Thursday, 22 June 2017

Help Save Rare Desert Elephants of Mali

Introduction :

The Republic of Mali which is situated in Western Africa is a Landlocked Country of over 1 Million Square Kilometres.

Vegetation ranges from "Desertification" in the Northern Half of the Country to Savannah Grasslands in the Southern Half of the Country.

The Climatic Conditions in the Northern Half of the country is "Scanty Rainfall". There is a Wet Season in the Southern Half of the Country which commences in June and ends in October.

The Dry Season from February to June is the Driest and Hottest Time of the Year with temperatures crossing 40 degrees celsius on a daily basis.

Elephants in West Africa :

African Elephants had a large range in Western Africa stretching from Coastal Forests in the Ivory Coast right to the heart of the Sahara Desert.

The Destruction caused by widespread poaching to Elephant Populations has been extremely shocking to say the least.

The Current Population of Desert Elephants in the Gourma Region of Mali stands at 300 and rapidly declining because of rampant poaching in 2015 which resulted in the untimely death of more than 50 Desert Elephants for their "Precious Tusks".

Desert Elephants of Mali's distant "Gourma Region" bordering the country of Burkina Faso also situated in West Africa is the northern most "Elephant Population" in existence since the total extermination of Mauritania's Elephants in the 1980's.

FYI -- Mauritania is a country based in West Africa.

Desert Elephants of Mali are the only remaining population of Elephants once found in plenty across the Sahel Region in West Africa.

Conclusion :

A French School Teacher by the name of Bruno La Marche did an extensive study of these Desert Elephants where he found that they lived in relative harmony with Nomadic Touareg Pastoralists.

Desert Elephants of Mali are "Unique Elephants" as they are highly adapted to the Harsh Desert Conditions. They can go for many days without water due to their unique adaptation of the Local Environment.

Note :

Let us take a stand right now against the rampant and widespread poaching of these Desert Pachyderms.

Credits :

Research Gate -- Ranging Behavior, Population Status, and Recent History of Desert Elephants of Mali.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Botswana -- The Land of Giants

Despite their large size, African Bush Elephants walk through the Bush in Botswana softly -- Animals that are highly intelligent as well as strong and gentle.

With its immense floodplains and extremely dry Kalahari Sands -- Northern Botswana is home to the biggest African Elephant Herds in the world.

Often at Sunset, one can watch Family Herds with their young calves making use of their trunks to swim across the mighty Chobe River.

The Dry Season from May to November induces large groups of African Elephants to get to the Chobe River for drinking and bathing. They come in such immense numbers that it gives wildlife tourists to see these Pachyderms in a variety of ways -- namely in the water, on land, and up close and personal.

Adult African Elephants eat at least 140 Kilos of Grass, Fruits, and Vegetables found in the wild.

They drink up to 220 Litres of water every day.

But, what is the best thing to watch in Chobe National Park and in the adjoining Okavango Delta is Elephants taking a Mud Bath. This Mud Bath not only cools down the elephant when it is extremely warm but keeps nagging parasites away.

In Northern Botswana -- One can see various sex segregated herds of elephants like Herds led by Grandmothers and Bachelor Herds led ably by Patriarch Elephants.

Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, and Mashatu Game Reserve are some of the places in Botswana to see these amazing herds.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Snow Leopards -- Charismatic Felines of Russia's Altai Mountains

Introduction :

The Snow Leopard is so "Rare and Elusive" that its often known as a 'Ghost' that moves between Mountain Range and Mountain Range.

But, in the Altai Mountains in Southern Siberia one often comes across this Magnificent and Beautiful Big Cat Predator.

In Sailyugem National Park in Russia's Altai Republic -- Camera Traps that are sophisticated and modern are keeping track of these wild cats.

These Camera Traps are installed on Ridges where these beautiful cats can often be seen travelling for prey such as Ibex and Musk Deer.

In Sailyugem National Park, Snow Leopards are found in inaccessible and remote cliffs where winter temperatures can plunge to 45 degrees below zero.

Camera Traps help Scientists and Biologists identify single snow leopards from their unique system of Rosettes on their grey fur.

The Snow Leopard is venerated as an animal sent by God by the simple people of the Altai Republic.

Snow Leopard Paintings and Engravings can be found all over the mountainous areas of the Altai Republic.

