Chechnya offers to save second Danish giraffe Marius


This video is called Niger‘s Endangered White Giraffes (Full Documentary).

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ramzan Kadyrov offers to adopt second Marius giraffe facing slaughter

Chechen president tells Instagram followers he is ready to take in giraffe facing death in Denmark ‘on humanitarian grounds’

Shaun Walker in Sochi

Thursday 13 February 2014 16.47 GMT

To sentence one giraffe named Marius to death may be regarded as a misfortune; to sentence two would be a catastrophe, according to Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Chechen president has used his Instagram account to offer to take in the second Marius, which, it emerged on Wednesday, has been threatened with the same fate as his namesake.

Kadyrov, who has been implicated in torture and human rights abuses, is a known animal admirer and has a huge personal zoo.

He frequently posts pictures of himself on Instagram with exotic animals, and made his offer of shelter for the second Danish giraffe on the social network.

“I read the information about the fact that in Denmark they are going to end the life of another giraffe,” wrote Kadyrov beneath photographs of lions eating the first Marius, which the Chechen leader said was killed for “invented” reasons.

“On humanitarian grounds, I am ready to take Marius in. We can guarantee him good living conditions and care for his health,” he added.

Only days after the euthanasia of a healthy young giraffe named Marius at Copenhagen zoo sparked controversy around the world, a second Danish zoo announced that it was considering a similar fate for another giraffe, also named Marius.

Jyllands Park zoo, in western Denmark, currently has two male giraffes, but has been approved to participate in the European breeding programme. If zookeepers manage to acquire a female giraffe, seven-year-old Marius will have to make way.

The first Marius was considered useless for breeding because his genes were too common. The prospect of his death prompted an international petition that garnered more than 27,000 signatures, and controversy continued after he was killed when he was dissected in front of a large crowd and then fed to lions.

A new petition to save the second Marius currently has 3,500 signatures.

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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.

Niger Permian reptile fossil discovery


After the South African discovery of an early Triassic amphibian and a mammal-like reptile together … now a discovery from a few million years earlier, more to the north in Africa.

Bunostegos

From the BBC:

24 June 2013 Last updated at 19:02 GMT

A bizarre reptile with knobbly growths on its head roamed a vast, isolated desert about 260 million years ago, researchers say.

New fossils from northern Niger in Africa have been described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The distinctive creature belongs to a new genus of pareiasaur – plant-eating creatures that flourished during the Permian period.

The cow-sized specimen has been named Bunostegos, which means “knobby roof”.

During Permian times, the Earth was dominated by a single supercontinent called Pangaea.

Animal and plant life dispersed broadly across the land, as documented by identical fossil species found on multiple modern continents.

But the new research by an international team supports the idea that there was an isolated desert in the middle of Pangaea with distinctive animals.

Most pareiasaurs had bony knobs on their skulls, but Bunostegos sported the largest, most bulbous ones ever seen in this group, which were common in the Middle and Late Permian, about 266-252 million years ago.

In life, these were probably skin-covered horns like those on the heads of modern giraffes.

“We can’t say for sure, but it is most likely that the bony knobs on the skull of pareiasaurs did not serve a protective function,” Dr Linda Tsuji from the University of Washington in Seattle told BBC News.

“They vary quite markedly in size and shape between different species, with some species lacking prominent knobs entirely, so I think that they were purely ornamental. The most probable use was for inter-specific (between species) or intra-specific (within species) recognition.”

Dr Tsuji and colleagues performed an analysis showing that Bunostegos was actually more closely related to older and more primitive pareiasaurs.

This led them to the conclusion that its genealogical lineage had been isolated for millions of years.

Climatic conditions may have conspired to corral Bunostegos – along with several other reptiles, amphibians, and plants – and keep them constrained to the central, arid area of the supercontinent.

“Our work supports the theory that central Pangea was climatically isolated, allowing a unique relict fauna to persist into the Late Permian,” said Christian Sidor, another author of the paper.

This surprised the scientists because areas outside this central region show fossil evidence of regular faunal interchange.

Geological data show that central Pangaea was extremely dry, discouraging some animals from passing through, while keeping those within from venturing out.

The long period of isolation under these parched conditions gave Bunostegos lineage time to evolve its unique anatomical features.

Much of what was once central Pangaea remains to be explored by palaeontologists.

“It is important to continue research in these under-explored areas,” said Dr Tsuji.

“The study of fossils from places like northern Niger paints a more comprehensive picture of the ecosystem during the Permian era.”

See also here.

Africans tortured in NATO’s ‘new’ Libya


This video is called LIBYA The Racist Lie Of “Black African Mercenaries” Perpetuated By Rebels, Western Media.

From the Daily Trust, in Abuja, Nigeria:

Libya Deports 1500 Africans

By Abdulkadir Badsha Mukhtar, 30 May 2013

Many Nigerians and some other African nationals are now stranded in Agadas, Niger Republic after been deported by Libyan authorities. Two people were reported dead on their way to Niger out of about 1500 Africans who claimed to have been tortured while in detention before transported in 10 vehicles which took them to Agadas.

Some of them who spoke to BBC Hausa Service said they were arrested in their houses and shops where they run their daily business.

BBC reported that among the deported persons included Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Gambia, Cameroon, and Cote d’ Ivoire nationals among others.

A Nigerian explained that “when they arrested me, I asked them to let me wear my clothes but one of them said no, you are going to wear your clothes when you get back to your country, but not here.”

“They took us to a place where there were no toilets. Now we are here, some of us do not even have decent clothes,” he said.

New national park in Niger


This is an addax video.

From Wildlife Extra:

One of Africa’s largest National Parks created in Niger

March 2012. More than a decade’s efforts have been crowned as Niger’s Council of Ministers have decreed the formal establishment of the Termit & Tin Toumma National Nature and Cultural Reserve.

At 100,000 km² (38,610 sq. ml) the reserve is one of the biggest in Africa. Created to conserve some of the world’s rarest desert species, like the addax, dama gazelle, cheetah and Barbary sheep, it also contains a large variety of desert habitats, ranging from mountains and valleys to grassy plains, open desert and sand seas. The inclusion in its title of both “natural” and “cultural” underlines the fundamental interrelatedness of both ecological and social aspects in the reserve’s management.

See also here.