Good African elephant news


This video says about itself:

The Elephant Documentary

24 July 2013

Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Traditionally, two species are recognised, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), although some evidence suggests that African bush elephants and African forest elephants are separate species (L. africana and L. cyclotis respectively). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. They are the only surviving proboscideans; extinct species include mammoths and mastodons. The largest living terrestrial animals, male African elephants can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). These animals have several distinctive features, including a long proboscis or trunk used for many purposes, particularly for grasping objects. Their incisors grow into tusks, which serve as tools for moving objects and digging and as weapons for fighting. The elephant’s large ear flaps help to control the temperature of its body. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.

Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. They are considered to be keystone species due to their impact on their environments. Other animals tend to keep their distance, and predators such as lions, tigers, hyenas and wild dogs usually target only the young elephants (or “calves”).

Females (“cows”) tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The latter are led by the oldest cow, known as the matriarch. Elephants have a fission-fusion society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males (“bulls”) leave their family groups when they reach puberty, and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate and enter a state of increased testosterone and aggression known as musth, which helps them gain dominance and reproductive success. Calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, and sound; elephants use infrasound, and seismic communication over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They appear to have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.

African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people. Elephants are used as working animals in Asia. In the past they were used in war; today, they are often put on display in zoos and circuses. Elephants are highly recognisable and have been featured in art, folklore, religion, literature and popular culture.

From Wildlife Extra:

Elephant births at Zakouma National Park in Chad represent a big win against the poachers

January 2014: The birth of 21 elephant calves at Zakouma National Park in the Republic of Chad, one of the last strongholds for migratory herds of savannah elephants in the central African region, has been welcomed as a turnaround in the fortunes of the park’s beleaguered elephant herds.

Poaching had reduced the Park’s elephant population from 4,000 to 450 between 2006 and 2010, leaving the traumatised herd too stressed to breed. Although African Parks stabilised the population after it took over the management of Zakouma in 2010, only five calves were born between 2010 and 2013.

Rian Labuschagne, Zakouma’s Park Manager, said that a lion study they carried out around 2005 found that elephant calves made up 23 per cent of the big cats’ diet at that time. “It was a direct result of the then rampant poaching that left substantial numbers of calves orphaned and easy prey for the lions,” he said.

The flush of elephant calves sighted by Labuschagne and his team shortly before Christmas now changes the status of Zakouma’s elephant population from “stable” to a “definite increase in numbers” and is testimony to the success of the intensive anti-poaching strategy implemented from late 2010 by African Parks, a non-profit organisation that takes on total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities.

Anti-poaching measures have included the year-round deployment of patrols and specialised anti-poaching technology in the extended elephant range, aerial support for patrols, the fitting of satellite collars to individual elephants and establishing a park-wide radio communication system. They have also implemented increased intelligence-gathering and a reward system for information. As a result, there has been no poaching of elephants in Zakouma for more than two years.

Labuschagne concluded: “We are thrilled that Zakouma’s elephant numbers are now growing but are mindful of the continual challenges that we face. At the moment we are implementing major new anti-poaching initiatives to combat ongoing threats that now include the deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic to the south of us.”

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Endangered Dama gazelle on Sahara camera trap


This video from the USA is called Critically endangered dama gazelle born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo takes its first step.

From Wildlife Extra:

Camera traps capture Critically Endangered Dama gazelle in Sahara

Barbary sheep, caracal and poachers also caught on camera

October 2013. Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Dama gazelle is one of the world’s rarest and most endangered antelopes. Formerly common across its grassland habitats of the Sahelian zone of Africa, it now only exists in a small handful of tiny, isolated populations in Niger and Chad.

Overhunting means just 300 Dama gazelle left in the wild

With overhunting by far the major cause for its demise, the Dama gazelle is also prone to encroachment of its preferred habitats by livestock development and agriculture, as well by severe drought and desertification. In all, there are probably no more than 300 Dama gazelles in the wild today.

Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) has been working to conserve the gazelle for several years and the need for more nonintrusive ways of monitoring the presence and distribution of this shy and highly vulnerable species are urgently required to formulate viable management plans.

Community engagement

In recent years, hunters from the local population of Toubou pastoralists have been the gazelles’ main threat, with animals being shot opportunistically in ones and twos. Work with the herders and their community leaders is, however, having a positive impact.

