How much water should safari lodges be using? The lowering of groundwater levels could compromise the ecosystem and wildlife.
Category Archives: Natural history
Selous be dam(n)ed
Selous is facing changes – from increased conservation status to a huge hydro-electric dam being built on the pristine Rufiji River
Africa’s Wild Dogs – A Survival Story
Africa’s Wild Dogs – A Survival Story is a photographic book celebrating these charismatic predators and telling their story
Elephants & cattle – restoring soil nutrient levels
Research shows that elephants can assist farmers by restoring soil nutrient levels when cattle have depleted those nutrients
Donkey smugglers profit off wildlife trafficking routes
Cross-border donkey smugglers in Zimbabwe and Botswana are operating pipelines used for ivory, pangolins and Covid-19 contraband
Cyanobacteria to blame for elephant deaths – Botswana officials
Elephant deaths: The sudden deaths of over 300 elephants in Botswana were caused by cyanotoxins produced by blue-green algae, say officials
Swimming blind – why critically endangered blind cave catfish needs research
The blind cave catfish, only found in a cave in Namibia, lives in total darkness. It is one of the rarest freshwater fish species in the world
FOSSA: 5 fascinating facts
The fossa of Madagascar has the predatory skills of mongooses and civets – acrobatic and lightning-fast – and the strength of a cat
The importance of adult male elephants
The selective harvesting of old bull elephants damages broader elephant society because of the important role played by the bulls – research
Why are elephants dying in Zimbabwe and Botswana?
Elephants dying: Professor Keith Somerville investigates the mysterious deaths of more than 300 elephants in Zimbabwe and Botswana
Wild dogs facing increased persecution in Eastern Namibia
Wild dogs face increased persecution, as evidenced by this puppy carcass found on a road – likely the victim of an intentional killing
Trophy hunting quotas for South Africa in 2020: leopards, elephants and lion bone exports
Trophy hunting quotas for South Africa in 2020: leopards, elephants and lion bone exports – announcements by Minister Barbara Creecy
“Lost” species of elephant shrew alive and well
Researchers have rediscovered the Somali Sengi (an elephant shrew) – which was thought to be extinct and was last seen nearly 50 years ago
Domestic cat predation on wild animals in Cape Town
The domestic cat is a honed killing machine whose impact on biodiversity in South Africa is only now being fully revealed
Counting lions: new study shows the importance of good counts for lion conservation
Counting lions using correct techniques is vital to understand how many lions there are. Historical surveys have not resulted in good data
The zebra is a firm favourite among safari-goers because of their dazzling black and white stripes and familiar horse body language
Keeping an eye on predators
Attacks on livestock by wild predators is a common problem in Africa – and scientists say that painting eyes on cattle backsides could help
Are Namibia’s carnivores at risk? Calling on citizen scientists
Namibia is conducting an assessment of its carnivores and you can help by using an app to report your sightings as a citizen scientist
Bwindi is the fairy-tale forest we dreamed about as children; it is also where you can meet and spend time with gentle mountain gorillas
“Living dead” – elephants in Kruger NP are sterilizing palm trees, says research
Elephants feeding on fan palm trees are preventing the palms from reaching full size & reproductive potential in Kruger NP, says new study
Lion trophy hunting – we interview Craig Packer
We interview researcher and conservationist Craig Packer about lion trophy hunting – with a focus on Tanzania, his former home
The sitatunga is Africa’s only amphibious antelope; specially adapted to their habitat by virtue of elongated, widely splayed hooves
Tiny primate: new species of mouse lemur discovered
Scientists have discovered a new species of mouse lemur in Madagascar – which is already threatened by habitat loss & climate change
Roan antelope conservation challenges
Roan antelope populations have dropped to perilously low levels, and there is every chance they could disappear from the areas such as Kruger National Park
Will legal international rhino horn trade save wild rhino populations?
