Africa GeographicDecoding Science

How cheetahs modify prey handling behaviour to outsmart lions and hyenas

Cheetahs in the Serengeti National Park change their behaviour when handling large kills based on the threats present by lions and hyenas, according to researchers.

Terminally ill Vietnamese find comfort in rhino horn

A recent study has revealed that the reasons why the Vietnamese buy illegal rhino horn is not only for medical and health-related reasons, but also as a form of comfort to those that are terminally ill.

9 Fascinating facts about black-footed cats

Here are 9 facts about the smallest species of wild cat in Africa, the black-footed cat – also known as the small-spotted cat.

Should businesses pay to use animals in their logos and marketing efforts?

Many charismatic species such as elephants, lions, tigers and pandas face the threat of extinction, despite being held up as the poster characters for conservation.

Impalas cry wolf, so say zebras!

It turns out that impalas are the drama queens of the African bushveld, and other species know it, and don’t take their predator alarm calls too seriously.

Video: Eland to the rescue for the endangered Cape Flats vegetation

The Gantouw Project aims to restore eland on the remaining natural areas on the Cape Flats in South Africa.

Wild grey parrot trapping methods are ruinous, says new research

A research paper has investigated how different capture methods and other aspects of the grey parrot trade, other than just the actual volume of birds taken from the wild, can affect sustainability of harvest.

15 Lion facts you need to know

The African lion (Panthera leo) was once described in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) as “the fiercest and most magnanimous of the four footed beasts”. This definitely rings true with these magnificent felines! It is quite clear that lions are fascinating creatures, and here we get to know them a bit better by looking at 15 facts about them.

5 Curious facts about the dik-dik

Here are five curious facts about dik-diks that make them an exciting case for evolutionary study.

Africa comes out tops in megafauna conservation survey

Safari tourism instrumental as African countries dominate as best worldwide in large mammal conservation, according to study.

7 Reasons to love the shoebill

The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) looks like a bird that belongs in the prehistoric age. Found in the marshes of East Africa, the shoebill is classified as vulnerable and is a bucket-list sighting for any avid birder. Here are seven reasons to love this big bird.

Hunting causes life-threatening build-up of toxic lead in vultures

Research in Botswana has revealed that fragments of lead from recreational hunter ammunition are finding their way into vulture bloodstreams, and represent a significant threat to these critically endangered scavengers.

Lion bone trade: New report reveals South African government’s role

A new report has highlighted the South African government’s role in the bloody, commercial lion body part trade.

5 Facts you did not know about African wild dogs

Many will know that Africa’s wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) require vast areas to roam, hunt cooperatively to run down their prey and regurgitate food for pups and other pack members. But there are other remarkable facts about these beautiful animals that perhaps you didn’t know.

Research: Are there too many elephants in Botswana?

Botswana’s researchers contribute to the debate surrounding large elephant populations and their impact on the environment in southern Africa.

11 Leopard facts you need to know

The African leopard is an elegant and powerfully-built predator. It is the most secretive and elusive big cat, and arguably one of the most beautiful members of the entire Panthera genus. Here are 11 facts about the leopard you need to know.

Could naked mole-rats live forever?

Naked mole-rats are weirdly spectacular – they are bare-skinned, wrinkly and buck-toothed, and they live in large underground colonies in East Africa where only the queen breeds, with a few selected males. Even more spectacular is that research has shown that naked mole-rats do not age in the same manner as other mammals, and in fact show little to no signs of ageing, and their risk of death does not increase with age.

17 Elephant facts you need to know

The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the largest land mammal in the world and one of nature’s great ecosystem engineers, being a major contributor to maintaining the balance between wooded and grass ecosystems. Here are 17 fascinating facts that you need to know.

Can elephants run, or do they just walk faster?

A fascinating study has revealed that although elephants can move at considerable pace, there is a question as to whether they can run.

7 Consequences of replacing wildlife with livestock

Seven interesting findings based around the impact on ecological processes and ecosystems of the ongoing extinction of native African herbivore species and the increase in livestock populations.

Zombie ants and the dark side of the Force

Zombie ants and mind-controlling fungus reveals the darker side of the insect world.

Kalahari lions: Research sheds light on population

Research has revealed that the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) straddling South Africa and Botswana is a stronghold for African lions.

Niassa suffers forest loss, but able to support elephants and lions

Niassa National Reserve CREDIT JEAN-BAPTISTE DEFFONTAINES (1)

A recent study states that Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique still has the potential to support tens of thousands of elephants and 1,000 lions, as the vast majority of the ecosystem is intact.

Wild dogs vote with sneezes

Scientists studying wild dogs in Botswana have found members of this endangered species use sneezes to vote on when the pack will move off and start hunting.

Japan’s ivory market must close down, according to study

With China announcing that it would shut down all ivory trade by the end of this year, concerns have been raised that Japan’s failure to prevent illegal ivory exports will undermine China’s prospective ban and the efforts to end the global trafficking of elephant tusks.

Pangolin trafficking: Research reveals new routes

A recent study has revealed that pangolin smugglers are constantly opening up new global trade routes every year to avoid law enforcement agencies.

Bees protect large trees from elephant impact

A study has found that hanging beehives containing African honeybees from the branches of marula trees protects these trees against elephant impact because the elephants avoid those trees.

Decoding Kruger’s ‘Elephant Management Plan’

The Kruger National Park is vast, at about 2 million hectares, and requires a thorough management strategy in order to ensure long term sustainability. Part of that strategy, The Elephant Management Plan – compiled by Kruger management and Scientific Service – is currently in force, and covers the period 2013 to 2022.

Bamboo lemurs on the brink, driven by climate change

What do China’s giant pandas and Madagascan bamboo lemurs have in common, aside from their precarious conservation status?

Mega-carnivore dinosaur footprints discovered

Kayentapus ambrokholohali - Scott Hartman

An international team of researchers from South Africa, UK, and Brazil have discovered massive footprints belonging to a carnivorous dinosaur that roamed Southern Africa 200 million years ago.

Elephant ivory and the Japanese hanko stamp

A row of hanko stamps in Japan

Hanko stamps are the Japanese version of a signature, used throughout Japan to sign deals and important documents, and are made out of a variety of materials, including elephant ivory.

Hippo teeth: Hong Kong trade threatens species in Africa

Hong Kong has always been regarded as the epicentre of the global wildlife trade. It appears however that this trade is not adequately controlled by authorities and may lead many species to the brink of extinction. Unfortunately many news headlines

Dragon-like sungazer lizard in danger

sungazer lizard, reptile

Sungazer – it sounds like a cool name for a dragon, and even though these rare lizards look like the mighty dragons from “Game of Thrones”, the fire of their soul may be burned out permanently.

Killing crop-raiding elephants won’t solve problem, say scientists

elephant, camera trap, wildlife, conservation

One of the most pressing and challenging issues currently facing African conservation is ensuring that wildlife and humans can coexist peacefully in the same area.

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