In Russia, an estimated 70-90 Snow Leopards are thought to exist in the wild specially in and around cliffs and ridges in Southern Siberia.

Snow Leopards live in remote parts of Russia untouched by Man and His Destructive Developer Ways.

Snow Leopards in Southern Siberia face a multitude of threats today.

The most important being 'Poaching' for their skins and bones which are most desired in Far East Traditional Medicine.

Zero Tolerance towards poaching of Snow Leopards must be observed.

Conclusion :

To ensure, a healthy population of Snow Leopards in Russia -- We must first ensure that they have a good "Prey Base" most notably Ibex, Musk Deer, and Argali.

These are Antelopes/Mountain Sheep/Mountain Goats that provide a regular meal for Snow Leopards -- "Rain or Shine".

Credits :

1) Russia's Rare Snow Leopards find protection in Camera Traps by Alec Luhn
       The Guardian Newspaper, March 2017

2)  Stunning Rare Footage reveals Elusive Snow Leopards
        National Geographic, April 2017

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Rare Big Cat Predators of the Northern Namibian Desert

Introduction :

Namibia is a Country situated in South -West Africa. It is a Hot and Dry Country which has a border with South Africa and Botswana respectively. Namibia has a number of Wildlife Parks and Game Reserves encompassing the Northern Namibian Desert -- A Place full of sand dunes and not much life.

Desert Lions are rare Big Cat Predators that live in the hostile Northern Namibian Desert and adjoining Skeleton Coast, an equally hostile and formidable habitat for any wild denizen.

Desert Lions were recorded living along the Skeleton Coast and Northern Namibian Desert in the early 20th Century. They were considered to be in plenty between the Kunene River and the Kuiseb River along regions and mountains that abut the coastline of Namibia.

In 1967, the formidable Skeleton Coast Region was declared a National Park and sightings of Desert Lions were recorded. In the early 1980's, Desert Lions were observed on Beaches along Namibia's Skeleton Coast feeding on Beached Whales and Seals.

Namibia's Unique and Rare Desert Lions live in the seemingly hostile Namibian Desert where Herbivorous Prey like Springbok and Oryx are not many.

However, over the past few decades the population of Springbok and Oryx has been growing albeit slowly.

Desert Lions get all the nutrition and water they want from the Herbivorous Prey that they hunt and kill.

In 1998, there were only 20 Desert Lions left in the wilds of the Northern Namibian Desert. Today, there are 125 left in the Namibian Desert.

This is thanks to Community Conservation Programs and the foresight of One Man -- Dr Philip Stander.

His Objective is simple. To increase the population of Desert Lions and to successfully monitor them through Satellite Technology. He considers the increase in Herbivorous Prey to be an equally important factor in Desert Lion Conservation.

Conclusion :

It is my Hope and Prayer that Desert Lions will exist for many more years to come in the Harsh Namibian Desert.

Credits :

1) Zambezi Safari and Travel Company -- Desert Lions of the Kaokoveld, Namibia.

2)  The Escape, Australia : On Namibia's Skeleton Coast a pride of rare desert lions is slowly growing by Tony Park November 27, 2015.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Clouded Leopards -- Beautiful Big Cat Predators of South Asia and South East Asia

Introduction :

Clouded Leopards are "Charismatic Felines" who are primarily found in Tropical and Sub - Tropical Rain Forests in North- East India and in some Forested Areas of North Bengal.

In India, Clouded Leopards are exclusively found in Dense Forested Areas in the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.

Clouded Leopards are elusive and are masters of the art of camouflage. They primarily live on trees and hunt only in the night. They are essentially "Arboreal".

That is to say, they spend all their time and sometimes when hunting for natural prey on Trees and on branches of trees.

In South - East Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in Tropical Rain Forests in Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia and in East and West Kalimantan in Indonesia.

A few Clouded Leopards are even found in Nepal.

Clouded Leopards are Beautiful Big Cat Predators because of their Greyish-Yellowish-Blackish Fur with Black Spots all across the Body.

Clouded Leopards found in South - East Asia are magnificent because of their Rich Black and Yellow Fur.

Eating Habits :

Since, Clouded Leopards live on trees for most of the day -- It has been documented by Wildlife Conservationists that these Clouded Leopards kill a wide range of Monkeys which they eat on a day to day basis.

