Orphaned hippo Douglas is back in the wild


This video from Zambia says about itself:

In February 2013 a baby hippo was found alone and distressed on the banks of the Zambezi River.

From Wildlife Extra:

Orphaned hippo Douglas has been successfully released back into the wild

An orphaned baby hippo named Douglas, who captured the hearts of many after he starred on ITV1’s ‘Paul O’Grady’s Animal Orphans’ with his two terrier friends Molly and Coco, has been successfully released back into the wild in Zambia.

Back in February 2013 Douglas was just two weeks old and close to death when he was rescued by Conservation Lower Zambezi and sent to the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust (CWET) to be under the care of experienced wildlife rehabilitators Anna and Steve Tolan. This was the first time Anna and Steve had taken in a hippo.

Steve Tolan said: “We constructed a pool and brought in dedicated carers to look after Douglas who initially was bottle fed and looked to his human carers for reassurance and companionship and even swimming lessons.

“Douglas has now been fending for himself since he was weaned in January and is surviving and thriving. He has made his first few attempts to join the wild pod in the Luangwa River. It will probably be a long, slow process until he is fully accepted into the pod but he is on his way.”

To find out more about Chipembele and the work it does click here.

Two lion cubs in Lady Liuwa’s pride in Zambia


This video from Zambia says about itself:

The Last Lioness (Full Documentary) HD

11 December 2011

A haunting call echoes across the Liuwa Plain. There is no answer, there hasn’t been for years. She has no pride, no support – she alone must safeguard her own survival. Her name is Lady Liuwa, and she is the Last Lioness.Isolated by a scourge of illegal trophy hunting that wiped out the rest of her species in the region, Lady Liuwa is the only known resident lion surviving on Zambia’s Liuwa Plain. For four years, cameraman Herbert Brauer watched her lonely life unfold, until, in her solitude, she reached out to him for companionship.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two lion cubs for Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia

January 2014: For the first time in 10 years two lion cubs have been seen in Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia to a lioness introduced to the park in 2011.

It is believed that this is the lioness’s second set of cubs and that she probably lost her first set due to inexperience. The father of the cubs is the park’s only male lion. The lioness has hidden her new cubs in thick bush, making it difficult to photograph them.

The mother of the two newly born cubs was one of two young females introduced from Kafue National Park in 2011. Her sister was killed by a snare in 2012 and she, probably traumatised by this event, ran away towards Angola. In a dramatic rescue mission she was darted, airlifted back to the park, and placed in a fenced boma.

African Parks then took the decision to place Lady Liuwa, the park’s only surviving lioness from the mass trophy hunting that occurred in the 1990s, in the boma to encourage the two lionesses to bond. After two months the two lionesses were released back into the wilds and have since been inseparable.

Two male lions, which were introduced to Liuwa from Kafue in 2009, also headed towards Angola in mid-2012 and one was reportedly shot dead by villagers in Angola. His companion, who made it safely back to Liuwa is now the resident male in the pride and father of the two new cubs.

“We are overjoyed to have sighted the cubs and will closely monitor the new offspring to minimise threats to them,” said Liuwa Park Manager, Raquel Filgueiras. “The birth of the cubs will help safeguard the future of lions in Liuwa and strengthen the park’s tourism offering. It is an event in which all stakeholders including ZAWA, the BRE (Barotse Royal Establishment), the Liuwa communities and the park itself can be proud.”

Liuwa’s lion pride has suffered a major setback as its only male lion has died. It is thought that the death of the lion was caused by either poisoning or disease: here.

British colonial history records destroyed


This video from Brritain says about itself:

Classified British Colonial papers made public

19 Apr 2012

The UK Foreign Office has made public the first batch of thousands of “lost” colonial era files which were believed to have been destroyed. The classified papers reveal instructions that sensitive material relating to potential abuses should be burned before handing over to local governments.

The “migrated” archives came to light in January last year after four elderly Kenyans brought a High Court case against the UK Government over the alleged torture of Kenyan Mau Mau rebels in British camps in the 1950s.

Edward Hampshire at the National Archives explained what kind of things were in the records.

David also revealed that the name of Barack Hussein Obama, father of the US President was also on a document relating to the named of Kenyan students who were studying in the US in 1959. In a strange twist of irony, the US government said, they believed Kenyan students to be anti-American and anti-white.