Will legal international rhino horn trade save the wild rhino population? Find out here in this thought-provoking opinion post
It’s not about the worm
Mopane worms are a popular source of protein and delicious snack for rural people in Limpopo – read about a sustainable Kruger harvest program
Aardvarks and climate change
Aardvarks are being severely impacted by climate change, says research being conducted in arid areas where temperatures are expected to rise
Buffalo – Godfather of the African bushveld
The African buffalo has earned itself something of a reputation – particularly the cantankerous old ‘dagga boys’. Learn more here
Rhino poaching stats 2020 – more shades of grey
Rhino poaching for 2020 is lower because of the COVID-19 lockdown – although SA Minister claims the victory for her team
A plane full of hyenas
Four spotted hyenas completed a journey of over 1 400 km to Zinave National Park, Mozambique – after decades of no carnivores in the park
8 Cheetah cubs rescued in Somaliland – destined for illegal pet trade
8 cheetah cubs rescued in Somaliland during three operations – they were destined for the illegal pet trade that continues despite Covid-19
Human impact results in leopard inbreeding – research
Human activity is affecting negatively on leopard populations – via changes in age, sex & social structure of leopard populations – research
Declining Dynasties: Painted Wolf Pressures
Some say that the painted wolf (African wild dog) population in Mana Pools is the lowest in a decade. Why is this and how can we help?
Trophy hunting ban could harm conservation on private fenced farms in South Africa – says study
Trophy hunting on many private fenced farms in South Africa – this study examines the impact that a ban could have on biodiversity
Chameleons – 6 must-know facts
Chameleons are unique, weird & wonderful – changing their skin colour & shooting their tongues out to reach 100 km/hr in 1/100 of a second !
Rinderpest is a deadly virus that devastated livestock & African wildlife species in the late 19th century – the impacts are still felt today
Cheetah brothers go on international walkabout
A cheetah brother coalition has attracted the attention of researchers as they journey across international borders in search of territory
Rescued pangolins given a rare second chance
Seven rescued pangolins rehabilitated and moved to a new home that is secure and ready to once again play host to pangolins
The real economic value of Greater Kruger National Park
A 2020 study has revealed the considerable economic, social and political contributions of the Greater Kruger National Park
Lion cubs to bones – we interview Lord Ashcroft about ‘UNFAIR GAME’
We spoke to Lord Ashcroft about his book UNFAIR GAME – a must-read exposé of South Africa’s morally bankrupt captive lion breeding industry
Leopards: silent, secretive and full of surprises
Leopards: These breathtakingly beautiful, charismatic, powerful & mysterious creatures are the top request on safari. Learn about them here.
Botswana elephant graveyard: mystery death toll rises to 400
What we know about elephants dying under mysterious circumstances near the northern Botswana village of Seronga, north of the Okavango Delta
Botswana’s zebra migrations
Botswana hosts two zebra migrations, one of which is the longest mammal migration in Africa. The zebras travel in search of water and grazing
Can CITES be fixed? Practical suggestions that make sense are being ignored
CITES is failing to protect species from too much international trade. Here are some practical solutions to CITES problems
The rat with a deadly secret
Deadly secret: the crested rat transfers poison from the bark & leaves of a highly toxic tree to its fur as a predator-evasion strategy
POACHED: Silverback mountain gorilla Rafiki killed – big blow for conservation tourism
Rafiki, one of Uganda’s most loved mountain gorilla silverbacks, has been killed by poachers in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
An elephant named Fortunate has his research collar removed
Mining, research collars and how an elephant named Fortunate played a crucial part in ongoing research to save the species
Lion evolution according to genome sequencing
Scientists have used genome sequencing of lions to reveal the evolutionary history of living & extinct lion species.
20mm pygmy seahorse discovered in South Africa
A divemaster has discovered a new species of pygmy seahorse in a sandy coral reef in Sodwana Bay, South Africa, that is only 20 mm long.
The 10 cat species of Africa
Africa has 10 cat species, from the iconic lion and leopard to tiny secretive species that few people have seen or even heard of.
Why are rhinos important for ecosystems?
Learn about why rhinos are vital ecosystem engineers & why Africa’s wild places would never be the same again if rhinos were to disappear
Wildlife trade between South Africa and China exposed – legal and illegal
The vast scale of legal and illegal trade in wildlife species between South Africa and China – many of them CITES 1 species – has been revealed by an extensive report.
