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About Tanya_in_Kenya

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    Kulafumbi, Tsavo, Kenya
  • Interests
    wildlife, conservation, photography, politics and current affairs, running and keeping fit
  1. What about mutual swishing of tails to keep flies away from each other's faces? I've often seen zebra standing head to tow with each other, as it were...and don't horses do this too?
  2. And so it goes on...over here and over there...very sad.
  3. We're back to the corridor issue again...becoming increasingly vital as we create more and more fenced island populations of wildlife....important for the gene pool of all the animals, but crucial too for the immediate survival of the migratory species. It's not too late to create these corridors if the will is there, but with the ever-increasing human encroachment, we don't want to wait too long otherwise the corridors will become politically contentious issues as people will have to be moved to make way for wildlife...and we all know that is not always a recipe for success. Regarding Big Life, how refreshing to see an organisation dedicated unashamedly to undiluted anti-poaching efforts. Bravo...and I LOVE the elephant portraits.
  4. Speaking of lion-proof bomas, this article was published today in Kenya's 'Daily Nation' newspaper.
  5. It's a subspecies of the Grant's Gazelle.
  6. You could do something really radical and come to Tsavo in May! It's low season (few tourists) and magical. In one day (admittedly first few days of June, not May), on one single drive we saw: 300 elephants congregating in one place, at least 200 more elephant in dispersed groups, including wonderful scenes of them "swimming" and playing in waterholes, hirola, CHEETAH, giraffe, impala, waterbuck, Peter's gazelle, buffalo, nesting Black-headed Plovers, zebra, birds of prey x many, ostrich, gerenuk, plus plus plus......Not trying to change your habit of a lifetime, Hari, but just pointing out there are more places to see great wildlife in East Africa than the Mara and Serengeti . Admittedly, it's easier to guarantee the sightings in the Mara/Serengeti because of the open grasslands, but Tsavo is exciting because you never know what you might see!
  7. I agree with Peter. I can also see Jochen's point of view - we as humans often create the circumstances that "breed" problem animals. More often than not, problem animals - whether crop-raiding elephants or lions that kill cattle - occur in areas where humans have moved into traditional wildlife habitats - NOT the other way round. If Masai maintained their bomas (stockades) better, the incidences of cattle killing by lions would decrease. You can't neglect your own stockade and then blame the lion for breaching it. As Peter says, lions are wild and they are opportunists - that is why they have survived. In a natural setting, they often choose a weak/injured animal to prey on - that is opportunism. Cattle are easy prey - if given easy access to cattle, they will prey on them. It's not rocket science, but it nevertheless seems the animal always has to carry the can, even if the fault lies on the side of man, as it so often does.
  8. If Kikwete plays things out to Tanzania's benefit, as opposed to his own, then he will enter a very tiny, exclusive club of African presidents who actually have their country's interest at heart above even their own interest or that of the clique/tribe around them. I think the Tanzanians are playing everybody off against each other, and are enjoying the sensation they are causing on the world stage. It's not often Tanzania holds the world's attention for so long and they will milk it for all they can get, from both sides. Presumably, if the road was built/upgraded around the southern route, there would still be lucrative contracts for private companies - that won't change whether it's the southern or northern route (although admittedly, if the southern route is funded by European/American aid, it might be more difficult to skim off the top - I say this rather optimistically as history has repeatedly shown us aid contracts are as easy to "skim off" as other contracts.)
  9. I believe this is the link.
  10. Amazing that this turtle has survived for so long without her rear flippers! It's great how people have turned out to help dig a nest hole for her - and interesting that she actually uses it. Although I don't agree with the guy who says it's ironic that she comes back to the same beach to nest - this is instinctive turtle behaviour - they return to the same beach each time to nest, often the same beach where they themselves hatched out - so although it would be nice to think she was returning to that beach because she knows people are there to help her dig her nest, I think it's more likely that she is returning there by instinct...what IS lucky, however, is that the beach that she comes to by instinct, happens to be a beach where people help her. A feel-good story, and really one's heart does go out to that poor turtle who must have the most difficult time surviving with only two of her limbs.
  11. As Atravelynn suggested, I agree it's about changing cultural beliefs (which are often more ingrained in people than "learned" facts). People continue to believe rhino horn is an aphrodisiac even when there is no scientific evidence to support the contention because it's part of their culture/legend. So, in my opinion, stopping the demand has to be about changing the culture (in the same way, it's no longer socially acceptable to wear real exotic bird plumes in your hat because the culture has been changed.) As far I know, the concept of "honour" plays a key part in the value system of many Far Eastern cultures...so perhaps a campaign suggesting that being responsible for the death of rhinos is dishonorable might have more effect than trying to convince the Chinese that rhino horn is not an aphrodisiac, which is ingrained in their culture/legend. We have seen how both fur and ivory have become taboo in western cultures - principally because of high profile campaigns to make them that way...a similar campaign aimed at the Far East disputing their honour may also work...and ideally it would need to be taken up at the diplomatic level as well as at the mass public level. I also like Sverker's idea re advertising ideas for Viagra - thinking outside the box by branding the box!
  12. Well said, Egilio.
  13. Good on Chris Mercer for presenting "the other side" of the debate at this symposium - you can almost see the horror on the faces of the organizers when their well-engineered presentation was sabotaged by someone going off message to such a degree. However, I don't think it can be true to say that "everyone who was anyone in wildlife conservation attended that event", because there are a lot more people seriously involved in conservation in Kenya than a mere 160....but that is a detail. The bottom line, I believe, is that the US can push this as much as they like (shame on them) but the public sentiment amongst local Kenyans is very anti-hunting...you have a few big landowners pushing for it here, but the population and home-grown conservation groups in general are against it...and thank goodness for that (for now anyway).
  14. Pangolin - I agree the idea of fencing is anathema, especially in areas where the wildlife is migratory...but sadly, the way that the human population is increasing and encroaching on traditional wildlife lands, I think it may end up being the only option in many areas - to keep the humans away from the animals, and the animals away from the humans. But all the more reason for the corridors, as you say...without them, fenced island populations are doomed.
  15. Agree wholeheartedly with Peter. Like hunting, like the legalization of one-off ivory sales, it could all work IN THEORY, but in practice, proper controls (which underpin so many of these concepts) simply do not exist in Africa (and I'm not just talking about in the conservation arena either.)

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