Namibian, Indonesian wildlife news


This video from Namibia is called Bwabwata National Park.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two new Ramsar sites

January 2014: Two new Ramsar wetland sites have been designated in January; Bwabwata in Okavango, Namibia, which will be the country’s fifth, and Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesia, the country’s seventh.

Situated in Bwabwata National Park, the site covers the lower Okavango River, part of the Okavango Delta Panhandle and permanently or temporarily flooded marshes and floodplains bordered by riparian forest and open woodland. It supports IUCN Red-Listed species, including the vulnerable African elephant, hippopotamus, lion, slaty egret and the endangered grey crowned crane. The site supports one of the highest diversities of species in the Zambezian Flooded Savannas ecoregion. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded, the highest number of any site in Namibia.

While Tanjung Puting National Park is one of the most important conservation areas in Central Kalimantan, acting as a water reservoir and representing one of the largest remaining habitats of the endangered Kalimantan Orangutan Pongo pygmaeus. The site consists of seven different types of swamp, including peat swamp forests, lowland tropical rainforest, freshwater swamp forests and as well as mangroves and coastal forest. It supports large numbers of endemic species of flora and fauna adapted to the predominant acidic peat swamp environment.

Sites are recognised by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat as a Wetland of International Importance and that the country’s comitment [sic] to maintain the ecological character of them.

This video from Indonesia is called Orangutan Odysseys Tanjung Puting National Park tour.

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Dutch Sandwich tern, Ameland to Namibia migration


This video from England is called Sandwich terns return to RSPB Coquet Island.

Marjan, warden on Ameland island in the Netherlands, reports that in June 2013 a Sandwich tern was ringed at a nesting colony on the island.

Recently, people spotted that bird in Namibia in Africa.

Will it have a succesful spring migration, all the long way back to Ameland?

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Save African vultures


This video says about itself:

This bearded vulture has developed an incredibly cunning method of eating carcass bone marrow – although patience is a virtue as this bone breaking technique can take seven years to perfect! Another amazing nature video from the wild African desert. From the BBC.

From BirdLife:

A campaign to save African Vultures in the wake of new poisoning incidents

Fri, Aug 16, 2013

“I want African Vultures ALIVE – not DEAD”. This was the headline message for the African vulture campaign initiated at the BirdLife World Congress held in Ottawa, Canada, in June 2013. It resonated very well with the 600 delegates and most people stopped by to take pictures next to a banner that boldly proclaimed this message. As we speak, this message is spreading like wildfire in the social media and beyond. …

Achilles Byaruhanga of Nature Uganda (BirdLife in Uganda) likes vultures alive!
But why would anyone want these creatures alive, as they are often portrayed as ugly scavengers? Vultures play an extremely important role in nature. They keep natural and man-made habitats free of carcasses, waste and even human excrement. This way, they limit the spread of diseases, such as anthrax and botulism, a rare disease that causes paralysis. In Africa they are also of cultural value to many communities, and they have an important eco-tourism value.

Still, why this particular concern about African vultures, now? The African continent supports eleven species of vulture, of which eight are confined to the continent. The main threats to vultures in Africa include poisoning, loss of preferred habitat, persecution for various uses including traditional medicine, disturbance at breeding sites, declining food availability and collision with energy infrastructure such as wind turbines.

In West Africa for example, comparisons of censuses conducted by Jean-Marc Thiollay in the early 1970s and then repeated in the early 2000s, found that four large vulture species decreased dramatically (98%) outside protected areas in four countries.

Poisoning incidences are also being increasingly reported elsewhere in Africa. In July 2013 alone, two known poisoning incidents decimated a large number of vultures in southern Africa. An estimated 400 to 600 vultures were found dead near an elephant carcass in Caprivi, Namibia, poisoned by poachers who laced the carcass with a chemical. This was an intentional attempt to kill vultures, because vultures congregate around carcasses and are therefore often used by law enforcers as an indication of poaching activity. In another incident, about 50 vultures were found dead in a farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Several sheep carcasses found on site were suspected of having been intentionally poisoned in order to control jackal predation on new-born lambs.

The generally negative public perception towards vultures worsens the situation by making it difficult to convince people that the decline of vulture populations will have negative implications on their lives, such as loss of environmental cleaning services and loss of income from tourism. Unfortunately this negative attitude permeates society at all levels at local, national and international levels and it has been a challenge to convince governments, donors and industries to support vulture conservation.

The BirdLife Africa Partnership, together with collaborators, especially through the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group, is taking action to address the looming African vulture crises. Priority actions include: first, research and monitoring to produce evidence to persuade government and industry to change their practices and commit resources to vulture conservation. Secondly, map areas where vultures are found and the threats they face. Mapping will enable identification and protection of ‘vulture hotspots’, including vulture breeding colonies. Thirdly, educate people – including donors and decision-makers – and change their perceptions about vultures. Fourthly, support local conservation action, and encourage workers from different areas of the continent to network and share experiences.