And if you are interested in seeing a part of history with your own eyes, then go to the National Archives at Kew to see 1,300 records displayed.

Written and Presented by Ann Salter

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Revealed: the bonfire of papers at the end of Empire

DG was a code word to indicate papers were for British officers of European descent only

Ian Cobain

Friday 29 November 2013

The full extent of the destruction of Britain’s colonial government records during the retreat from empire was disclosed on Thursday with the declassification of a small part of the Foreign Office’s vast secret archive.

Fifty-year-old documents that have finally been transferred to the National Archive show that bonfires were built behind diplomatic missions across the globe as the purge – codenamed Operation Legacy – accompanied the handover of each colony.

The declassified documents include copies of an instruction issued in 1961 by Iain Macleod, colonial secretary, that post-independence governments should not be handed any material that “might embarrass Her Majesty’s [the] government”, that could “embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers”, that might betray intelligence sources, or that might “be used unethically by ministers in the successor government”.

In Northern Rhodesia, colonial officials were issued with further orders to destroy “all papers which are likely to be interpreted, either reasonably or by malice, as indicating racial prejudice or religious bias on the part of Her Majesty’s government”.

Detailed instructions were issued over methods of destruction, in order to erase all evidence of the purge. When documents were burned, “the waste should be reduced to ash and the ashes broken up”, while any that were being dumped at sea must be “packed in weighted crates and dumped in very deep and current-free water at maximum practicable distance from the coast”.

Also among the documents declassified on Friday are “destruction certificates” sent to London by colonial officials as proof that they were performing their duties, and letters and memoranda that showed that some were struggling to complete their huge task before the colonies gained their independence. Officials in more than one colony warned London that they feared they would be “celebrating Independence Day with smoke”.

An elaborate and at times confusing classification system was introduced, in addition to the secret/top secret classifications, to protect papers that were to be destroyed or shipped to the UK. Officials were often granted or refused security clearance on the grounds of ethnicity.

Documents marked “Guard”, for example, could be disclosed to non-British officials as long as if they were from the “Old Commonwealth” – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Canada.

Those classified as “Watch”, and stamped with a red letter W, were to be removed from the country or destroyed. Steps were taken to ensure post-colonial governments would not learn that such files had ever existed, with one instruction stating: “The legacy files must leave no reference to watch material. Indeed, the very existence of the watch series, though it may be guessed at, should never be revealed.” Officials were warned to keep their W stamps locked away.

The marking “DG” was said to be an abbreviation of deputy governor, but in fact was a protective code word to indicate that papers so marked were for sight by “British officers of European descent only”.

As colonies passed into a transitional phase before full independence, with British civil servants working for local government ministers, an entire parallel series of documents marked Personal were created. “Personal” files could be seen only by British governors and their British aides, a system that appears to have been employed in every territory from which the British withdrew after 1961. “The existence of the ‘Personal’ series of correspondence must of course be scrupulously protected and no documents in this series should be transferred to ministers,” colonial officials were warned.

While thousands of files were returned to London during the process of decolonisation, it is now clear that countless numbers of documents were destroyed. “Emphasis is placed upon destruction,” colonial officials in Kenya were told.

Officials in Aden were told to start burning in 1966, a full 12 months before the eventual British withdrawal. “It may seem a bit early to start talking about the disposal of documents prior to independence, but the sifting of documents is a considerable task and you may like to start thinking about it now.”

As in many colonies, a three-man committee – comprising two senior administrators and one police special branch officer – decided what would be destroyed and what would be removed to London. The paucity of Aden documentation so far declassified may suggest that the committee decided that most files should be destroyed.

In Belize, colonial administrators officials told London in October 1962 that a visiting MI5 officer had decided that all sensitive files should be destroyed by fire: “In this he was assisted by the Royal Navy and several gallons of petrol.”

In British Guiana, a shortage of “British officers of European descent” resulted in the “hot and heavy” task falling to two secretaries, using a fire in an oil drum in the grounds of Government House. Eventually the army agreed to lend a hand.

The declassified papers show colonial officials asking for further advice about what should and should not be destroyed. In 1963, for example, an official in Malta asked London for advice about which files should be “spirited away out of the country”, and warned that while some documents could be handed over to the new government: “There may again be others which could be given to them if they were doctored first; and there may be files which cannot be given to them under any circumstances.”

