By Jonathan and Angela Scott
People have always been smitten by the beauty of elephant ivory as I discovered for myself while traveling overland from London to Johannesburg in 1974.
I am not exactly sure where I bought the small ivory carving that would haunt me in years to come. I think it was Kisangani (formerly Stanleyville), 2,000 km upstream from the mouth of the mighty Congo River, home during the 1880s to Mohammed bin Alfan Murjebi, alias Tipu Tip, the infamous Zanzibari who traded ivory and slaves.
I remember a man with a basket unwrapping packets of green banana leaves each containing ivory and choosing one particularly beautifully piece with a woman’s head carved on it. The sheen and texture of ivory makes it exquisite to the human eye and to the touch. I was spellbound by that carving; it seemed to speak of Africa. Seduced by its beauty I never gave a thought as to where the ivory might have come from. What I can be sure of now is that an elephant died an unnatural death to make that carving possible.Add a comment
By Dan Stiles
They named him Manno and he is four years old, though he is small for his age. Manno has bright, inquisitive eyes, has a fondness for pumpkin seeds and loves to scamper about. He has been living alone as the solitary chimpanzee in a small, private zoo in Duhok, Kurdistan, in northern Iraq for about three years.
Manno turned up in 2013 with wildlife dealers in Damascus, Syria, as a traumatized baby orphan. His mother was no doubt killed for bushmeat somewhere in Central Africa and the poachers sold him off to traffickers.
The owner of the Duhok Zoo paid $15,000 for Manno and the little chimpanzee has repaid the investment by becoming a very popular attraction. People come from all over the Duhok area to play and have their photographs taken with Manno. The little chimpanzee is dressed up in children’s clothes and visitors shower him with food and drink that kids like – junk food. This probably explains why Manno is small for his age.Add a comment
By Heather Gurd and Shivani Bhalla
The African lion is a powerful flagship species synonymous with the continent’s rangelands, but the number of lions and other large carnivores is declining rapidly.
Kenya is no exception to this grave trend. The national lion population is estimated to be fewer than 2,000 individuals. Here, like elsewhere in Africa, habitat loss and conflict with humans rank amongst the most significant threats to lions.
Rapid human population growth and encroachment into wildlife habitat has increased the frequency of human-lion interaction and conflict over recent decades. Conflicts may culminate in retaliatory persecution of lions and are often most pronounced amongst pastoralist communities for whom livestock depredation presents a significant actual, as well as perceived, risk to people’s livelihoods.Add a comment
Distressing images of poached African elephants have hit headline news in recent years triggering intense conservation efforts to save this iconic and intelligent species. Additionally, there is another less known threat to African elephants but equally as critical: human-elephant conflict (HEC).
Requiring immense tracts of land to satisfy their food, water, migratory and social needs, elephants traverse great home ranges, living alongside humans across the 37 ‘elephant range states’ in Africa. However, in a changing landscape, expanding human populations and increasing competition for land and resources has resulted in the rise of human-elephant conflict. With exacerbating negative interactions, the friction between these two keystone species is reaching distressingly high levels.
As both families and bull elephants migrate through the landscape searching for food and water, they will take advantage of any juicy crops they come across. Using their extraordinary sense of smell and incredible cognitive abilities, elephants have learnt how to break fences to pillage farms at night.Add a comment