Hyenas save baby from lions

This video from Kenya says about itself:

Lions mess with the wrong hyena clan

11 June 2018

Because lions and hyenas both consume the same prey, they are each others’ most common competitors. Lions are three to four times larger than hyenas and hunt larger animals. A group of hyenas, however, can often use teamwork to intimidate a lion away from its meal. Both lions and hyenas frequently steal from each other. Lions have learned to recognize the feeding calls of hyenas after a recent hunt. They follow the calls to the source and chase the hyenas from their prey. Although it would seem abundant prey would lessen the hostility, the opposite has been observed.

In this sighting the lioness was trying to catch a young hyena and the hyena clan would have none of it, this lioness was very lucky to survive this ordeal.

Filmed in Masai Mara.


Elephant herd celebrates birth of baby

This video says about itself:

Elephant Herd Celebrates a New Born Calf | BBC Earth

10 June 2018

A new born elephant baby brings joy to the elephant herd.

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan travels to the spectacular Tsavo wilderness in Kenya to try to get closer than ever before to a wild elephant family. African elephants are one of the most dangerous animals in the world, killing more people than lions or any other predator. But Gordon believes that elephants become dangerous only because of our actions towards them.

Lions near Kenya’s capital

This 2016 video from Kenya is called A Free Walk Day For The Lions In Nairobi.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Lions in the queue for food

25 May 2018

The number of lions in Kenya is decreasing alarmingly, due partly to the encroaching cities and the development of the countryside. Together with local scientists and inhabitants, Leiden biologists are studying how this decline can be halted. ‘Lions are cleverer than we thought.’

Inhabitants of the suburbs of Nairobi often get the shock of their lives: every year between the streams of cars a huge lion will make its appearance. And, given the resulting commotion, these 3200-kilo

Very doubtful. Wikipedia estimates male lions are 150-250 kilo.

lions find themselves hemmed in by the cars. In Kenya’s capital Nairobi, this is a more frequent occurrence than it may seem, Leiden Professor of Environmental Biology Hans de Iongh, who also has an appointment in Antwerp, explains. With its rapidly increasing population, the capital city is spreading out towards the borders of Nairobi National Park; at just 117 sq.m.,

117.21 square kilometres (28,963 acres), according to Wikipedia.

the par[k] is relatively small. As a comparison, the Veluwe Park in the Netherlands is around 1,000 sq.m.

The partly enclosed Kenyan park is open on the south side so that the wild animals, such as zebras and giraffes are not completely restricted in their search for food. But the same also applies to the 35 to 40 adult lions that regularly go hunting outside the park – with all the consequences this entails. Last year park rangers shot an aggressive lion dead outside the park because it was fighting with another lion, and causing some concern. Neighbouring cattle farmers sometimes kill lions if they attack their cattle or sheep. And the lions in the traffic? They often return to the park of their own accord, but there are also occasions when they have to be anaesthetised before they can be removed, or they are even killed.

Restricting lions’ freedom

The Kenyan lion population has declined alarmingly over the past twenty years: from around 2,700 lions at the turn of the century that number now stands at around 2,000. The Kenya Wildlife Service is applying compensation measures and issuing advice to the local population to stop the lions running completely free. This Kenyan government organisation has also called on the help of Leiden researchers. PhD candidates and students have been conducting research here for over ten years, supervised by Professors of Environmental Biology Geert de Snoo and Hans de Iongh. De Iongh works at the Institute of Environmental Sciences, part of Leiden’s Faculty of Science, and De Snoo is dean of the same faculty. The researchers are studying the behaviour of the lions and whether their feeding patterns are changing under the influence of climate change.

One of the Leiden PhD candidates is Kenyan Francis Lesilau, Head of Security at Nairobi National Park. He is researching how farmers can protect their animals against lions, and conversely, how lions can be protected against people. The conflicts between humans and lions are unfortunately increasing, Lesilau explains by phone from Nairobi. Beside population growth, climate change also plays a role: the increasing drought is drawing the animals further away in their search for food, which means that animals of prey, like lions, have to travel many kilometres. ‘For them, the bomas, the enclosures where the cattle are kept overnight, are rather like attractive shopping centres where they can do some food shopping’, De Iongh explains. Lesilau understands the fear and anger of the cattle farmers. ‘The cattle are their only asset as well as their food.’ But he also wants to protect the lions so that they don’t become extinct in the region.