We need your support to stem the threats to African vultures! Please share this article with your network of friends, take action for your local vultures, or make a donation at www.justgiving.com/africanvultures.

THANK YOU!

The BirdLife Africa Partnership has produced the first regional State of Africa’s Birds (SOAB) report, launched at the BirdLife World Congress in June 2013 in Ottawa, Canada. The report provides a comprehensive overview of current and emerging environment and development issues in Africa as reflected from in-depth information on birds. It presents a synthesis of the work and knowledge of the BirdLife Africa Partnership in conserving birds, their habitats and other biodiversity, as well as livelihoods efforts for sustainability in the use of natural resources. The report is a one stop shop that profile the conservation activities of the BirdLife Africa Partnership and the conservation outlook for birds, biodiversity and nature in Africa: here.

World Lion Day in Namibia


This video is called Lions thriving in Namibian desert – BBC.

From The Namibian paper:

Namibia: Nation Celebrates World Lion Day

9 August 2013

“This is the perfect opportunity for the world to take note of the plight of the African lion, for us all to take the time to ponder the reality of today’s pressures on wildlife and the wilderness sustaining these wondrous animals who have, to date, stood the test of time – but for how long will they be able to run from man,” said Tammy Hoth, Director of the AfriCat Foundation.

Namibia is a forerunner in Africa regarding conservation and sustainable management of wildlife.

Namibia‘s lion numbers range from between 600 and 800, found only in the Kunene, Etosha, and Caprivi region and in the Khaudom Park/Nyae-Nyae Conservancy along Namibia‘s border with Botswana.

Despite the low numbers, the status of the Namibian lion is regarded by many as ‘healthy’.

After at least ten years of above-average rainfall in most parts of Namibia, as well as valuable data collected by researchers, it is believed that lion numbers and their distribution have increased in some regions.

“Persecution of lions by farmers has, however, continued unabated and with the first drought in years becoming a reality, livestock losses will be even less tolerated and more lions will be destroyed,” said Hoth.

Human-wildlife conflict is ever present on both communal and commercial farmland, especially along the borders of Etosha, on surrounding farmland and in a number of communal conservancies.

With the Namibian Lion Management Plan yet to be finalised, guidelines as to best practice regarding long-term lion conservation are not in place in communal conservancies, nor on commercial farms.

Hoth also said trophy hunting quotas are only allocated to hunting concessions in conservancies, where reliable research data is absent in most cases and the methods used to establish these quotas are debatable. Black- maned, male lions are naturally favoured as trophies and bring the highest fees to the conservancy.

Large numbers of lions are trapped, shot and poisoned on farmland annually, with the mandatory reporting of such killings irregular – thus, the official lion mortality figures cannot be regarded as true, according to Hoth.

The AfriCat Foundation, with bases in central and northern Namibia, believes that Namibia’s lions can survive.

“With programmes including research, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and community support, our motto ‘Conservation Through Education’ can and will support the long-term survival of our lions,” Hoth concluded.

Namibian dolphin news


This video from South Africa is called Paddleskiing with Heaviside’s dolphins.

From New Era in Namibia:

Dolphin Cruise Surprise for Walvis Bay Top Performers

10 July 2013

Walvis Bay — The 25 top performing learners in Life Science at various high schools in Walvis Bay were treated to a surprise dolphin cruise last week Friday. Walvis Bay-based Manica Group Namibia arranged the special educational and environmental cruise, in an effort to create awareness on the importance of protecting the diverse marine life along the Namibian coast, and to give the learners a glimpse of what marine biology entails.

Manica’s public relations officer Nolito Marques said the main idea was to grant learners the opportunity to experience firsthand what the researchers do and learn about local marine life. “We invited Dr Simon Elwen, a zoologist of the University of Pretoria who has been studying dolphins along the coast for some time now, to give the learners insight on the work of the Namibian Dolphin Project,” Marques explained.

The learners were also lucky to see the grey whale that has been frequenting the bay for the past few weeks. “We were indeed very lucky to see the grey whale. It is the first time ever that a grey whale has visited our waters. They are normally found in the far north Atlantic and Pacific Ocean along the Alaskan coast. The learners also had a chance to learn more about the Heaviside dolphins that swam in front of the boat (bow-riding). Some learners were actually very keen on finding out what the subject requirements were for studying marine biology,” said Dr Elwen.

With pelicans landing on the boat, seals jumping on board and seagulls catching fish from the boat crew’s fingers, the pupils were also given a historical overview of the lighthouse at Pelican Point and some interesting facts about the Walvis harbour. “One of the reasons we chose the Sun Sail catamaran charters was because they were accredited by the Planet Green Ocean Blue organisation as an eco-friendly cruise with a low carbon footprint – the boat has a very low noise level with underwater engines and is child-friendly. They have also been instrumental in the research work of the Namibian Dolphin Project, ” Marques noted.

The researchers also set up monitoring equipment and showed the learners some of their research findings and imagery.