Animal News

Animal News

December 7, 2012. Sky News. Whale Rotting On Malibu Celebrities' Beach

A 40-foot whale carcass has washed ashore on one of Southern California's most pristine beaches and has begun to rot while authorities try to decide who should remove it.

The 40,000-pound (18,143kg) male fin whale washed up in Malibu on Monday, not far from homes owned by singers Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan.
Los Angeles County lifeguards had the idea of trying to pull the carcass out to sea but were unsure if they could manage the job.

County fire inspector Brian Riley said: "Our lifeguards think this probably exceeds our capabilities. You would need a tug boat to drag it out to sea."
In that case, the city was not sure who would do it, said spokeswoman Olivia Damavandi.
The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbours was not responsible for disposing of the whale because "it's on a private beach", said spokeswoman Carol Baker.

The beach is controlled by homeowners down to the high tide line; the state is responsible for the tidelands, she added.
The California Wildlife Centre examined the carcass on Tuesday and found a gash on the young whale's back and a damaged spine, indicating it may have been hit by a ship.
Such accidents have become more common as increasing numbers of migrating blue, fin and humpback whales swim to California's shore to feast on krill.
The endangered fin whale is the second-largest animal in the world and can grow up to 85 feet (26 metres), weigh up to 80 tons and live to be 90 years old.

December 6,  2012. BBC. Google cash buys drones to watch endangered species
Drones could soon be helping protect rhinos, tigers and elephants in Africa and Asia, thanks to cash from Google.

Controlled via a tablet computer, the small autonomous aircraft will photograph poachers and track animals via smart radio tags.

The World Wildlife Fund added the $5m (£3.1m) grant would also fund software that could map where poachers strike.

And it was developing a mobile DNA sampling kit to match body parts with animals.

The WWF said poaching and trafficking of body parts was having a devastating effect on the wild populations of some species, setting back decades long conservation efforts.

The past 12 months have seen a significant rise in attacks on some animals, such as rhinos.

In five years the number of rhinos killed in South Africa has risen from 13 to 588, according to statistics from Traffic, which monitors the trade in endangered animal parts.

WWF president Carter Roberts said: "We face an unprecedented poaching crisis. The killings are way up.

"We need solutions that are as sophisticated as the threats we face.

"This pushes the envelope in the fight against wildlife crime."

Google gave the WWF the cash as part of its Global Impact Award programme.

The first round of these awards handed out $23m (£14.2m) to seven separate organisations.

December 6, 2012. y MARIO LEDWITH.  Terribly injured elephant found bleeding to death after tusks, trunk and tail had been chopped off by poachers

Animal found in Assam region of India after suspected poacher attack
State's Forest Minister said it was a case of fighting between male elephants
Rhinos in a nearby park have also been attacked for their horns 

Lying in a pool of mud and slowly bleeding to death, this elephant is the latest victim of the rising global demand for ivory.
The helpless animal was discovered by locals in a paddy field in Kharmauza village, near Goalpara in India's Assam region.
In a brutal attack, thought to have been carried out by poachers, the animals tusks, trunk and tail were removed.

Eyewitnesses said that poachers had attacked the animal but that it was still alive, albeit in extreme pain.
A medical team has been tending to the elephant and a report on the incident will be submitted by the Chief Conservator of Forest within a day.

While locals were adamant that the attack was carried out by illegal poachers, the state's Forest Minster told NDTV that it was a case of two male elephants fighting.
The case bears similarities to attacks in the region's Kaziranga National Park, where rhinos have had their horns removed while still alive, before bleeding to death. 

Authorities said that automatic weapons had been used to kill the animals.
Poaching deaths have risen in recent years due to an increased demand for rhino horn and ivory in Asian countries.
India's location and array of wildlife makes it particularly susceptible to poachers who can easily export the goods.
An operation is currently ongoing in the nearby Karbi Anglong hills, in which several poachers have been arrested. The poachers are thought to have links with traders in Nagaland and Burma.

December 4,  2012. South Africa to use aircraft against rhino poachers

South Africa is to deploy a reconnaissance airplane to combat a massive rise in rhino poaching.

The plane will be equipped with surveillance equipment including thermal imaging to detect poachers.

It will patrol over the Kruger National Park, a vast reserve that borders Mozambique and home to two-thirds of South Africa's rhino population.

So far this year 588 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, in what is being called a "relentless onslaught".

That figure has risen from just 13 reported cases in 2007 as organised and well-armed crime syndicates target the animals.

South Africa is home to the world's largest rhino population - an estimated 18,000 white rhinos and 1,700 critically endangered black rhino.

The rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, even though there is no scientific proof of its effects. It sells for around $95,000 (£60,000) per kilo, almost twice the value of gold.

Rhino poaching in South Africa

2007: 13 reported cases

2008: 83 reported cases

2009: 122 reported cases

2010: 333 reported cases

2011: 448 reported cases

2012: 588 reported cases - to 4 Dec

Source: Traffic, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

The director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Jason Bell, said: "The killing of rhinos for their horns does not exist in a vacuum, but is a complex problem where values of tradition and culture have been corrupted in the name of commercial exploitation."