As Head of Security, Lesilau patrols Nairobi National Park almost every day. By chance, he often witnesses interesting incidents. He has twice seen a lioness pull a tranquiliser dart out of her rear paw.

Disco lights

Lesilau’s PhD research further builds on an inventive discovery dating from 2013 by the then 13-year-old cattle hand Richard Turere. As the son of a Masai cattle farmer, it was his job to protect the family’s cattle. After a lion had forced its way into the enclosure and killed a cow, Richard devised a deterrent system made up of flashing lights on the boma. It worked extremely well; the lions no longer ventured onto their land. De Iongh: ‘They’re a bit like disco lights placed at different intervals along the fence that flash intermittently, which makes the lions think that the cattle are being guarded by a number of people with lanterns.’ Richard’s clever invention was so successful, other cattle farmers also installed flashing lights.

Over the past three years Lesilau has been studying whether this deterrent really does work as well as it seems. He tracks the trail of lions using a transmitter in a collar around the lion’s neck. Via a satellite connection he can see where the lions have been, whether using his smartphone while driving around the park, or at his computer in Leiden. (It’s not yet possible to do this in real time, but with a delay of three hours). Over the past three years, he has monitored 80 cattle farmers in the region, 43 of whom were using the flashing lights. His study showed that those bomas with flashing lights were hardly ever attacked. The lions travelled further away from the borders of the park and went ‘shopping’ at enclosures without the lights. Lesilau: ‘This is an important discovery. Lions are able to adapt their behaviour if the environment changes. This means they are cleverer than we thought. They do sometimes attack cattle in the bomas in daylight hours. Fewer cows or sheep fall victim because the cattle are much more spread out in the daytime.’

Doesn’t this different form of predatory behaviour mean a greater danger for humans? Not necessarily, according to the two researchers. De Iongh: ‘Obviously, lions can be very dangerous, but in this area they seldom attack people. In principle, they don’t eat humans; they prefer wild animals or livestock.’ Lesilau does advocate a better system of enclosures for the park on the city side. A few years ago a man was injured when a lion attacked him in a suburb of Nairobi. This was mainly the result of human provocation, he explained. ‘More research is needed on the long-term effects and what the consequences are if the flashing lights are installed over a wider area.’

The research is having an effect elsewhere in Kenya. Four other national parks are going to be working with Leiden researchers, examining such issues as biodiversity. As well as a Dutch PhD candidate, two new Kenyan PhD candidates have been recruited and eight Dutch and Belgian students will be taking part in the research. The Kenyan researchers will also make frequent visits to Leiden to follow courses and share knowledge. ‘It is quite remarkable that a country that doesn’t have any lions is willing to help us’, Lesilau commented. ‘It’s really useful having scientists work together when there is a lack of knowledge in the local environment.’

Francis Lesilau says that in one sense his career is thanks to a lion. When he was 11 he had to protect his family’s last two camels. One day, a lion suddenly appeared and bit one of the camels in the neck. For a moment, Lesilau stood helpless, eye to eye with the lion. ‘I will never forget the piercing yellow eyes of that lion.’ The lion stared at him intensely, dropped the camel and trailed off. The camel did not survive. Lesilau’s father then decided to quit keeping camels, and Francis was able to go to school. After secondary school, he studied Sustainable Management at Leicester University in England. Afterwards, he became a ranger before becoming Security Manager at Kenya Wildlife Service, where he met Hans de Iongh. This is where their collaboration started.

Giraffes, new research

This video is called Giraffes 101 | National Geographic Wild.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Giraffes surprise biologists yet again

May 18, 2018

New research from the University of Bristol has highlighted how little we know about giraffe behaviour and ecology.

It is commonly accepted that group sizes of animals increase when there is a risk of predation, since larger group sizes reduce the risk of individuals being killed, and there are ‘many eyes’ to spot any potential predation risk.

Now, in the first study of its kind, Bristol PhD student Zoe Muller from the School of Biological Sciences has found that this is not true for giraffes, and that the size of giraffe groups is not influenced by the presence of predators.