Recognizing the value of working closely with the local people to conserve the gazelle, the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute recently donated $10,000 to employ community game guards with a Dama gazelle-specific mandate to work with the local community. The two guards were recruited from among the local Toubou people to help SCF in its efforts to raise awareness locally about the plight of the Dama gazelle and serve as both ambassadors and protectors for the Dama conservation effort. The guards provide a vital link between SCF and the local people and their activities include assisting in the installation and maintenance of the camera trap grids.

Barbary sheep and caracal

The first batch of data from the camera traps is just now being analysed. As could be expected, other species besides the Dama gazelle have been caught on camera. We are particularly thrilled to report sightings of both the Barbary sheep and the locally very rare and elusive African lynx or caracal. Also captured on camera are armed poachers looking no doubt for Barbary sheep and Dama gazelles. The images was [sic] taken just several hours apart.

With this type of data and information we are far better set than before to identify hotspots for extra surveillance and key areas of passage used by the animals as they move between areas of grazing, shade, etc.

The impact that visual evidence of wildlife presence and threats is also a key factor in mobilizing support locally for action and increased vigilance.

December 2013: The world’s largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic collapse of its wildlife populations according to a study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London: here.

Sudanese dictator welcomed by Libya, Chad regimes


This is a video about racist lynching of Libyans under the new regime because of the colour of their skins.

In the ‘new’ post-NATO war Libya, Libyans, African migrant workers and almost everybody else, including United States ambassadors, have to fear for their lives. The new rulers of Libya are allies of the NATO governments.

So is the dictator of Chad, Idriss Deby. He is a long time favourite of French governments, already under Sarkozy, predecessor of the present president Hollande.

From the Sudan Tribune:

Sudan: Bashir to Visit Chad, Libya Despite ICC Warrant

11 February 2013

Khartoum — The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir will travel to Chad and Libya this weekend to attend two events, a government sponsored website reported today.

The state-linked Sudanese Media Center (SMC) quoting press sources said that Chadian president Idriss Deby invited Bashir to the Community of Sahel-Saharan (CEN-SAD) summit during his stop in Khartoum last week.

Chad is a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has issued two arrest warrants for Bashir on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed in Sudan‘s western region of Darfur.

The ten-year Darfur conflict in western Sudan, on the border with Chad, has claimed 300,000 lives according to the United Nations. The Khartoum government puts the toll at 10,000.

Bashir’s previous visits to Chad in 2010 and 2011 were strongly criticized by the European Union and human rights groups in light of Ndjamena’s refusal to arrest Bashir.

During Chad’s thorny relations with Sudan, president Deby vowed to execute the arrest warrant against Bashir and rejected AU resolutions granting him immunity. However, as relations improved Deby reversed his position.

The AU summit that took place in Addis Ababa last month omitted the usual mention of urging its members to ignore ICC warrant against Bashir. A source told Sudan Tribune that African diplomats did not believe this was a pressing issue warranting discussion this time around.

SMC said that Bashir may head to Libya afterwards to attend the celebrations commemorating the outbreak of the revolution that toppled the regime of late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The website noted that Bashir was invited by the Libyan leadership to attend but said that tensions in the North African country may not allow for the celebration to take place.

Ironically, Bashir was one of the very few leaders in 2009 who attended Gaddafi’s celebration of the coup which brought him to power forty years ago.

Following Gaddafi’s fall and demise in 2011 Bashir lashed out at Libya’s strongman saying that he was causing harm to Sudan through the years and revealed that Sudan provided support to rebels who launched a military campaign to unseat him.

Libya is not a member of the ICC and therefore has no obligation to detain Bashir. But it was the National Transitional Council (NTC), which took control of the country, that asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2011 to refer the situation in Libya to the Hague tribunal in order to investigate possible crimes committed following the uprising against Gaddafi.

This would mark Bashir’s second visit to Libya since Gaddafi’s removal.

THERE are many players in a protest — the sign makers, the rabble rousers, the logisticians. And then there are the political cartoonists, who sketch the events unfolding on the streets and, if they are like [Sudanese] Khalid Albaih, inspire even more tumult: here.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accused the United Nations on Wednesday of prolonging the conflict in Darfur by failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes: here.

African elephant using tool, video


This video says about itself:

Elephant using a stick to clean beneath its toe nails

RealAfricaVideos

Jan 22, 2013

This video was taken in Amboseli National Park in Kenya by one of our UK based consultants Lily. The elephants had been feeding in the marshes – you can see that the elephant is wet and in some of the distant shots has a waterline running along her body. When she got out, she noticed this stick and took some time using her foot and trunk to get it in exactly the correct position.