"Be it elephants and ivory, tigers and tiger parts, rhinos and rhino horn, the endpoint is the same - profit. And that profit is being chased down in the most brutal fashion by organised crime syndicates."

So far this year, South Africa has already armed some of its park rangers and deployed dog patrols to try and stop the poachers.

The surveillance airplane for the Kruger National Park was donated by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, whose chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said: "You have to fight fire with fire."

"This thermal imaging technology will deliver more powerful observation capability to the Kruger National Park's rangers, making it difficult for poachers to hide."

December 2,  2012. Sam Jones. Guardian. Crocodile attacks boy swimming in Australian river
Police searching for nine-year-old after country's second such attack in two weeks

Police are searching for a nine-year-old boy who was taken by a crocodile while swimming in a river in northern Australia.

The boy was grabbed by the animal as he swam with a group of people at Port Bradshaw, Northern Territory, on Saturday.

Although a group of adults tried to kill the 13ft-long crocodile with spears, it dragged the boy into deeper water and he has not been seen since.

The animal was spotted later on Saturday, but armed search parties were unable to shoot it dead.

"The crocodile was sighted a number of other times and two shots were fired in an attempt to kill it," Sergeant Alex Brennan of Nhulunbuy police told the Northern Territory News. "The crocodile's gone underwater and hasn't been seen since."

Police, parks and wildlife officers and rangers are continuing the search but are growing increasingly pessimistic about finding the boy alive. "It's close to 24 hours since the child went missing," Brennan said.

"At this stage there's been no sighting of the child, and we obviously hold grave concerns for his welfare."

Two weeks ago, a crocodile snatched a seven-year-old girl who was swimming at a remote waterhole in the Northern Territory. The crocodile was shot dead the next day and the girl's remains found inside.

In February last year, a 14-year-old boy was killed by a crocodile while swimming in a creek in the Northern Territory's aboriginal Milingimbi community, east of Darwin.

Both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles were hunted to near extinction in Australia, but have become plentiful in the tropical north since they became protected by federal law in 1971.

The Northern Territory is estimated to have more than 80,000 saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 7 metres (23ft) long and are the world's largest reptile. They are far more likely to attack humans than are the smaller freshwater crocodiles that also live in the region.

November 16, 2012. Associated Press in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong seizes $1.4m of illegal ivory
Customs officers in Hong Kong confiscate 569 pieces of illegal elephant ivory, their second major seizure of tusks in a month

Hong Kong customs officers have made their second major seizure of ivory in less than a month after confiscating more than a tonne of the elephant tusks worth $1.4m (£880,000).

Officers discovered 569 pieces of ivory on Thursday, weighing 1,330kg (2,930 lbs), in a container shipped to a Hong Kong port.

A search of a container from Tanzania yielded 45 bags of unprocessed tusks concealed in more than 400 bags of sunflower seeds, said Vincent Wong, a customs divisional commander.

The smugglers used an indirect route, shipping the ivory through Dubai and transferring it from one ship to another.

Hong Kong customs officers guard 45 bags of unprocessed ivory,
which had been concealed in more than 400 bags of sunflower seeds.
Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters
While the container's destination was listed as Hong Kong, officials believe the shipment was intended for another location but did not say where.

The discovery comes weeks after customs officers in Hong Kong made a record seizure of endangered species products, confiscating nearly 4 tonnes of African ivory worth $3.4m, which had been found in two containers.

Smugglers used plastic and beans to conceal the ivory. Wong said the smuggling incidents did not appear to be related.

Wildlife activists blame China's growing presence in Africa for an unprecedented surge in elephant poaching, with most of the tusks believed to be smuggled to China and Thailand to make ornaments.

Authorities are investigating the latest ivory haul. No arrests have been made.

November 14, 2012. The Washington Post. Baby panda born at San Diego Zoo is named after visitors vote on six choices
Visitors to the San Diego Zoo named this
 giant panda cub Xiao Liwu. Pic
San Diego Zoo’s “little gift” won’t stay little for long. The zoo’s giant panda cub was officially named Xiao Liwu (ZHEE-ow LEE-woo), Chinese for “little gift,” on Tuesday

The cub was born July 29 and was named 100 days after his birth, according to Chinese zoo tradition. Officials said he weighs 9.2 pounds and stretches more than 23 inches long from nose to tail. When fully grown, Xiao Liwu will probably weight about 250 pounds and be four to six feet long.

Zoo officials got 7,000 suggested names, chose their top six and put them up for a vote. More than 35,000 zoo visitors voted on names that meant Little Gift, Miracle, Raindrop, Big Ocean or Big Sea, Brave Son and Water Dragon.

The happy news is a little bittersweet for people in the Washington area. A panda cub born at the National Zoo on September 16 died six days later. So while it’s fun to see adorable photographs of Xiao Liwu, it’s hard not to think about what our panda would be like had she lived.

