A large green parrot with a yellow-brown head, the Cape parrot could be mistaken for a green-and-gold Springbok supporter. However, these birds live in evergreen forests far from rugby stadia. Once common, they are making fewer and fewer appearances in general these days and are fast becoming the most endangered parrots in the world.
Cape parrots occur only in South Africa and, due to increasing development and declining numbers of the yellowwood trees in which they feed and breed, they are seriously threatened. On top of reduced habitat, the birds are also suffering from a beak-and-feather disease, potent enough to wipe out the remaining 800 breeding pairs. The birds fly long distances daily to reach fruiting trees inside and around the forests, making it difficult for the disease to be contained. Cape parrots are an example of how animals can become threatened with extinction through human interference and how humans are in fact their only hope of survival.
Cycling for cleaner air
Most cities in Asia have toxic air pollution levels way above acceptable world heath standards. The Cleaner Air Initiative is fighting the battle and winning in small ways. Vietnam and India are some of the places where the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI–Asia) has been rolled out since its establishment in 2001. Its mission is to promote better air quality in cities by translating environmental knowledge to policies and actions that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and high-polluting industries.
A recent study found that elderly people with cardio-pulmonary and other chronic illnesses were especially vulnerable and tended to die prematurely when their conditions were exacerbated by bad air. There is also a worsening of asthma among children and evidence of low birth weight as a result of air pollution. These reasons, along with the rising price in Asia of fuel, have influenced the popularity of electric bikes to reduce emissions but still provide efficient transport means.
Johann is our favourite resident game ranger, not only does he offer us a peek into the workings of the bush but he also shows it to us from the perspective of the animals, insects and plants. This week we peer into the world of tortoises and terrapins.
This week we delve into the world of macro photography. In the bush, the things you can be absolutely sure to find are the creepy-crawlies. Maurice and Villiers get down on their hands and knees and show us their top tips for capturing, on camera, the littler things in life.
Our viewers have diligently collected excellent entries over the Christmas break and we’re reaping a harvest of fantastic wildlife photos and videos. Spotted predators perform extraordinary stunts, darters reveal new behaviour techniques for drying off and we look through a window into the private life of a pair of barn owls.