In June 1966, Max Webber, the high commissioner in Brunei, asked Bernard Cheeseman, chief librarian at the Commonwealth Relations Office, for advice about 60 boxes of files. “My Dear Cheese,” he wrote, “can I, off my own bat, destroy some of these papers, or should the whole lot be sent home for weeding or retention in your records?”

Not all sensitive documents were destroyed. Large amounts were transferred to London, and held in Foreign Office archives. Colonial officials were told that crates of documents sent back to the UK by sea could be entrusted only to the “care of a British ship’s master on a British ship”.

For example, Robert Turner, the chief secretary of the British protectorate of North Borneo, wrote to the Colonial Office library in August 1963, a few weeks before independence, saying his subordinate’s monthly reports – “which would be unsuitable for the eyes of local ministers” – would be saved and sent to London, rather than destroyed. “I … have been prevailed upon to do so on the grounds that some at least of their contents may come in handy when some future Gibbon is doing research work for his ‘Decline and Fall of the British Empire’.”

Those papers that were returned to London were not open to historians, however. The declassified documents made available Friday at the National Archives at Kew, south-west London, are from a cache of 8,800 of colonial-era files that the Foreign Office held for decades, in breach of the 30-years rule of the Public Records Acts and in effect beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act. They were stored behind barbed-wire fences at Hanslope Park, Buckinghamshire, a government communications research centre north of London, a facility that it operates along with MI6 and MI5.

The Foreign Office was forced eventually to admit to the existence of the hidden files during high court proceedings brought by a group of elderly Kenyans who were suing the government over the mistreatment they suffered while imprisoned during the 1950s Mau Mau insurgency.

Even then, however, the Foreign Office failed to acknowledge that the 8,800 colonial files were just a small part of a secret archive of 1.2m files that it called the Special Collections, and which it had held unlawfully at Hanslope Park.

The Foreign Office is understood to have presented a plan to the National Archive earlier this month for the belated transfer of the Special Collections into the public domain. On Thursday it declined to disclose details of that plan.

The newly declassified documents show that the practice of destroying papers rather than allowing them to fall into the hands of post-independence governments pre-dated Macleod’s 1961 instructions.

A British colonial official in Malaya reported that in August 1957, for example, “five lorry loads of papers … were driven down to the naval base at Singapore, and destroyed in the Navy’s splendid incinerator there. The Army supplied the lorries (civilian type) and laid on Field Security Personnel to move the files. Considerable pains were nevertheless taken to carry out the operations discreetly, partly to avoid exacerbating relationships between the British government and those Malayans who might not have been so understanding … and partly to avoid comment by the press (who I understand greatly enjoyed themselves with the pall of smoke which hung over Delhi during the mass destruction of documents in 1947).”

A few years later, colonial officials in Kenya were urged not to follow the Malayan example: “It is better for too much, rather than too little, to be sent home – the wholesale destruction, as in Malaya, should not be repeated.”

• This article was amended on 29 November 2013 to replace part of a sentence that had been accidentally deleted during the editing process.

UN Secretary-General Hammarskjöld murdered for anti-colonialism?


Dag Hammarskjöld

On 18 September 1961, Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish Secretary-General of the United Nations, died in what was then the British colony Northern Rhodesia (now: Zambia). His plane crashed, killing all people on board either immediately, or a few hours, or a few days later.

An accident? Murder? Views on this differ sharply. Wikipedia notes that official investigations and search and rescue in Northern Rhodesia after the plane crashed were iffy.

Who might have had a motive for killing the United Nations Secretary-General; and, if so, what motive? Dag Hammarskjöld at the time of his death was trying to find a solution for the war in Congo. In 1960, Congo became officially independent from Belgium. However, Belgian big business, establishment politicians and “intelligence” services wanted to basically carry on ruling Congo, now from behind the scenes: from colonialism to neo-colonialism. The democratically elected prime minister of Congo, Patrice Lumumba, opposed that. This led to war in Congo. In 1961, Lumumba was murdered; with complicity of the Belgian secret service and the CIA, later research says.

After the news of Hammarskjöld’s death, a press release issued by the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo stated that, “… in order to pay a tribute to this great man, now vanished from the scene, and to his colleagues, all of whom have fallen victim to the shameless intrigues of the great financial Powers of the West… the Government has decided to proclaim Tuesday, 19 September 1961, a day of national mourning.”