They normally kill and eat Rhesus Macaque Monkeys who also live on trees and are thus easy victims as "Prey" for Clouded Leopards.

Other than this, it has been documented by Wildlife Biologists studying Clouded Leopards that Clouded Leopards are capable of killing and eating a variety of Deer Species most notably Hog Deer and Barking Deer.

Breeding Behaviour :

The Home Range of most Male Clouded Leopards seems to overlap with Female Clouded Leopards in several forested areas of South East Asia.

Breeding between Male and Female Clouded Leopards seems to be seasonal in South East Asia and in North East India's Forests.

The gestation period of Female Clouded Leopards seems to be 3 Months according to Wildlife Biologists that have studied them up, close, and personal.

The average size of a Clouded Leopard's Family of Young Ones seems to be between 3-5 young cubs.

Male and Female Clouded Leopards are sexually mature when they are 2-3 years of age.

Conclusion :

Clouded Leopards today are threatened by Poaching and Deforestation all over their range.

The Skin and Bones of Clouded Leopards are in much demand in Illegal Markets that thrive in South East Asia.

Let us take a stand right now to save these Beautiful Big Cat Predators of South East Asia and North - East India.

Credits and References :

Wikipedia on the Clouded Leopard

Friday, 26 May 2017

Ian Khama -- My Role Model and Hero in Life

It has to be said right here and now that Botswana is blessed to have Ian Khama as its President.

Ian Khama is the best Conservationist minded President Botswana has ever had.

Africa is a Blessed Continent to have a "First Class Statesman" in Ian Khama.

A Little about him now :

Ian Khama was educated in the United Kingdom completely and graduated from Sandhurst Military School -- A Prestigious Institute in the United Kingdom.

Some years ago, Ian Khama returned to Botswana to head its armed forces. He has been twice elected and voted in as the President of Botswana by the people of Botswana.

Ian Khama is deeply concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of various wild denizens in Botswana but specially Vast Elephant Herds, White Rhinos, and last but not the least Cheetahs.

To protect them, He instituted and created the Botswana Defence Force or BDF in short to protect wildlife effectively in Botswana.

Ian Khama lastly is also concerned about the economic prosperity of Botswana, namely its Diamond Mining Business and Beef Export Business.

It is due to him that Botswana is an Upper Middle Level Income Country.

I like him a lot as He is a "Strict Disciplinarian". 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Okavango Delta -- A Haven and a Magnet for Wildlife

Introduction :

Unlike other sweet water rivers in Africa, the Okavango does not enter any ocean on its 1,000 KM plus journey from its source in the Mountains of Angola to where it spills all over into a vast wetland like region further in the interior of Northern Botswana.

Around 90 % of the waters in the Okavango Delta, evaporate and are continuously replaced by annual rainy weather in the Angolan Mountains and also much further south in Botswana.

The Delta's Wetlands spread over 28,000 square kilometres all in the heart of the extremely hot and dry Kalahari Desert.

The annual floods which occur when it is dry in the Okavango Delta attract wild denizens from far and close specially migrating Savannah Bush Elephant Herds and various herds of Zebra from neighbouring African Countries which share a border with Botswana.

From what is happening at the Okavango Delta Year in and Year Out -- countless species of animals depend on this water source.

The various channels and islands that comprise the vast Okavango Delta are a veritable stronghold of Wild Denizens specially Mammals.

The large patchwork of islands, channels, and Floodplains of the Okavango Delta are a seasonal refuge for thousands and thousands of Elephants, Buffaloes, Wildebeests, and various kinds of Antelopes.

The Okavango Delta was recently named as an outstanding World Heritage Site. This is a great achievement for Botswana's Natural History.

The Okavango Delta is truly one of the last sanctuaries for Mammalian Wildlife on the African Continent.

It is quite usual to see Giraffes dashing between islands in the Okavango Delta as is the case with Herds of Wild Buffaloes.

It is important to state here that the waterways, lagoons, and islands that comprise the Okavango Delta are a perfect habitat for large groups of Hippos.

Moremi Game Reserve which comprises 40 % of the Okavango Delta is home to the Big Five -- namely Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, and Buffalo.

Rhinos in particular are making their presence felt in the Okavango Delta.