November 14, 2012.  Uganda Wildlife Authority.  Gorilla population Increases in Bwindi

Gorilla Mother and Baby - for an infant gorilla,
Mama is food, transport, and playground.
Pic by:Sarel Kromer.
The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities together with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) are pleased to announce a considerable increase in the mountain gorilla population in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) following a three-week census that was carried out in the park in September and October 2011.

The population of mountain gorillas has been confirmed to stand at a minimum of 400 according to results from the census that was carried out by UWA with assistance from the International Gorilla Conservation Program(IGCP),Institute for the Conservation of Nature(ICCN)in DRC and RDB from Rwanda.

Scientifically referred to as Gorilla beringei beringei, mountain gorillas live in families headed by a silverback which is the dominant male. However, gorilla families sometimes split up to form new entities especially when there is more than one silverback in a family.

The census results showed that currently there are 36 gorilla families in Bwindi and 16 solitary males. Of the 36 families,10 are habituated for tourism and research.

Following the two censuses carried out in the Virunga Massif and in Bwindi in 2011,it has been confirmed the world's population of mountain gorillas now stands at a total of 880 after census results showed in 2010 that there were 480 mountain gorillas in the Virunga massif which comprises Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda),Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda) and Virunga National Park (DRC),and now the 400 which has been confirmed in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which is entirely in Uganda.

This means that Uganda is host to more than half of the world's population of mountain gorillas.

The census methods have evolved over time and now we use the latest genetic technology combined field methods to get the most accurate result. This result confirms beyond reasonable doubt that Uganda's conservation efforts are paying off.

We would like to appreciate the technical support provided during the census by the International Gorilla Conservation Program(a coalition of the Africa Wildlife Foundation, Fauna and Flora International and WWF),the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Conservation Through Public Health, The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation, and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and the financial support extended by WWF-Sweden with supplemental support from Berggorilla & RegenwaldDirektilfee.V .,the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology .

The last census that was carried out in Bwindi in 2006showed that the total number of mountain gorillas was 340,while an earlier census that was carried out in 2002showed the population was 320.

The increase in the population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is testimony to the sound natural resource management policies that are being implemented in the protected areas.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is also one of the most popular tourism destinations in Africa.

I take this opportunity to heartily congratulate Ugandans and the global community upon this conservation success.

For God and My Country

Hon. Maria Mutagamba

Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities


Between 80 and 100 percent of livable habitat will disappear from a major panda enclave in China by the end of the 21st century.

Climate change is likely to decimate bamboo populations in an isolated region of China that serves as home for nearly 20 percent of the world’s wild giant pandas.

As a result, according to new projections, between 80 and 100 percent of livable panda habitat will disappear from the region in China’s Qinling Mountains by the end of the 21st century.

The new findings illustrate how environmental impacts can reverberate through the food web.

“Ninety-nine percent of food that pandas eat in the wild is bamboo,” said Jack Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “If there’s no bamboo, then pandas can’t survive.”

“I think probably there is hope, but only if we take active measures at once,” he added. “If we don’t, then probably not. It really depends on what we will do.”

With fewer than 1,600 individuals left living in the wild, giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world. But most panda-conservation research has focused on human impacts, said Liu, who has been studying pandas and their habitats for 17 years.

To find out what kind of influence climate change might have on the adorable fur-balls, he and colleagues zeroed in on the Qinling Mountains, which provides about a quarter of available habitat for wild pandas.

Using a wide range of climate models, the researchers projected likely changes in three main species of bamboo, which make up more than 90 percent of bamboo in the region. Bamboo plants are highly sensitive to temperature changes.

Under every scenario, the researchers report today in the journal Nature Climate Change, dramatic declines in bamboo would likely spell big trouble for pandas. Estimates for how much suitable habitat would disappear ranged from 80 to 100 percent, depending on the climate scenario used.

Despite the relatively large amount of panda habitat currently available in the Qinling Mountains, the region is isolated from other suitable habitats. That means that if their food source were to disappear, pandas that live there would have nowhere else to go. The region’s remoteness also makes it unlikely that new species of bamboo would be able to get their seeds there.

The results suggest that conservationists must consider climate change as well as human impacts when planning how best to protect pandas, Liu said. One possible solution would be to cultivate and plant heat-tolerant bamboo in the region.

But even if researchers find bamboo that will continue to grow with warming, said Stanford ecologist Terry Root, they’d also need to ensure that pandas could get sufficient nutrients from those plants. And that’s not necessarily a sure thing.

Because pandas are so charismatic and popular, Root added, they provide a poignant example of scenarios happening to all sorts of species all over the world.

“Most biologists think we’re standing on the edge of a mass extinction event,” she said. “If pandas can bring attention to that, it’s absolutely fantastic. This is a horrible thing to say, but I think this is a wonderful study because what it’s doing is showing us how we need to actually understand what we’re doing to the climate, because we’re not just doing it to the climate.”

