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RIGHT NOW, I am loving it in Botswana’s spectacular Khwai Private Reserve – hosting our 2021 Photographer of the Year winners. This is my first international foray since Covid descended on us all, and it’s good to be back in the saddle.
I have always enjoyed excellent wild dog encounters in Khwai (both the private reserve and community concession) and look forward to the same thrill on this safari. Mostly though, I will be kicking back and enveloping myself in the heady aroma of wild sage, the soothing motion of a mokoro sliding along water channels, and the early morning avian chorus.
I will also be checking out new lodges on behalf of our travel desk and being re-acquainted with others – stand by for my thoughts.
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Scientific Editor
The microbiological world is a battlefield. Everyday, our immune systems face down microscopic invaders and every now and again, something slips past our defences. Of the seven and a half billion people on the planet, scientists believe that at least two billion are infected with a microscopic protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. Luckily, most healthy adults are asymptomatic. Now, new research shows that this same parasite alters hyena cub behaviour – often with fatal consequences. Could this parasite be programming its hosts to sacrifice themselves? Read our second story to find out and then perhaps go and clean out your cat’s litterbox.
From our Editor-in-Chief
I was jogging through a reserve last weekend as dawn broke. Giraffe watched, their jaws chewing the night’s cud and a herd of wildebeest scattered into the woodland at the sight of my (less than impressive) human physique. The rhythm of my footfalls, combined with a burgeoning hangover, conjured a song in my mind. ‘There is enough’ croons Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, ‘for everyone.’. My thoughts drifted to trophy hunting – I try and keep an open mind to it. I know it funds conservation. But the Oil’s lyrics kept repeating ‘there is enough’.
If people can afford to come to Africa to destroy elephants, lions and leopards (as our first story below refers) and often because they claim to love nature, why not just donate the money to conservation? Why the need to hold swathes of land to ransom by refusing to conserve it unless they can kill something and extract it? How is that love? ‘I love you so much that I must shoot you and hang you above my mantlepiece. This is how I express my profound love.’
I have descended from my soapbox now to tell you to sit back and dream of the bizarre, wacky and wonderful world that is Madagascar in our third story below. This is the first of a four-part series on Madagascar, and it takes you on a journey to the northern reaches of the magical island.
If you haven’t joined the AG Club yet, then you can do so here. You could join in wonderful forum discussions created by club members such as guide Greg Lederle who wrote a thought-provoking post on naming wildlife after human beings (see our fourth story below).
70 LEOPARDS TO BE HUNTED
Leopard trophy hunting – the Botswana government has allocated a quota of 70 leopards for 2022. Is this sustainable?
Hyena cubs ‘self-sacrifice’ by recklessly approaching lions if infected by a microscopic parasite
Magical Northern Madagascar! Biodiversity wonderland of lemurs, rainforests, azure lagoons and palm-fringed beaches
OFFENSIVE WILDLIFE NAMES
Are some wildlife names offensive? Join the discussion. Club members only
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
• The best special offer right now! The crazy price is due to low tourism volumes. For African country residents and citizens only. Until 19 December 2021. 7 days in luxury lodges in the Okavango Delta for R39,000 pps.
• Dreaming of a beach holiday? Seychelles has eased Covid restrictions and is now accepting travellers from all countries except Brazil, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cote D’Ivoire & Guinea.
• How do you know which accommodation type is the right fit for your safari? Understanding accommodation types.
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