdlife Botswana
Third: Joshua Ajayi, Nigeria Conservation Foundation

Ages 10-12 years
First: Okere Tochukwu, Nigeria Conservation Foundation
Second: Ahimbsibwe Mary, Nature Uganda
Third: Nyakeh Benson, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

Ages 13-16 years

First: Kadison Augustine Mada Duwai, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone
Second: Chibueze Agube, Nigeria Conservation Foundation
Third : Abdul Rahman, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

As announced earlier, the first place winners in each category will receive a high quality digital camera whilst the second and third place positions will receive some consolations prizes. However all participants in the 2012 Africa edition of the competition will also receive Spring Alive branded stickers and bracelets from the BirdLife International Secretariat.

The Spring Alive Team congratulates the winners and thanks warmly all participants for their beautiful paintings!

Pictures are here (scroll down).

Also from BirdLife:

Great loss-The late Georges Henry Oueda

Fri, Dec 21, 2012

It is with deep regret that we received the very sad news that Georges Henry Oueda, Director of Conservation of NATURAMA (BirdLife in Burkina Faso) passed away.

Aged just 48, Georges was the single most knowledgeable expert in ornithology in his country. He was the Naturama IBA Coordinator and was known to many across the international bird conservation community. His contribution to nature conservation in Burkina Faso cannot be overestimated.

Throughout his tour of duty at Naturama, he was dedicated and committed to making a difference for both biodiversity and people. Georges was the driving force behind setting up and training local conservation groups at site like Oursi-Darkoye, Lake Higa and Sourou valley, now known as shining examples of community-based conservation. The recent designation of twelve wetlands in Burkina as Ramsar sites have largely been achieved by Georges’ coordination and monitoring training.

He had so many plans to continue and expand his work. His passing leaves a large gap, mostly of course in his family, and also in NATURAMA and the BirdLife Partnership as a whole.

George was an avid birder, a man of the people, an asset to Naturama and the Partnership. He fought a good fight and we will truly miss him. May His Dear Soul Rest in Peace

Those who wish to extend their condolences may use the general NATURAMA address: info@naturama.bf

Botswana elephant photo hide


This video says about itself:

C4 Images and Safaris have built an underground photo hide at Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. The water in front of the hide is attracting large herds of elephants every day giving the wildlife photographer and viewer a unique perspective and proximity to these large creatures.

Elephants aren’t the only animals that are attracted to the water. Kudu, impala, warthog, hyena, baboons and various bird species all frequent it presenting many excellent photo opportunities.

To see more check out: www.c4photohides.com

See also here.

Botswana: slaty egret


This is a slaty egret video.

From BirdLife:

Egret proves elusive in world’s largest Ramsar site

02-05-2006

A survey team from BirdLife Botswana and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks recently completed a one-year survey of the 55,000 km2 Okavango Delta, the world’s largest Ramsar site and principal home of the Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula.

Valuable data on the ecology of this Vulnerable species were collected, but one question remains unanswered: where are Slaty Egrets currently breeding?

The species usually nests in dense reedbeds and water fig islands, but the major historical breeding sites have been destroyed by hydrological changes and fire, and no new sites were discovered in 2005.

Continuing survey work hopes to answer this question.

By contrast, Slaty Egrets feed in shallow seasonal floodplains with short, emergent vegetation, a habitat that is widespread throughout the Delta and has increased through fire and high grazing pressure.

Birds spend most of the day foraging for small fish, frogs and aquatic invertebrates which they locate by sight, but despite the abundance of prey, they appear to have a low feeding success.

Snowy egret USA: here.

For the past several years, the Independence Day fishing competition at the end of September has been held in the Okavango Panhandle, coinciding with the peak breeding time for the Near Threatened African Skimmer. This species nests on exposed sandbanks along the Okavango River, and the presence of a large number of fishermen and their boats has had a negative impact on its breeding success: here.

Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s most scenic and unspoiled wilderness areas, however, it is losing its wildlife at an alarming rate: here.