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Natural history

24 Hours in Paradise: A Game Count in Zimbabwe

I’m tired but happy. I’ve counted 14 different species and there are literally hundreds of animals spread out before me, cropping the fresh emerald grass that is sprouting through the black ash left by a veld fire that tore through here a week ago. Zebras are braying everywhere and between the jostling herds are rare …

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My Life with Leopards

On May 31, 1993, two 6-week-old leopard cubs were brought to the Londolozi Game Reserve, a private reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. In charge of the cubs was Graham Cooke, a 22-year-old old game ranger who had been working at the reserve since 1988. The intention was to rehabilitate the cubs back into the …

Natural history

The legend of the Mapogo lions

“Legend” – A person whose fame or notoriety makes him a source of exaggerated or romanticised tales or exploits.  ‘Legend’ is a word that is thrown around all too often in this day and age, but the term surmises the reign of the Mapogo lions in the Sabi Sands to perfection.  For the last six …

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Young mountain gorillas destroy poachers’ snares

Today in Rwanda, field staff of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund observed several young gorillas from Kuryama’s group destroying snares set by poachers! “We knew that gorillas do this but all of the reported cases in the past were carried out by adult gorillas, mostly silverbacks,” said Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Karisoke Research Center. “Today, two …

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Caracals count too: mesopredator research in the Cederberg

On a recent trip to the Cederberg with my 9-year-old son, I arranged to meet a young researcher working for the Cape Leopard Trust. I was keen to chat to her about the work of the CLT in the area, and to try and expose my son to the blood, sweat, mud and tears side …

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Gorilla trekking in gumboots

Crossing into the Congo wasn’t the most comfortable experience we’ve ever had but it was an awe-inspiring adventure to go and meet the majestic mountain gorillas, making a childhood dream come true for Marcus. Bouncing around in the back of a safari truck, we wound our way through fertile farmland and villages with grass-thatched huts …

People

The Boy with the Sapphire Eyes

The above image was recently submitted by Vanessa Bristow, who called it ‘The Boy with the Sapphire Eyes’. Within minutes of posting this magical picture, there was an enormous flood of comment and feedback. Amongst much of the rumpus was a fair degree of suspicion, doubting and downright slander about the picture’s authenticity. Swoops of …

Natural history

Rare spotless cheetah sighted in Kenya

Armed with a spotter plane made by the Israeli army (and coincidentally called Cheetah), a radio and a LandRover in hot pursuit, wildlife artist Guy Coombes went in search of the elusive ‘morph’ cheetah. “I was told about this incredible ‘morph’ phenomenon that has not been seen for over 90 years…the last one recorded was …

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Top 10 ways to protect Mountain Gorillas

By Molly Feltner The recent popular YouTube video showing a tourist being touched by wild mountain gorillas has captivated more than a million viewers and will likely inspire many travellers to book a trip to visit mountain gorillas themselves. For those of you looking to make a positive impact on mountain gorilla conservation, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary …

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Recycling Optimism

PLASTIC. Around the world 300 million tonnes of the stuff is produced every year with 7 million tonnes “drifting” into our oceans. At present, in the North Pacific there is a plastic island the size of South Africa floating around. How much is recycled in a year? Only 4% of all plastics, around the world …