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Africa GeographicDecoding Science

African, Asian and forest elephants – what’s the difference?

Did you know that there are three species of elephants? We take a look at the differences between the African, Asian and forest elephant.

Hong Kong failing to tackle illegal wildlife trade – study

New study sheds light on illegal wildlife trade in Hong Kong – a high volume and lucrative black market business.

Turtles being ‘feminised’ by climate change, say scientists

Up to 93% of green turtle hatchlings could be female by 2100, as climate change causes “feminisation” of the species, new research suggests.

Understanding lion infanticide

Lion infanticide: A look into why lions kills their the offspring of their own species.

To end wildlife trafficking, engage with local communities – study

The international donor community and governments have invested heavily in fighting illegal wildlife trade, but so far, they haven’t succeeded in ending rhino poaching. New research from UCT shows that for these initiatives to succeed, local communities – many of which live in or near protected areas – need to be involved.

Spotting the underdog: Facts about spotted hyenas

Spotted hyenas are curious, inquisitive and fiercely intelligent. Here are a few intriguing facts about these complex creatures.

Scientists warn that the world’s wilderness areas are disappearing

Scientists reveal that just 23% of the world’s landmass can now be considered wilderness, with the rest lost to the direct effects of human activities.

Understanding elephant migration in the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area

What you should know about elephant migration in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park – the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area.

Video: Gorilla males who babysit have greater reproduction success

Research reveals that male gorillas have greater reproductive success if they spend more time taking care of kids.

Video: How cracks in an elephant’s skin keep it cool

An in-depth study of the African elephant’s wrinkly skin has revealed how its intricate design helps to keep the animal cool, protect them from parasites and prevent dehydration in their dry habitat.

Cannibal cobras

While Cape cobras are known to eat other snake species – up to a third of their diet – recorded instances of Cape cobras eating individuals of the same species has been extremely rare… until now, when researchers investigated and discovered how common and widespread cannibalism in cobras really is.

Oral vaccination protects Ethiopian wolves – Africa’s most endangered carnivore

Over the past month, a team from the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) implemented the first oral vaccination campaign to pre-empt outbreaks of rabies among Ethiopian wolves, the world’s most endangered canid, in their stronghold in the Bale Mountains of southern Ethiopia.

Researchers use “biological passport” to monitor whale sharks – Earth’s largest fish

A new study has revealed endangered whale sharks inhabit smaller geographical scales than previously documented, which suggests they may be at increased risk of local extinction if good conservation management is not in place.

Botswana’s zebra migration: Africa’s longest mammal migration

A study has revealed Africa’s longest land mammal migration. The migration of zebras that stretches from Namibia to Botswana.

Elephants migrate despite boundaries and borders

A new study from the Conservation Ecology Research Unit (CERU) at the University of Pretoria (UP) set out to unravel migration in the world’s largest terrestrial mammal: the savanna elephant.

The Extinction Business: Lion bone trade threatens world’s big cats

The Extinction Business: South Africa’s ‘Lion’ Bone Trade is an investigative report by EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading that reveals startling and alarming factors that have a significant negative impact on worldwide big cat conservation.

Costly communication: Heaviside’s dolphins risk being heard by eavesdropping killer whales

Research has found that the risky vocal behaviour of Heaviside’s dolphins put them at risk from killer whale attacks.

Illegal ivory sold openly across Europe – study

Illegal elephant ivory is being openly sold across the European Union, according to a report by the campaign group Avaaz.

Cheetah cub survival impacted by high-tourism areas

A study has found that high levels of tourism can have a negative impact on the rearing of cheetah cubs to independence.

Video: Processionary caterpillars

Processionary caterpillars are recognised by their behaviour of following each other head to tail in long, single file trails.

Gorillas, chimps and lemurs among species in danger of imminent mass extinction

The majority of primate species, including chimpanzees, gorillas and lemurs, are on the brink of extinction, and scientists fear that without a concerted global effort they will soon be gone for good.

Mysterious deaths of ancient baobabs leave scientists baffled

A new survey of baobab trees across several countries in southern Africa found that most of the oldest and largest of trees have died or significantly deteriorated in the last 12 years.

The black & white of African wildlife explained

Every now and then nature experiments by producing a black or white mutation of an animal or bird that is otherwise normally coloured. There is something magical about seeing a white lion, black leopard or ‘king’ cheetah in the wild, as if it were a spiritual shadow of the species, a form of higher being.

Forest hornbills being decimated in Ghana

Six out of eight Ghanaian forest hornbill species have shown significant population declines due to uncontrolled hunting, according to a long-term research project.

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 presented 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.

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Africa Geographic