Lions back to Rwanda after fifteen years


This video is called Wild Botswana: Lion Brotherhood HD Documentary.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Lions to be reintroduced to Rwanda after 15-year absence following genocide

Seven big cats will be taken from South Africa to Akagera national park, where lion population was wiped out, in major conservation project

David Smith in Johannesburg

Sunday 28 June 2015 16.00 BST

Seven lions in South Africa are to be tranquillised, placed in steel crates and loaded on to a charter flight to Rwanda on Monday, restoring the predator to the east African country after a 15-year absence.

Cattle herders poisoned Rwanda’s last remaining lions after parks were left unmanaged and occupied by displaced people in the wake of the 1994 genocide, according to the conservation group African Parks, which is organising the repopulation drive.

It said two parks in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province with “relatively small, confined reserves where it is necessary to remove surplus lions” are donating the big cats to Rwanda. The seven – five females and two males – were chosen based on future reproductive potential and their ability to contribute to social cohesion, including a mix of ages and genetic makeup.

From Monday they will be transferred to Akagera national park in north-east Rwanda by truck and plane in a journey lasting about 26 hours. African Parks said: “They will be continually monitored by a veterinary team with experience in translocations. They will be kept tranquillised to reduce any stress and will have access to fresh water throughout their journey.”

Upon arrival at the 112,000-hectare park, which borders Tanzania, the lions will be kept in quarantine in a specially-erected 1,000m² enclosure with an electrified fence for at least two weeks before they are released into the wild.

The park is fenced, but the lions will be equipped with satellite collars to reduce the risk of them straying into inhabited areas. African Parks said: “The collars have a two-year life, by which time the park team will have evaluated the pride dynamics and only the dominant individuals in each pride will be re-collared.”

As a wildlife tourist destination, Rwanda is best known for its gorilla tracking safaris. But Akagera, a two-hour drive from the capital, Kigali, is home to various antelope species, buffaloes, giraffes and zebras, as well as elephants and leopards. It attracted 28,000 visitors in 2014.

Last year, as part of the preparations for the reintroduction, the Akagera team ran a sensitisation programme in communities surrounding the park to promote harmonious co-existence with lions.

Yamina Karitanyi, the head of tourism at the Rwanda Development Board, said: “It is a breakthrough in the rehabilitation of the park … Their return will encourage the natural balance of the ecosystem and enhance the tourism product to further contribute to Rwanda’s status as an all-in-one safari destination.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the lion as vulnerable in an update this month of its red list of species facing survival threats. It noted lion conservation successes in southern Africa, but said lions in west Africa were critically endangered and rapid population declines were also being recorded in east Africa.

African Parks cited human encroachment on lion habitats and a decline in lion prey as reasons for the population drop. It identified a trade in lion bones and other body parts for traditional medicine in Africa, as well as Asia, as a growing threat.

Peter Fearnhead, the chief executive of African Parks, which manages Akagera and seven other national parks on the continent, said: “The return of lions to Akagera is a conservation milestone for the park and the country.”

See also here.

Apparently Rwanda plans to reintroduce black rhino as well as lions to Akagera NP this year, to have the “big five”: here.

KILLER OF CECIL THE LION IDENTIFIED “An American dentist with an affinity for killing rare wildlife using a bow and arrow has been identified as the man who shot and killed Zimbabwe’s most famous lion earlier this month, local officials claim.” The Internet backlash has been swift. [HuffPost]

WHAT JANE GOODALL THINKS OF CECIL THE LION’S DEATH “Only one good thing comes out of this — thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature. Surely they will now be more prepared to fight for the protection of wild animals and the wild places where they live.” [The Dodo]

Botswana wildlife from the air, video


This video says about itself:

Safari from the sky! Amazing drone footage of Botswana park

19 January 2015

Amazing drone footage captures the wonders of Chobe National Park in Botswana.

You looking at me? Drone captures amazing aerial images of Botswana‘s wildlife peering up at camera.

American photographer Paul Souders captured the stunning pictures in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

The 53-year-old has been a photographer for more than 30 years.

The photographer used his DJI Phantom Vision 2+drone which he operated via a hand-held remote control.

After more than 30 years behind the lens, award-winning wildlife photographer Paul Souders decided to let someone – or rather something – else do most of the hard work for him.