Again and again, ecologists are documenting how changes to one species create domino effects that resonate through the rest of the ecosystem in unexpected ways.

“It’s going on all over the place, we just haven’t noticed it,” Root said. “Actually noticing it in an iconic species like the panda is super unfortunate, but maybe it will get people to understand what’s going

November 9, 2012Trace Dominguez. DNEWS NUGGET. BRAZIL TO CLONE 'AT RISK' ANIMALS

Brazil to Clone Endangered Animals: Why do we have to wait until something is extinct before we clone it? The government of Brazil has decided to clone "species at risk of going extinct," reports DVICE.

The candidates are black lion tamarins, maned wolves, and jaguars as well as a few others. The animals' DNA has been collected from dead specimens found in the wild over the last few years and "they now have over 400" samples, said DVICE.

While the clones will be used only in captivity, as their lack of genetic diversity will not ultimately benefit the species, the government of Brazil has said they would release some into the wild if "a species was 'at risk of total extinction.'" 

October 05, 2012. DR. Wolfgang H. Thome, ETN UGANDA. Kikwete at a loss to explain Serengeti Highway plans
(eTN) - While in Canada for an official state visit, Tanzania President Kikwete found himself in a tight spot, when challenged by the media over the hugely controversial Serengeti highway plans that his government had floated in 2010. The road would cut the migration route of the wildebeest towards the Kenyan Masai Mara, where his government has steadfastly refused to open the Bologonja border post, ostensibly to “keep the Kenyans out of the Serengeti.” Some weeks ago, conservationists blamed Tanzanian park officials to have deliberately created fires in the Serengeti to prevent the large herds from completing their annual migration to the Kenyan Masai Mara, a claim swiftly denied by SENAPA and TANAPA officials, though the fires were in itself not disputed, only the interpretation. With the case in court at the East African Court of Justice, where the Tanzanian government has failed to stop the case on a variety of grounds, the road plans have dented Tanzania’s credibility as a conservation nation, and added equally controversial projects on Lake Natron, the Coelacanth marine national park near Tanga. and uranium mining and a huge dam project in the Selous are only increasing the woes.

President Kikwete’s explanations sounded as weak as mitigating pleas normally do, especially as the alternate Southern route would reach 4 times as many people and would be financed by both the World Bank and the German government, offers, however, not accepted by the Tanzanian government up til now.

Critics claim that Kikwete was under pressure by contributors to his last campaign to deliver on promises allegedly made, connecting the Lake Natron flats and the mining concessions between the Serengeti and Lake Victoria to a major paved road, so that new mines could be opened and a soda ash factory established within the breeding grounds of the East African lesser flamingos.

To make matters worse, one of his self-styled mouth pieces, a Mr. Edward Porokwa, gave away the game when he openly spoke out against Kenyan cattle buyers who are allegedly cheating Tanzanian livestock sellers with artificially low prices for lack of alternate roads. Such talk is likely to negate President Kikwete’s goodwill visit three weeks ago to Kenya’s capital Nairobi, where he was attempting to court public opinion and dispel constant murmurs that Tanzania’s attitude to her neighbors was far from friendly – allegations supported by regular non-tariff barriers being slapped on Kenyan traders and businesses.

Comparisons by Porokwa with other highways crossing national parks were also considered a dismal failure in justifying the highway across the Serengeti, as in Mikumi National Park where the loss of game through road kills continues to be high and the recent experience with a new road in Kenya between Emali and Kimana also showed a sharp increase of game being run over by trucks, now that the road is paved.

The objections of the conservation fraternity remain, and the Tanzanian government has done little to absorb the wave of global opposition and seriously consider the Southern route alternative and President Kikwete’s performance was also all but a failure to convince the world that this particular route was needed for anything else but to please powerful economic interest groups at the expense of tourism and conservation.

September 18, 2012.  Apolinari Tairo, ETN Tanzania.  Spectacular wildebeest migration returns to Serengeti plains
TANZANIA (eTN) - Standing on the rooftops of their tourist vans with their cameras up, tourists from all corners of the world are now flocking to Tanzania’s leading Serengeti National Park to witness the return of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest from the other side of the park, the Maasai Mara.

Described as “Nature’s Greatest Show on Earth,” the great wildebeest migration has been the most remarkable tourist eye-catching specter that pulls thousands of tourists from across the world to witness this miracle of creation.

The early rains which started this month over the Serengeti plains, covering an area of 14,763 kilometers, changed the natural beauty of this famous African wildlife park into greenery, encouraging the wildebeest to cut short their holiday in Maasai Mara to feed on the plentiful grass back home.

Reports from Tanzania National Parks said a special event of welcoming home the legendary Wildebeest migration has been observed this week by tourists from all corners of the world who enjoyed viewing this natural trek consisting of about 2 million ungulates, among them 1.5 million wildebeests believed to have spent less than a month in Kenya.