Forest elephant populations smaller than previously thought
Africa’s forest elephant populations are smaller than was previously thought, say researchers. This realisation has a significant impact on future priorities and conservation strategies.
The importance of bats
Bats are vital role-players for biodiversity & farm crops. It’s time for humankind to acknowledge & protect these hard-working mammals
Farming wild animals – is China the model for South Africa?
Farming wild animals is a big industry in South Africa but not near the Chinese scale. Should SA follow China’s lead, as it seems to be doing?
What’s in a (scientific) name?
The weird meanings behind animal scientific names – for example, the black rhino scientific name means ‘double horn double horn’
NEWSDESK: Blanket wildlife trade bans + SA venison market & zoonotic disease + call to halt big cat bone trade
Newsdesk: Blanket wildlife trade bans + SA venison market & zoonotic disease + call to halt big cat bone trade
>2,000 vultures now feared poisoned in Guinea-Bissau – largest mass mortality ever
Over 2,000 critically endangered hooded vultures have died across Guinea-Bissau of poisoning due to belief-based use.
Hyenas eat baby elephant while its mother watches helplessly – both elephants were stuck in mud
Hyenas eat baby elephant while its mother watches helplessly – both elephants were stuck in mud. WARNING: Some may find the images distressing.
Which African countries have the highest percentage of protected land?
We compare the proportion of each African country’s land that falls under some form of protected status – to assess their conservation ranking
Secretive forest species such as giant ground pangolins and Congo peafowl revealed by camera traps in DR Congo
Secretive forest species such as giant ground pangolin, Congo peafowl and cusimanse revealed by camera traps in DR Congo.
Elephant collaring in the Greater Kruger by Elephants Alive and Blue Sky Society Trust – a process driven by science and the need for data
Meet the lion coalitions & prides of the Greater Kruger
Meet the famous Mapogos and other celebrity lion coalitions of the Greater Kruger – the warriors, the courageous and the notorious.
American parrot breeder wants to import wild-caught African grey parrots for a captive breeding scheme for the pet trade
An American parrot breeder has applied to import wild-caught endangered African grey parrots into the United States of America
COVID-19: Will African governments now crackdown on illegal wildlife trade?
With COVID-19 killing people and wrecking economies, will African governments at last treat wildlife trade as a serious issue?
Poachers kill white giraffes in Kenya
The famous white giraffes of Kenya have been dealt a devastating blow, as 2 of the 3 are killed by poachers, leaving only a bull giraffe.
What exactly is CITES and how does it work?
CITES was established to regulate the international trade of animals & plants, to avoid the over-exploitation of endangered species
CITES processes are corrupt, says report
A report from TRAFFIC explains how corruption undermines the CITES-authorised trade in wildlife and offers suggestions as to how to mitigate its effects.
Newly discovered Taita Mountain dwarf galago (bushbaby) could already be on the brink of extinction
Newly-discovered species of bushbaby (galago) in Kenya’s Taita Hills is already on the verge of extinction due to habitat loss, say scientists
The spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is one of the world’s most misunderstood animals. Public perception often tends towards scorn and even outright hate – they are reviled as cowardly, thieving, dirty, ugly, lazy…the list goes on. These impressions are embedded in human history and public consciousness then reinforced by mainstream media and films. Fortunately, though, …
Leopard raids ground-hornbill nest
Video: a leopard raids a ground-hornbill nest in the Greater Kruger – yet another threat facing this threatened species
Elephant body language 101 – a guide for beginners
Elephant body language is a complex topic, yet there are a few simple clues and signals that explain elephant emotions and intentions
Baby elephants rescued – 11 incredible images
Baby elephants rescued from the mud in Mana Pools – the images tell the story. WARNING: Some may find the images stressful.
There’s a cheetah on the roof – when wildlife viewing crosses the line
How close is too close? Cheetahs regularly climb onto safari vehicles. Here is why this practice is unethical, dangerous and invasive.
