White giraffes seen in Kenya


Young white giraffe, 'normal' giraffe and white giraffe mother. Photo by Hirola Conservation Programme

From the Hirola Conservation Programme blog in Kenya:

Sunday, 06 August 2017 12:58

ANOTHER WHITE (LEUCISTIC) GIRAFFE SIGHTING IN THE HIROLA’S RANGE!

Early june this year, reports of a white baby giraffe and its mother were reported to us by the rangers who got the report from one of the villagers adjacent to the Ishaqbini conservancy. We hurriedly headed to the scene as soon as we got the news. And lo! There, right in front of us, was the so hyped ‘white giraffe’ of Ishaqbini conservancy! They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence. The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes – a characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young.

While observing the magnificent long-necked animal looking at us, I could not but help see the fading reticulates on their skin! It was evident that the coloration especially on the mother giraffe was not as conspicuous as on the baby. The question that lingered in my mind was if the fading on the skin was something that happened at birth or thereafter in the adult giraffe life? This is because the baby giraffe had very conspicuous reticulates but with a small tinge of the white coloration that seemed to continue fading away leaving the baby white as it approaches adulthood.

White giraffe sightings or leucistic giraffe as they are better known have become more frequent and common nowadays. In fact, the only two known sightings have been made in Kenya and Tanzania. The very first reports of a white giraffe in the wild was reported in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania; a second sighting was again reported in March 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.

As a matter of fact, these sightings have become a common occurrence in the hirola’s geographic range that the communities in these areas (especially within our conservancies) have become so excited to a point where everybody has been participating in reporting the sighting of these magnificent animals! But the question that lingers in the minds of many is, is the giraffe white or what’s up with its coloration? Experts have explained that the condition is known as leucism, which results in the partial loss of the pigmentation of the giraffe’s original color. In this very sighting, in Ishaqbini, there was a mother and a juvenile. The communities within Ishaqbini have mixed reactions to the sighting of this leucistic giraffe and most of the elders report that they have never seen this before. ‘This is new to us” says Bashir one of the community rangers who alerted us when they sighted the white giraffe. “I remember when I was a kid, we never saw them” he added. “It must be very recent and we are not sure what is causing it” he said.

An extremely rare white giraffe and her baby calf were spotted in Kenya.

Impala between wild dogs and angry hippo


This video from Maasai Mara national park in Kenya says about itself:

Impala stuck between an angry hippo and wild dogs

7 September 2017

Well, believe it or not, the stand-off lasted until after dark. The dogs gave up and the impala emerged from the water unscathed, joining his herd for the night.

Impala escapes from crocodile


This video from Maasai Mara national park in Kenya says about itself:

12 September 2017

Impala miraculously escapes from the deadly jaws of a crocodile.

Drowned wildebeest help other Kenyan animals


This video says about itself:

AMAZING FOOTAGE OF WILDEBEEST CROSSING THE MARA RIVER

28 January 2011

They had wanted to cross all day, and by 5-o-clock PM they finally did.

From the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in the USA:

Wildebeest feast: Mass drownings fuel the Mara River ecosystem

June 19, 2017

(Millbrook, NY) Each year, more than a million wildebeest migrate through Africa’s Serengeti Mara Ecosystem. While crossing the Kenyan reach of the Mara River, thousands perish. A new study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to reveal how wildebeest drownings impact the ecology of the iconic river.

Amanda Subalusky, a Postdoctoral Associate at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, is the paper’s lead author. She conducted the work while a graduate student at Yale University. Subalusky explains, “The Mara River intersects one of the largest overland migrations in the world. During peak migration, the wildebeest cross the Mara River multiple times, sometimes resulting in drownings of hundreds or thousands of wildebeest. Our study is the first to quantify these mass drownings and study how they impact river life.”

The research team conducted five years of field surveys and analyzed a decade of historical reports from the Mara Conservancy to determine the rate and frequency of wildebeest drownings in the Mara River’s Kenyan reach. On average, 6,200 wildebeest – representing 1,100 tons of biomass – succumb each year during migration, with mass drownings occurring in 13 of the last 15 years (2001-2015).

Co-author Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute, notes, “To put this in perspective, it’s the equivalent of adding ten blue whale carcasses to the moderately-sized Mara River each year. This dramatic subsidy delivers terrestrial nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon to the river’s food web. First, fish and scavengers feast on soft tissues, then wildebeest bones slowly release nutrients into the system – feeding algae and influencing the food web on decadal scales.”

To reveal the fate of wildebeest carcasses, the researchers modeled in-stream consumption by fish and Nile crocodiles, scavenging by birds, nutrient uptake, and downstream transport. Stable isotope analyses of common fishes, camera monitoring of scavengers, and stable isotope analyses of biofilms (a mix of bacteria, fungi, and algae) on wildebeest bones all informed the fate of wildebeest nutrient inputs.

While wildebeest soft tissue decomposes in 2-10 weeks, their bones persist for upwards of seven years, acting as a long-term source of phosphorus. Rosi explains, “Mass drownings present a striking picture. Rotting animal flesh spikes the aquatic ecosystem with nutrients. But once carcasses disappear, bones – which make up nearly half of biomass inputs – continue to feed the river.”

When wildebeest carcasses were present, they comprised 34-50% of the diet of common fish. The most frequent terrestrial scavengers on carcasses were Marabou storks, white-backed vultures, Rüppell’s vultures, and hooded vultures, consuming 6-9% of soft tissues. Biofilms on wildebeest bones had a distinct isotopic signature, and made up 7-24% of the diet of three common fish species months after drowning events. Due to low metabolic rates, Nile crocodiles were estimated to eat just 2% of total carcass inputs.

Co-author David Post, an aquatic ecologist at Yale University, comments, “The Mara River is one of the last places on Earth left to study how the drowning of large migratory animals influences aquatic ecosystems. Many migratory herds, like bison, quagga, and springbok have been driven to extinction or remnant populations.”

With Subalusky adding, “The migration is currently underway in the Mara, having arrived early this year. What is happening there is window into the past, when large migratory herds were free to roam the landscape, and drownings likely played an important role in rivers throughout the world.”

See also here.

Ecocide: Catastrophic dam in Ethiopia to wipe out Unique Cultures


This video from Kenya says about itself:

20 April 2012

Many Kenyan residents say the Gibe III dam project, located along the Omo River, will have a negative impact on their environment. VOA‘s Vincent Makori reports and talks to Ikal Angelei, founder of Friends of Lake Turkana Kenya, 2012, Goldman, Environmental Prize Winner.

The Free

5939243629_8f1991e0de_bOne of the most controversial dams in history has been  inaugurated. The Gibe III dam has put an end to the natural flooding of Ethiopia’s Omo River, on which 100,000 indigenous people depend and a further 100,000 rely indirectly. Experts have warned that this could also mean the end for Lake Turkana in Kenya – the world’s largest desert lake – and disaster for the 300,000 tribespeople living along its shores.descarga-1

The dam was built by Italian engineering giant Salini Impregilo, against which Survival has filed a formal complaint that is still ongoing. Plans are now underway to build the Gibe IV and Gibe V dams downriver.

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Widowbirds jumping, video


This video from Kenya says about itself:

2 December 2016

The Widowbird is a master jumper, but which male can jump the highest and for the longest amount of time? This clip was taken from the Grasslands episode of Planet Earth II.

A BBC Studios Natural History Unit production, co-produced with BBC America, ZDF, Tencent and France Télévisions.