This Greatest Show of Nature on Earth (migration) normally covers more than 1,000 kilometers and takes place once a year on a 12-month circle, in which the wildebeests spend 10 months in Tanzania within Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro ecosystem before taking a two-month holiday in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

The wildebeest migration comprises over 2.5 million wild animals with some 1.5 million wildebeests, 800,000 zebras and gazelle in Northern Tanzania and Kenya, and is one of the world's most spectacular wildlife events.

The herbivores are followed closely by their predators - lions, hyenas, leopards, jackals – as they make the migration.

The Serengeti’s unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root, as well as numerous photographers and scientists.

It is the wildebeest migration for which the Serengeti is perhaps most famous, attracting international travel and tourism organizations to place it among a few tourist sites in Africa listed for voting into the new 7 wonders this year.

The wildebeest travel through a variety of natural areas with a variety of habitat in different forms of vegetation and landscapes within the Serengeti ecosystem.
The Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value. This park has become an important center for scientific research.

In 1959, a German naturalist, professor Bernhard Grzimek, and his son, Michael, did pioneering work in aerial surveys of wildlife. Their surveys resulted in the best-selling classic, “Serengeti Shall Not Die,” and a number of films that made the Serengeti a household name. More is now known about the dynamics of the Serengeti than any other ecosystem in the world.

Today, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, which is located across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on Earth and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's protected areas.

August 16, 2012. APOLINARI TAIRO, ETN Tanzania. Three Tanzania tourist parks set for voting into Seven Natural Wonders of the World
TANZANIA (eTN) - Three leading tourist attraction sites in Tanzania have been listed among twelve leading tourist attractions in Africa nominated for voting into the Seven Natural Wonders of World.

Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s famous Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti Migration have been nominated as Tanzania’s three candidates for voting into the Seven Natural Wonders.

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest strato volcanoes in the world reaching 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) into the air. As the tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

Mount Kilimanjaro has seven distinctive peaks, with Uhuru Peak accounting for the mountain’s highest elevation at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters). A 1.5 mile wide crater is featured as part of the Kibo portion of the mountain.

Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest unbroken caldera. Often referred to as "Africa's Garden of Eden," the crater is home to over 30,000 animals including elephants, lions, cheetahs, wildebeests, buffaloes, and the rare black rhinos.

Ngorongoro Crater was created from a volcano that exploded creating the caldera wilderness haven. The crater is 12 miles (19 kilometers) across and consumes 102 square miles (264 square kilometers) of wilderness. The rim of the crater rises just over 2,000 feet (610 meters) above the caldera floor, reaching an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,286 meters).

The Serengeti migration is the longest and largest over-land migration in the world. The Serengeti plains account for over 18,641 square miles, and the migration itself travels 500 miles on the path from Tanzania to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya.

The Serengeti is home to over 70 larger mammals and approximately 500 different types of birds. Probably the most impressive part of the migration is the herds of wildebeests that blanket the plains. The migration will kill off around 250,000 wildebeests each year.

Other nominees from Africa are the Red Sea Reef, Sahara Desert, Tsingy de Bemaraha (Madagascar), Avenue of the Baobabs(Madagascar), Aldabra Atoll (Seychelles), Okavango Delta (Botswana), Zuma Park (Nigeria), Mount Kenya (Kenya), and Peak of the Furnace.

The Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, told eTN that a voting exercise will be conducted through a website designed to pick the votes.

He said voters will be free to vote for four other tourist attractions available in Tanzania but not named in the list above. There is no deadline for the voting exercise, he said.

If voted in, a natural tourist attraction feature will be much more known in the world, hence raising its profile as a leading tourist attraction, with a possibility to pull in more tourists.

Dr. Nzuki said the listed and leading tourists in Tanzania have been attracting many tourists, other than their social and economic impacts to the people.

“We are confident that our nominated attractions will find its way into the Natural Wonders of the World, hence rais[ing] Tanzania’s tourist portfolio in the world,” he told eTN.

The Tanzania Tourist Board, the official tourism marketing and promotion institution, is the official coordinator for the voting exercise.

The voting exercise has been organized by the Seven Natural Wonders, a global grassroots organization committed to protecting the natural wonders of the world with a mission to help people discover and explore the natural wonders of the world, to teach them about the wonders and the things that threaten their existence, and to inspire them to create a philosophy and practice of conservation.

July 24, 2012. Adam Ihucha, ETN Tanzania. Tanzania refutes allegation of fire deliberately set in Serengeti
TANZANIA (eTN) - Tanzania has refuted the allegation that it had set fire in northern parts of Serengeti to block the annual wildebeest migration to Kenya's Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

A section of Kenya’s media on Monday reported that Tanzanians living around the Serengeti National Park have set the area on fire to block the wildebeest migration.

According to the story, the decision to block the wildebeest migration has brought many concerns to the Kenyan government.

The story further said fires, which have so far lasted two weeks, have delayed hundreds of wildebeests from Serengeti plains gathered on the Mara River from crossing into Kenya.

In a quick rejoinder, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)’s Public Relations Manager, Pascal Shelutete, said the Wildebeest Migration has not been affected as claimed and that the scientific calendar for the migration to cross into the Masai Mara will be in September or October.

