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.