Zoe Muller said: “This is surprising, and highlights how little we know about even the most basic aspects of giraffe behaviour.”

This study investigates how the grouping behaviour of giraffes differed in response to numerous factors, such as predation risk, habitat type and the characteristics of individuals.

Habitat type had some effect on group size, but the main effect on group size was in the behaviour of adult females, who were found to be in smaller groups when they had calves.

This is contrary to another popular belief that female giraffes form large groups to communally care for their young — this study, published this week in the Journal of Zoology presents the first evidence to show that actually, the opposite is true.

Giraffe populations have declined by 40 percent in the last 30 years, and there are now thought to be fewer than 98,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

In recognition of their drastic decline in the wild, they have recently been listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation in Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

However, conservation review is ongoing due to current debate over their taxonomic status, since some subspecies may be even more at risk of extinction than is currently recognised.

Zoe Muller added: “This research adds another important piece to the puzzle of understanding how giraffes live in the wild.

“Giraffes are a threatened species, suffering ongoing decline across Africa, and this research highlights how they are actually an incredibly misunderstood species. We can only manage and conserve giraffe populations effectively if we properly understand their behaviour and ecology, which we are only just beginning to do.

“Despite their prominence, giraffes have been significantly understudied in comparison to other charismatic African mammals. “The common misconception is that giraffes are ‘everywhere’ in Africa, yet recent research efforts have highlighted the fragmented and rapidly declining nature of their populations.

“Their recent listing as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN red list is a valuable step towards recognising their potential to become extinct, and more research is sorely needed to understand the threats and challenges they face in the wild.”

The next steps for this research will be to replicate the findings in other areas of Africa. This is one case study from East Africa, and more research is needed to see if the same effects are observed in other giraffe populations. Results can be used to understand how the management of habitats, environmental and social variables can support the conservation of giraffe populations.

Conservation in Kenya update

This video says about itself:

2 February 2018

A film by Fabian Haas, Pixels on Screen, on the unique value of Lake Ol’ Bolossat in Kenya, and the impact of the CEPF investment to protect this Key Biodiversity Area. (In English and kiSwahili.)

From BirdLife:

14 Mar 2018

Rapid response turns shrinking Kenyan lake into protected area

Lake Ol Bolossat is home to thriving hippopotamus families and a wealth of stunning waterbirds. But human activity is drying up this oasis of life. Just in the nick of time, a CEPF-funded campaign persuaded the Kenyan Government to grant formal protection.

By Jude Fuhnwi

Lake Ol Bolossat is a small lake in the Nyandarua County of central Kenya. It lies nestled between the northwestern slopes of Aberdare Mountains and the Dundori Ridge, and serves as the source of the Ewaso Nyiro River and Thomson’s falls.  The open water, marshes, grassland and forests – not to mention the springs that feed the lake – offer a great variety of habitats. This lake is home to several families of hippopotamus and serves as a vital stop-over site for migrating birds such as the beautiful – but Endangered – Grey Crowned-crane Balearica regulorum. Designated as Kenya’s 61st Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), the lake is known to hold important water bird species.

As a source of the Ewaso Nyiro River, it also supports the large population of people, livestock and wildlife that live downstream. Fishermen in the area depend on the lake for their livelihood: catfish are abundant during rainy seasons.

But until very recently, Lake Ol Bolossat was on the list of IBAs in danger. The lake was facing extinction from unprecedented levels of environmental degradation. Threats from human activities such as quarrying, road construction activities, over-grazing, pollution and illegal settlement on riverside land have reduced the water body significantly. In fact, there are now only 4 km2 of open water left.

And so, following a significant campaign by the East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) through a project funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), on January 24 Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, endorsed and signed the gazettement of Lake Ol Bolossat as a protected area.

“The biodiversity is awesome. I’ve gazetted this beautiful Lake in order to protect it from encroachment,” said Prof. Wakhungu in a tweet on February 04, days after declaring its new protected status.