In a statement seen by The East African, Mr. Shelutete said what happened in the northern part of Serengeti was “early burning,” which has taken place in an area of not more than 0.5 square kilometers and which actually has no impact at all in wildlife movement patterns.

“Early burning has been practiced for years without affecting the migration which, we are sure our neighbors in the Maasai Mara who are also conservationists are aware of this,” reads part of the official statement.

The General Management Plan of the Serengeti National Park has a fire management scheme, which allows the practice of early burning. This is a type of fire, which is set early while grasses are still green.

The fire is practiced for several reasons, which include reducing the number of destructive insects such as the tsetse fly, and reducing the amount of litter that can catalyze fire during the dry season.

A TANAPA spokesperson further said that early burning facilitates new forage for animals, as some seeds can only germinate after been burnt, and also when old grasses are burnt, new ones germinate.

“In line with this, early burning was practiced in some parts of [the] Northern zone, namely as Wogakuria towards Nyamalumbwa plains,” Mr. Shelutete said, adding, “These areas were selected following [a] high number of tsetse fly and large amount of litter. This excursion is being undertaken every year and has never affected [the] phenomena of migration.”

Annual calendar of migration 
As per the annual migration calendar, Mr. Shelutete said it suffices to state that it is not yet time for the main migration to occur in the Masai Mara, as the right time is September and October.

Currently, the main migration is still on movement from the west towards northern part of the Serengeti.

Usually wildebeest and zebra cover 1,000 kilometers in their course of migration throughout the year, the statement said.

Mr. Shelutete further said that scientifically, these migratory animals spend two months at a time during a year in the Masai Mara and the rest of the ten months, wildebeest spend their time in the Serengeti.

“These animals are too many (1.5 millions) and, therefore, cannot stay in one area; they must move in search of new pasture and exchang[e] males to avoid inbreeding,” reads part of the statement.

July 7, 2012. AP. Tokyo Zoo: Panda Dies Of Pneumonia After 6 Days

TOKYO (AP) — A baby giant panda died at a Tokyo zoo on Wednesday, less than a week after becoming the first to be born at the facility in 24 years. The birth had created excitement across Japan, and the nation was mourning the baby's death.

Tokyo's Ueno Zoo said the male panda, who had not been named yet, died of pneumonia Wednesday morning. A zookeeper found the baby, who was born last Thursday, lying belly up, without breathing, on his 7-year-old mother's chest.

He was pronounced dead an hour later, after resuscitation efforts failed.

In a news conference broadcast live, Yutaka Fukuda, the zoo's chief panda keeper, said milk had accidentally entered the baby's airway while his mother, Shin Shin, was breast-feeding. Traces of milk were found later in the baby's bronchial tube.

The baby panda had been kept in an incubator for three days before being sent back to Shin Shin on Tuesday.

"They peacefully spent the night and the baby was doing fine just this morning," Fukuda said, tears welling up in his eyes. "It happened so suddenly, and it's such a pity."

The panda was the first to be born at the zoo since 1988 and was conceived naturally. Giant pandas have a low birth rate, and artificial insemination is common in captive breeding programs.
His mother was brought from China just before Japan's tsunami and earthquake disasters last year. The much anticipated baby, the first born to Shin Shin, had been celebrated across Japan, and the news of his death topped afternoon television news Wednesday.

The zoo said it would set up a space for visitors to lay flowers and pray for the dead panda.

Less than half of newborn pandas survive more than a week, Fukuda said, citing Chinese panda experts. The rate is even worse for pandas born to first-time mothers, he said.

May 08, 2012 Dog pulls owner off railroad tracks
BOSTON (WCVB/CNN) - A Massachusetts pit bull saved her owner from an oncoming freight train, paying a hefty price for the heroic act.
David Lanteigne has adored his pit bull since rescuing Lilly from a shelter to be a companion for his mom who suffers from alcoholism.
We saved her life and she saved my mom's life," Lanteigne said. "She's just so great."
Midnight on Wednesday, Lanteigne's mom fell unconscious on train tracks in Shirley, MA.
"Lilly was either pushing or pulling my mother off the tracks," Lanteigne said. "There wasn't enough time and that just prior to the train making impact Lilly had intentionally gotten between the train and my mother and had taken the hit."
Eight-year-old Lilly suffered severe trauma, and Lanteigne's mom was uninjured.
"This is where her front leg was," a veterinarian said. "There's a large incision there with stitches in there.
She should be able to walk quite well. They accommodate quite well to having a front limb amputation."
Lanteigne, a Boston police officer, will be with her every step of the way.
"I'm supposed to be the strong one. I'm supposed to be here for her, but she's been so great, so tough through all this," Lanteigne said. "It almost seems like she's the one comforting me and being there for me and making me feel better".

December 6, 2011. PAT KROCHMA. Village acts on ‘dangerous,’ ‘vicious’ dogs Stricter regulations curbing “dangerous” and “vicious” dogs will be enforced in Deerfield.