Once she had, she anchored it with her full weight on her left foot and used its sharp end to clean between the toes and under the nails of her right foot. Whether she had mud or maybe a small stone wedged there from the bottom of the marsh it was impossible to see, but she certainly knew exactly what she was trying to do, and succeeded in doing it.

Elephants have been recorded using sticks before, to scratch themselves with or using foliage to swat insects. We’ve never seen one clean their toe nails before. If you have, let us know.

February 2013. The BBC was criticized in some (short-sighted) quarters recently for showing the death of a baby elephant during a drought in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. New research has shown that this is not an uncommon event as young elephants are twice as likely to die during a hot dry spell as normal: here.

March 2013. At least 89 elephants have been killed by poachers in Chad, according to local officials, in one of the region’s worst poaching incidents since the massacre of more than 300 elephants in Cameroon’s Bouba N’Djida National Park in February 2012: here.

Baby elephant rescued after anti-poaching flight in Kenya: here.

New natural World Heritage Sites


This is called Great Pied Hornbill, Birds, Nature, Wildlife, Western Ghats, Kerala, India; Video Suresh Elamon.

From Wildlife Extra:

Six natural wonders declared World Heritage Sites

Saharan lakes and Western Ghats amongst new World Heritage Sites

July 2012. Sangha Trinational – shared between Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo; Lakes of Ounianga in Chad and Chengjiang fossil site in China have been inscribed on the World Heritage List, following the recommendations of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Lena Pillars Nature Park in Russia and Western Ghats in India were also added to the prestigious list by the World Heritage Committee, a 21-nation panel.

IUCN, the official World Heritage advisory body on nature, presented the findings of its comprehensive evaluations of the natural values of nine sites to the World Heritage Committee. Chad is joining the World Heritage family for the first time.

Sangha Trinational

Sangha Trinational is a chain of national parks shared between Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo. Forming a broad network of well preserved and diverse landscapes, the forests and rivers are home to an outstanding diversity of plants and animals. The area hosts the largest intact populations of forest elephants and great apes, including the critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla and the endangered Chimpanzee.

“Sangha Trinational is not a fragment but part of a much larger intact environment with good conservation prospects, and harbouring critically endangered species,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “We welcome the fact that this globally significant forest landscape has been recognized by the World Heritage Committee.”

The Lakes of Ounianga

The Lakes of Ounianga consist of a series of 18 mostly freshwater lakes in the heart of the Sahara desert in northeastern Chad. Relics of a single, much larger lake occupying the basin less than 10,000 years ago, these lakes are an exceptional example of permanent lakes in a desert.

“The Lakes of Ounianga are a jewel of the Sahara, not only of overwhelming natural beauty, but a testimony to the fragile and unique equilibrium of life on earth,” says Youssouph Diedhiou of IUCN’s Protected Areas Programme in Central and Western Africa. “IUCN is delighted that Chad’s first outstanding natural area is joining the prestigious World Heritage list.”

Chengjiang Fossil Site

The rocks of the Chengjiang Fossil Site, near the city of Kunming in the Yuann Province of China, are evidence of the rapid appearance and diversification of species and evolutionary development, also known as the Cambrian explosion, which took place over 530 million years ago. The exceptional remains of species recorded at Chengjiang are key to understanding the early evolution of life on Earth.

“The inscription of the Chengjiang Fossil Site on the World Heritage List recognises this iconic site, which provides direct evidence of the origin of animal diversity,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “The preservation of this exceptional window on the earliest stages of the evolution of biodiversity on our planet is of great scientific importance for the future.”

Lena Pillars Nature Park

Lena Pillars Nature Park, known for the spectacular natural rock formations along the Lena River, are home to a wide range of rare plants and animals, including the Siberian Musk Deer, the Red Deer, the Siberian chipmunk, and 99 species of nesting birds. Located in the central part of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), it is an area with an extreme continental climate with an annual temperature range of almost 100º C, from around -60º C in winter to approximately.+40º C in summer.

Western Ghats

A series of protected areas across the Western Ghats in India were added to UNESCO’s list of iconic places after a persistent campaign for World Heritage status by the Indian government. Mountains, rainforests, rivers and waterfalls are all part of the 160,000 km² area, recognised as a global biodiversity hotspot. The Western Ghats are home to a number of flagship mammals including the endangered endemic lion-tailed Macaque, the endangered Asian elephant and Tiger.

Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 100 – The Siberian Musk Deer: here.

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