The 53-year-old American snapper has traveled to every conceivable corner of the world in his quest to capture animals in their natural habitat, but for his latest shoot Paul put decided to put his feet up and put his trust in a drone.

Paul traveled 10,000 miles from his home in Seattle to Chobe National Park in Botswana for the shoot, which he took using his DJI Phantom Vision 2+drone operated via a hand-held remote control.

Wildebeest, elephants, lions, and giraffes are among some of the species captured on film during the unusual shoot, with mesmerising results.

A heard of wildebeest can be seen fleeing the scene as the drone hovers overhead, while in another shot, a lone giraffe appears fascinated by the device.

In 2013, Paul was the Grand Prize and Nature winner of the National Geographic Photography Contest with a stunning photograph of a polar bear peering up from beneath the melting sea ice on Hudson Bay.

Speaking to the magazine, Paul explained that he fell into wildlife photography almost by accident: ‘I never set out to be a nature photographer, I wanted to be a news shooter, and I started my first job at a small daily paper in Rockville with dreams of journalistic glory.

‘I covered a lot of high school sports, portrait assignments and weather features. It felt like telling the story of my community, one day at a time. At some point, I decided a change of scene was in order.

‘Never one for half measures, I packed up everything I owned and drove 4300 miles to Anchorage, Alaska, to take a job at the state’s biggest newspaper. It was 27 below zero the day I arrived, but it was entirely new and magical. There was a moose in my backyard and I could see bald eagles on my morning commute.’

Migratory bird conservation in Africa


This video says about itself:

3 December 2013

Kids in Botswana are very much engaged in the Spring Alive project and they can talk about it in a cheerful, energetic but yet informative way. See yourself how amazing these children are and how great Spring Alive is doing there.

From BirdLife:

Manuals for empowering Africa’s citzens to conserve migratory birds

By Obaka Torto, Wed, 24/09/2014 – 10:21

The wonder of migration has not ceased to captivate the minds of many as a science and a hobby, with records dating back to the 18th century, and even beyond to Aristotle’s Historia Animalium in 350 BC. Interest in bird migration in particular has increasingly gone up in most regions and Africa has not been left behind. To date, at least 14 countries in Africa, namely Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are actively participating in a project tagged Spring Alive that initially started in Europe in 2006. Spring Alive is a BirdLife International conservation education and action initiative targetted primarily at students, their teachers and then the wider community. The annual migration of these birds along the flyways is an ideal vehicle to illustrate the connectivity of sites, countries and continents on our dear planet Earth.

The five flagship species that have so far encapsulated the minds of the communities in Europe, Africa and Asia are the Barn Swallow, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Common Cuckoo and the White Stork. While these birds are widely known for announcing spring in the European northern hemisphere, in the vast landscapes of motherland Africa, they represent the fruitfulness and vitality of seasonal change. Africa is home to these birds for many reasons, one being that they avoid the chilling temperatures that the northern hemisphere would be experiencing in winter. They start their journey from Europe into Africa in August, arriving from around the 1st of September every year. They inhabit the grasslands, rooftops, tree branches and can be seen soaring and circling through the air for a period of six months before they start their journey to Europe.

While the uptake of the Spring Alive project has been remarkable in Europe, Africa and Asia, more still needs to be done to engage more citizens in the conservation of habitats for migratory birds and to involve them in the fantastic exercise of observing them at different sites. The BirdLife Africa Secretariat in conjunction with BirdLife Poland recently adapted and launched an African teacher’s manuals for Grades 1-3 and 4-6.  The teacher’s manuals cover topics such as bird identification, bird behavior, the concept of migration and the challenges birds face along the routes. The manuals also provide interactive and interesting games for the children. These resources are meant to deepen the engagement of children with birds, inspire their young minds and cultivate interests about the natural world around them. These manuals can also be used by local community groups as well as wildlife/nature clubs.

The Spring Alive Project, whose details can be found at: www.springalive.net and similarly on the BirdLife Africa website contributes to achieving the objectives of wider BirdLife programmes, especially the Local Empowerment Programme and the Migratory Birds and Flyway Programmes. The 14 African Spring Alive Partners also have individual portals on the Spring Alive website that allows people to find out about local activities in each country. These activities include Spring Alive drawing and photo competitions, bird watching events and other information.

For further details about Spring Alive in Africa, please contact: Temidayo.osinubi@birdlife.org / wasro.intern@birdlife.org / obaka.torto@birdlife.org

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