The Village Board this week unanimously approved rules requiring dogs that might harm people or other animals to be muzzled and leashed when away from their owners’ property.

Only one dog owner appeared at Monday’s Village Board meeting to ask for the rules to be a little more lenient.

“There is a significant trend toward adopting grown animals,” said resident Amy Parker. “What if the dog goes after another dog in the park?

“I’ve been working with my dog, but I adopted him at 18 months old. He is good with people - and he is even going to be a ‘reading buddy.’ But he has not been good with small dogs. Does that mean he has to be muzzled when he’s off my property for his whole life?”

Parker asked that a provision be included in the ordinance allowing dogs that were once deemed “dangerous” or “vicious” to be re-evaluated if their owners believe they’ve changed.

Mayor Harriet Rosenthal noted that the intention of the ordinance is not to find ways to un-muzzle “dangerous” dogs, but to protect people and animals from them.

“My sense is to leave (the law) the way it is, not to make it more cumbersome,” Rosenthal said. “It would be on the owner to prove their dog isn’t a problem.

“If someone thinks (his or her) dog is no longer ‘dangerous’ and doesn’t want to keep (it) muzzled, he or she should go to the police and ask about getting (the designation) changed.”

An animal will be considered “dangerous” if it is unleashed and unmuzzled, off its owner’s property and behaving in a manner a reasonable person would believe poses risk of serious physical injury or death to a person or companion animal, according to the ordinance’s new amendment.

An exception would be made if the dog’s actions were a response to an offense against the dog’s owner, trespassing on the owner’s property, abuse or threat to the dog or its offspring, or the inflicting of pain or injury.

A dog would be classified as “vicious,” the more serious category, if it: commits an unjustified attack causing serious physical injury; attacks without provocation; was previously designated a dangerous animal and it attacks without justification; or is designated as dangerous three times.

The owner of a “dangerous” or “vicious” animal may be cited for penalties and, if the dog is impounded, must pay for the impounding as well as the penalties

Animal News
November 27, 2011. Wolfgang's Kenya conservation news – 87 more tusks found in container destined for China
A Hong Kong bound container with 87 elephant tusks was seized over the weekend in Nairobi, when alert customs and security officials opened the container for a physical spot check, after various inconsistencies rang the alarm bells and raised suspicion of illicit contraband being hidden amongst the consignment of handicraft for importers in China. The entire container was subsequently scanned before being opened, at which stage the blood ivory was discovered hidden amongst other export items in the various crates.

Chinas reluctance in joining Africa to combat poaching with more draconian measures has been largely blamed for the rocketing rise in poaching across the continent, with rhino horn and ivory the main targets of poachers, costing South Africa alone over 300 rhinos this year, with one reportedly being killed ever 21 hours for the prized, but otherwise useless horn. Importers attribute healing properties to the ground horn, but experts say it would just be as good if the beneficiaries of such concoctions would bit off and eat their own finger nails, which is made of the very same substance as rhino horn.

African wildlife managers, conservationists and globally active NGOs have sharply critizised African governments too of dragging their feet in significantly raising the stakes in terms of fines and sentences for poachers and smugglers, and while making every effort within the resources available, seem to be fighting a losing battle against organized commercial poaching and smuggling operations.
Meanwhile though full kudos to the Kenyan officials who intercepted this latest shipment of blood ivory, while mourning the loss of at least another 44 elephant.


The welcoming news of conservation and halting of the African rich wild animals species along the mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Masai Mara National Parks has saved a great biodiversity of events that would have altered African Safari and tour loving people just like the flow of ice in the northern hemisphere which has brought challenges to our general survival level. People like Africa with all its african tradition and wild animals.

African safaris are the best animal safaris in the world and the idea of tempering with the beauty of wild animals the need to conserve animals is a priority in the peaceful animal world loving people. As a matter of fact this unpredictable and spontaneous natural event has saved the wildebeest migration and made African safaris to be appreciated even more. We human beings of superior brain advancement do have all what it takes to have alternatives without disturbing the flora and fauna.

This natural cycle along the Kenya Tanzania border brings harmony and cross border effects which only need to be appreciated not only by the Masai who have been living with the Africa lions, giant elephants and any dangerous animals along the Savannah but also from all those African holiday makers around the world. Its not only the wildebeest which were saved but the African crocodiles, the ape family and the great Big Five as a whole.

We only need to blend with nature as nature has its own ways of healing and sustaining itself as it has always done for thousands of years. Great and inspiring  animal pictures will continue to be taken, ongoing animal facts and figures and statistics will continue to be obtained, preservation and conservation of African animals will enhance the animal and plant population and above all its just a big WIN! WIN! SITUATION FOR THE GREAT WILDEBEEST MIGRATION and the African World animals and the African Safari Human Species.

For all those who mentally physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually contributed made this gigantic move to save animals of Africa, endangered species and the African wild beast migration wonder of the world to these African animals have their own undisturbed natural habitat.