So, the government of Congo suspected murder by Western spying … sorry, I am supposed to use euphemisms … intelligence services.

Wikipedia says:

His [Hammarskjöld’s] efforts towards the decolonisation of Africa were considered insufficient by the Soviet Union …

However, hardline pro-colonialists in Belgium, Britain and other NATO countries rather thought Hammarskjöld did too much for decolonisation.

United States President John F. Kennedy called Hammarskjöld “the greatest statesman of our century”. Not everyone in the United States government may have agreed with that view.

On 19 August 1998, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), stated that recently uncovered letters had implicated the British MI5, the American CIA, and then South African intelligence services in the crash of Hammarskjöld’s plane.

From The Local in Sweden:

NSA may hold key to Dag Hammarskjöld mystery

Published: 9 Sep 2013 15:42 CET

Investigators into Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld’s mysterious death have appealed to the US National Security Agency (NSA) for intercepted radio communications from the Swede’s fatal plane crash in Zambia, 1961.

The then Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, died during the night of September 17th

Wikipedia says September 18th

1961 in a plane crash in what is now Zambia, where he was headed to mediate in the ongoing conflict in neighbouring The Congo.

The diplomat’s death has been the subject of numerous rumours and conspiracy theories over the past five decades centred around whether the crash was an accident, or if Hammarskjöld was killed.

Evidence available has left investigators puzzled, with pilot error deemed unlikely after witnesses claimed to have seen the plane going down on fire.

Investigators who probed the case urged the United Nations on Monday to launch a new investigation into the crash, stating that the possibility that the plane was attacked from above, or that it was forced down due to threats, should be “taken seriously, despite everything”.

The team of investigators, which was led by four senior lawyers including diplomat Hans Corell, appealed to the Unites States to declassify documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) including radio communications and intercepts of war planes in the area at the time.

The commission added that it was a “near certainty” that all air traffic information around the airport was “followed and recorded by the NSA and possibly even the CIA”. Access to such files has been denied by the NSA due to the “top secret” classification, something the commission wants to be lifted to further the investigation.

A recent book by the author Susan Williams entitled Who Killed Hammarskjöld? also argued that the plane was brought down, and prompted the diplomat’s nephew Knut Hammarskjöld to call for the new inquiry.

Newly released evidence on the death of UN chief and renowned Swedish statesman Dag Hammarskjöld, including previously unseen pictures of his corpse, has caused the author of an official inquiry to question his own claims that the death was an accident: here.

More African countries join migratory birds campaign


This video is called White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) – birds greeting in the nest – Spring Alive.

From BirdLife:

New African countries join Spring Alive initiative

Tue, Aug 27, 2013

Three new African countries namely Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia have joined the Spring Alive initiative for the 2013 season which duly commences on the 1st of September, 2013. These latest additions therefore increase the total number of African countries participating in the initiative from eight in 2012 to eleven in 2013. This remarkable achievement is in furtherance of BirdLife Africa’s vision of expanding the programme into many Africa countries and also increasing the constituency of young people engaged in activities that promote bird awareness and conservation in general.

As part of the initiative, individual country web pages have been created for each new country on the international Spring Alive website- www.springalive.net. Therefore children, youth, teachers and bird lovers in Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia will now be able to gain access to a host of education materials that center on the five flagship species under the initiative. More so, children in these countries can also observe and record the arrival of the five flagship species each year on their home country web pages and participate in the Spring Alive drawing competition for Africa.

Furthermore, opportunities also exist for schools /clubs in Africa to build strong linkages or networks with their European counterparts under the Spring Twins component of the initiative. In all, it is expected that by joining the initiative children and bird lovers in all these countries will have the opportunity to experience spring in a very unique way through the host of activities available under the initiative and consequently enhance their interest and love for birds and nature in general.

The Spring Alive is an international project organised by BirdLife International, designed to promote children’s interest in nature and its conservation by highlighting the arrival of spring. The core component of Spring Alive is a mass-participation website that is implemented in all partner countries. Citizens, but specifically children and families, are encouraged to observe and record the arrival of 5 migratory bird species each year: White Stork, Barn Swallow, Common Swift, Common Cuckoo and Eurasian Bee-eater.

The campaign is also financially supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB; BirdLife in the UK).

By Callistus Agbaam, Project Officer- Wildlife Clubs of Africa Project (Phase II)