Painted wolves (African wild dogs) released after rescue
Ten wild dogs have been released into a private game reserve near Kruger National Park after being rescued from intolerant landowners
Black honey badgers spotted in Gabon
4 Melanistic (black) honey badgers captured on a camera trap in Gabon.
Latest rhino poaching stats: shades of grey
Rhino poaching stats released by South African government do not tell the true story of how dire the situation is, say STROOP team
Baboon kidnaps lion cub
A baboon kidnapped a tiny lion cub in the Kruger National Park, and was seen grooming the dying cub in a large tree
Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife
People are not always to blame for loss of genetic diversity in wildlife, says new study.
Malaria is a parasitic disease that is usually spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. Prevention is better than cure, and we provide tips
Wildebeest migration routes under threat – researchers
Migratory routes of wildebeest in East Africa are under threat as human populations expand, say scientists.
Who is who? Elephant identification tips and tricks
This is how researchers in Greater Kruger identify individual elephants.
Saving the Northern White Rhino: Third Embryo Successfully Created
International scientists and Kenyan conservation authorities have successfully created the third viable embryo of the near-extinct northern white rhino. The global initiative has taken yet another step in the long journey to pull this subspecies back from the brink.
Communities delivering conservation impact & wildlife recoveries
Opinion: Communities are delivering significant conservation results equivalent to those of government parks and reserves.
Killifish – suspended animation & shortest lifespan of any animal with a backbone
The killifish is a survivor that scientists are desperate to learn from. Using suspended animation to survive being entombed in dry mud, combined with the shortest lifespan of any animal with a backbone, killifish could unlock secrets to human ageing.
Conservation needs diversified approaches – opinion
Scientists suggest alternative land-use models to trophy hunting – models that are more inclusive of local people.
Lion poaching: Escalating demand for claws and teeth
The escalating demand for lion teeth and claws in Asian markets is driving the increased poaching of wild lions, says report.
Another mass vulture poisoning raises alarm in South Africa
Yet another mass vulture poisoning raises alarm bells that deliberate poisoning of vultures for belief-based use is on the increase, say experts.
Elephant poaching decimates key Gabon reserve
Elephant population in Gabon’s Minkébé National Park have been decimated, with 25,000 being poached in 10 years (80% reduction), says research results.
Leopard hunting: CITES quotas not sustainable, say researchers
CITES trophy hunting quotas for leopards are arbitrary and not sustainable, says research. Read here to find what the 3 researchers recommend.
Millipedes – 10 facts that we find interesting
Giant African millipedes often have unusually brightly coloured legs and bodies.
Mountain gorilla population continues to rise
Great news! The population of mountain gorillas is on the rise, and now stands at an estimated 1,063 individuals.
Survival against the odds – 2 special elephants
The touching stories of two wild elephants whose struggle for survival will amaze (and humble) you, and provide a sense of perspective into the wonderful journey of life.
Collared elephant hunted in Botswana, tracking device destroyed
A large bull elephant carrying a research collar with a tracking device has been killed by trophy hunters in Botswana, and the tracking device destroyed.
Lions in Gorongosa show population increase
Lions in Gorongosa National Park (Mozambique) are benefitting from better conservation measures, and show a population increase to 146, the nature reserve announced on Wednesday.
The Return of Malawi’s Cheetahs
A total of 5,645 kilometres… That is 845 km more than the distance across the United States of America, 2,500 km further when travelling east to west across Australia, and 2,845 km more than the distance across South Africa. That distance does not even count all the little trips in between, including the time spent …
Critically endangered addax antelope to be reintroduced in Chad
The critically endangered addax antelope is to be brought back from the edge of extinction through reintroducing captive-bred species into the wild in Chad.
Using ‘chilli balls’ to reduce human-elephant conflict in Zambia
Crop-raiding elephants in Zambia are being deterred humanely through the use of ‘chilli balls’ which are fired at their rumps.
African grey parrots: How social media is facilitating both illegal trade and the fight against it
A recent study examines how social media marketplaces facilitate trafficking of endangered African grey parrots.