British rugby players against wildlife crime

This video says about itself:

Catherine Spencer needs you. Are you ready to Endure?

5 September 2015

Catherine Spencer, former England women’s rugby captain turned adventurer & entrepreneur is embarking on the Endure 6 Skeleton Coast Expedition in November 2015. She will be leading ‘Team Snow Leopard‘ on a 150km trek across the Namib Desert to the Skeleton Coast to raise awareness and stop the illegal trade of wild animals in support of The Endure Foundation.

Catherine is looking for adventurers to join her team, if you’re interested in finding out more please visit here.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rugby aces Ollie Phillips and Catherine Spencer to take on desert challenge to raise awareness of the illegal wildlife trade

Rugby stars Ollie Phillips (former England 7’s Rugby Captain) and Catherine Spencer (former Women’s England Rugby Captain) are taking on the Endure 6 Skeleton Coast Expedition this November to raise awareness and help stop the illegal trade of wild animals.

The expedition is a 150km unsupported trek from the hinterland across the Namib Desert finishing ten days later at the Skeleton Coast in support of The Endure Foundation and its six charity partners. One of those charity partners is the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, who fund a range of innovative, vital and far reaching projects throughout Africa and Asia to achieve real results for endangered wildlife.

Ollie will be leading ‘Team Elephant’ and Catherine will lead ‘Team Snow Leopard’ and the expedition will be filmed and follow the teams on their journey to form a documentary to raise awareness and help stop the illegal trade of wild animals in partnership with DSWF.

Both Ollie and Catherine are looking for motivated team members to join them on this arduous expedition. They will be involved in the planning of the expedition and will face everything from searing heat and sand storms to wild animals and coastal fog.

Ollie Phillips said “I’m thrilled to be leading a team on this expedition. The desert is a completely new terrain for myself and Catherine. We’re looking for people from all walks of life to join our teams to raise awareness for some of the world’s most endangered animals.”

DSWF CEO, Sally Case added: “It is incredible that anything survives in the harsh conditions of much of Namibia’s terrain. That a species like the rhino has evolved and adapted to survive in desert conditions is testament to a species determined to survive. With the teams drawing inspiration from the indomitable spirit of the Namibian black rhino we are sure that this will be the challenge of a lifetime.”

Mammoth ancestor discovery in Namibia


This picture, like the others in this blog post, is by German artist Heinrich Harder (1858-1935). It depicts Moeritherium, one of the earliest species, ancestral to present day elephants.


This picture shows Palaeomastodon, which lived later than Moeritherium: about 36 million years ago.


Still later came Deinotherium, looking more like present day elephants; though its tusks pointed downwards.

Before elephant evolution led to the woolly mammoths of about 100,000 years ago, ancestors of these mammoths lived in Africa. They were Mammuthus subplanifrons. Ever since the 1920s, only a few small fossils of this species had been found.

Recently, Dutch paleontologist Dick Mol found an almost complete skeleton of such a fossil ancestor, 3-4 million years old, in Etosha national park in Namibia. Later, Mr Mol says, mammoths left Africa for Eurasia; and humans went along with them.

This video is called Hunting for Woolly Mammoths Documentary.

Yesterday, in Amsterdam, the exhibition Giants of the Ice Age, on mammoths and similar animals, started.

Giraffes helped by photographers

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

From Wildlife Extra:

Citizen science project launched to help the world’s giraffes

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with the support of the Polytechnic of Namibia has launched a project to develop an online citizen science platform for giraffes. is an easy to use web-based application that allows people to upload their photos of giraffes they have seen, together with the location where the image was taken and any other valuable information they can supply to help in conservation efforts, such as herd size, sex and age class of the giraffe.

With the help of, GCF will be able to improve its understanding of giraffe ranges, distribution, numbers and ultimately the various species of giraffes’ conservation status across Africa.

At the same time, the charity hopes that the project will also engage people and raise awareness of the plight of giraffes in the wild.

15 years ago there were 140,000 giraffes in Africa. Today there are 80,000: here.

New elephant shrew species discovery in Namibia

This video from East Africa says about itself:

Elephant Shrew, Macroscelidea order, eats ants termites worms and makes paths to dash from when a threat appears. Although diurnal they are seldom seen.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

New species of mouse-like creature with ‘elephant trunk’ discovered

A mouse-like creature with an elephant’s “trunk” has been discovered in a remote desert in Namibia.

The new species is known as an “elephant shrew” and is a type of round-eared sengi.

The tiny creature is the smallest known member of the sengi family with a body just 9cm long and despite its size, is more closely related to elephants, manatees and aardvarks than to shrews.

It was discovered by researchers from the California Academy of Sciences during research on their cousins in southwestern Africa.

Dr Jack Dumbacher and colleague Dr Galen Rathbun noticed that one animal differed from any they had seen before, being smaller, with rust-coloured fur and a new hairless gland underneath its tail.

Genetic analysis confirmed that they had discovered a new species and their findings will be published in the Journal of Mammology.

It is the third new species of sengi discovered in the wild in the past decade.

Dr Dumbacher, the Academy’s curator of ornithology and mammalogy, thanked colleagues for collecting “invaluable” specimens that allowed them to discover the difference.

He added: “Genetically, Macroscelides micus is very different from other members of the genus and it’s exciting to think that there are still small areas of the world where even the mammal fauna is unknown and waiting to be explored.”

Found on the inland edge of the Namib Desert at the base of the Etendeka Plateau, scientists believe the creature went undescribed for so long because of the challenges of doing scientific research in such an isolated area.

Yet it is the isolation and unique environmental conditions of the region that have given rise to the sengi and other unique organisms.

An Etendeka round-eared sengi has been added to the Namib Desert exhibit in the Academy’s natural history museum.

It joins a replica of Welwitschia mirabilis, an ancient plant also native to the Namib Desert that can live for up to 2,500 years.

See also here.