June 24, 2011. National Geographic News.
Hybrid Cuban-American Crocodiles on the Rise Rare Cuban species in danger of being bred out of existence.

There's a new Cuban crisis—the island country's rare crocodile is being loved to death by its American cousin, a new study suggests.

Mating Cuban crocodiles and American crocodiles are creating hybrid offspring that threaten the survival of the Cuban species, which has dwindled to about 4,000 wild animals in two isolated Cuban swamps. The ten-foot-long (three-meter-long) reptile is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

"That means any loss of animals—be it loss in fact or loss through hybridization—is a grave concern," said John G. Robinson, executive vice president for conservation and science at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

American crocodiles, which are found throughout the Caribbean, are not considered threatened by IUCN. The animals have increasingly moved into the Cuban crocodile's remaining freshwater habitat as it becomes more brackish—or salty—due to agricultural activities, said Robinson, who was not involved in the research.

The Cuban crocodile is the most terrestrial of the crocodiles—walking instead of waddling on their bellies like other croc species, he added. "They're very cool beasts."

For the study, scientists led by Yoamel Milián-García, of the University of Havana, took DNA samples from 89 wild-caught crocodiles and 2 captive crocodiles.

Surprisingly, the results showed that American crocodiles living in Cuba are more closely related to Cuban crocodiles than to other American crocodile populations in Central America.

This suggests that the American and Cuban species are mating much more than thought. When different species mate to create hybrids, genes mix, and eventually one lineage can cause the extinction of the other.

The scientists haven't done behavioral studies to find out if the hybrids are stronger or more aggressive, which can sometimes happen when species interbreed.

Yet the study "will be a wake-up call" for conservationists in Cuba, who have already put a lot of effort into protecting the Zapata swamp—home to about 3,000 of the Cuban crocodiles, WCS's Robinson said.

One obvious strategy, he said, would be to restore the flow of fresh water into the swamps, which would make the habitat less palatable for the American crocodile.

May 16, 2011. Curtis Lehman. OUR NEWEST PARK ELEPHANT
Welcome, Sundzu!
Back on the morning of December 27, 2010, we were happily surprised by the birth of Litsemba’s second calf. Despite having our birth watch/research team ready to go and monitoring her hormone levels as they fell to birthing levels, she gave birth before we thought she was very close. The calf was up and walking with the rest of the herd out in our main yard as we came in to start our day. A quick lookover from outside the yard, and we could tell where he was born and that Litsemba had passed her placenta. He obviously had met all of his herdmates, was nursing, and if he had had a sign around his neck saying “I weigh 230 pounds” we wouldn’t have had to do anything that morning. Well, that little guy now weighs 486 pounds (221 kilograms) and has had a name since early March.

Tsandzikle (ta-Sond-zuh-Kee-lay) was named after David Tappan, an Elephant Odyssey donor who passed away last year. The Hebrew name Dawid was probably derived from Hebrew (dwd) meaning “beloved”; the SiSwati language had two translations for “beloved”: the adjective Tsandzekako (ta-Sond-zuh gah-go) or the noun Tsandzikle. We liked the noun version the best, and we usually call him by the nickname “Sund-zu.” We didn’t want him to be called Mister Ga-GO!

What a playful little guy!
He’s about as cute as they come. Sundzu loves to solicit attention and scratches from all of his keepers and constantly patrols the fence line as we clean the yards, hoping to pull us away from our never-ending clean up. Who can resist that face? He is a great source of entertainment for us because of his playful nature and the way he interacts with the other three amigos born last year. He’s got a great trumpet, he always seems to be running somewhere, and he has the full repertoire of calf behavior we’ve grown to love and adore: the threatening “scary face” they all make, plowing through the hay, challenging anything and everything that does or doesn’t move, climbing onto whoever he can, and playing in the mud bogs. He seems to be the most playful calf we’ve had, and he loses track of Mom’s whereabouts quite often because of it. You can see his anxiety building up once he realizes Mom’s not around, and then comes his mighty roar that gets Mom a runnin’ to the rescue!

His big brother, Impunga, is mostly indifferent to him. Poor Punga has been displaced by Mom so much that he roars for mercy when she just looks at him funny. He’s not the apple of Mom’s eye anymore, but he still hangs around close enough to benefit from her social protection but far enough away to avoid her trunk swats and tusks. We try to make up for it by giving Punga lots of lovin’ and training sessions as often as we can. He still enjoys wrestling with ‘Musi and can’t resist a mud bog dog pile on a hot day.

The best way to see all this activity is, of course, to come out to the Safari Park and spend a few hours watching our amazing herd do their thing. If you see me out at the Elephant Viewing Patio for our daily Elephant Enrichment activity at 11:30 a.m., introduce yourselves and say hello. That’s all for now; more snippets to come.

June 22, 2011. AP. Penguin steps ashore  far from home. A young Emperor penguin took a rare wrong turn from the Antarctic and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach, the first time in 44 years the aquatic bird has been sighted in the wild in the South

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