The nine-month project, known as “Enhancing Environmental Regulations in Safeguarding Lake Ol Bolossat in Nyandarua County, Kenya”, received funding from CEPF through BirdLife International as Regional Implementation Team (RIT) in the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot to ensure its ecosystem services are preserved.  The project funded the East African Wildlife Society to reduce negative impact on the lake – especially from road construction and agricultural expansion. Their combined efforts with other stakeholders* influenced the Kenyan government’s decision to formally protect the wetland.

“Effective January 24, 2018 Lake Ol Bolossat is a wetland protected area”, declared Prof. Wakhungu, on February 02, during an event on the site to observe World Wetlands Day in Kenya, hosted by the EAWLS. “I endorsed and signed the gazettement. The documents are now with the Attorney General that the effective date of the gazettement of Lake Ol Bolossat is January 24, 2018.”

This new protected wetland has joined the Eastern Afromontane’s 142 protected areas. It also adds over 4,000 hectares to the 1.2 million hectares of new Protected Area to the African Protected Area network gained as a result of CEPF-funded projects, often co-financed by other donors.

Reacting to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement, Jabes Okumu, Wildlife Programme Manager at the East African Wildlife Society, described it as a major achievement that “will provide the institutional and legal framework to guide and coordinate all conservation efforts within and around Lake Ol Bolossat.” “Thanks to CEPF for supporting us to champion this noble course,” he said.

Under the CEPF funded project, the lake was profiled in the media as a top priority within a Joint Action Plan by key stakeholders.

“Through our ‘rapid response fund’**, we provided US$10,000 to EAWLS in 2016. EAWLS continued with their activities after the CEPF/BirdLife funded project with funding from the Rufford Foundation and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation,” said Maaike Manten, Team Leader for the RIT. “This shows that limited ‘seed funding’ can have major positive impacts.”

Other projects supported by the rapid response fund under the CEPF Eastern Afromontane Small Grants Programme targeted the protection of Ethiopian wolves in Ethiopia and vultures in Kenya. The programme made a total of 11 rapid response fund grants across the hotspot.

Read more below:

Volunteer Conservationists draw attention to Lake Bogoria

New partnership to safeguard Malagarasi River System

Malagarasi river finds favor with local women

A first success in Eastern Afromonatane Hotspot

* BirdLife International, together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (BirdLife in Ethiopia) formed the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) investment in the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot (2012 -2017). The investment supported civil society in applying innovative approaches to conservation in under-capacitated and underfunded protected areas, Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and priority corridors in the region.

** The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, through its Regional Implementation Team in the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot, started providing ‘rapid response fund’ grants of maximum USD 10,000 in July 2014. These grants were issued to fund projects that aimed to protect Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) under immediate and urgent threat. The main idea behind these grants was “to support the role of civil society organizations in the application of site safeguard policies and procedures in order to avoid or minimize / mitigate ongoing and emerging threats on critical biodiversity habitats”.

See the interactive map of all projects implemented under the CEPF Eastern Afromontane hotspot programme here.

Kenyan mongoose escapes from lions

This 13 March 2018 video says about itself:

Mahendra Jain captured this beautiful moment of fun and games in Kenya and told Latestsightings.com how it all played out: “It was a stunning drive. We were ready to go out and do some game viewing, I was admiring the splendor of the vast landscape surrounding me.”

“I happened to notice that there was a pride of very young lion cubs hanging around a bushy mound and wondered what they were up to…” “Seconds later, shrill screams could be heard filling the air and I could see that one of the cubs had managed to capture a mongoose.”

“The mongoose was most distraught and decided to put up the fight of its life. This little one was determined not to become anyone’s dinner, never mind chew-toy. Whilst warding off its enemy, the mongoose managed to get his lucky break and ran over to another mound giving himself an opportunity to half fly into one of the burrow openings.”

“It was very funny to watch as the cubs were most perplexed as to where their newfound toy had just disappeared off to. I can only imagine their disappointment of having a game ended before it ever really began.”

Mongeese are commonly known to be vicious fighters and extremely fast. They have no fear in standing up to any potential danger, no matter what the size. Many a hyena, leopard, lion or even snakes have been sent fleeing from the sight when they try and take on this little beast. Mongeese are incredibly clever animals, hence why their crazy David vs Goliath tactics always seem to put them in the winning seat. Dynamite, most definitely, does come in small packages here.