inyathi

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inyathi last won the day on October 23 2016

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About inyathi

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  1. I don't wish to jump back into this debate again just at the moment, but I was interested to read the following article about John Hume and rhinos in the UK's Telegraph magazine last weekend. Can farming rhinos for their horns save the species?
  2. @optig @Bugs I haven’t studied in detail all of the ins and outs of this ban, but essentially the UK is the largest legal exporter of ivory, the following is from the Guardian. UK named as the world’s largest legal ivory exporter It was the case that all ivory dated pre-1947 was considered legal and anything from after that date illegal. Why 1947? the date is related to the testing of nuclear weapons, this has made it possible to test ivory to detect if there are traces of radiation, to establish if the elephant was alive before nuclear testing or after nuclear testing. The concern amongst conservationists campaigning against the legal trade, is that this law provides an easy way for ivory to be laundered. In a two-part TV investigative documentary presented by the Chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall last year, he with the help of an antiques expert legally bought nine ‘antique’ ivory objects that they thought looked questionable from online auction sites, and had them tested at a lab. Four of them were found to made from modern post-1947 ivory and therefore illegal and another one was made of pre-47 ivory but had been re-carved which is also illegal under UK law. The implication is that there is a significant quantity of illegal laundered ivory floating around the UK, that lots of alleged antiques are not in fact antiques but modern carvings made from poached ivory that is being passed off as pre-47 ivory. The law was intended to ensure that only antique ivory objects, made from ivory from elephants that would have been killed during the colonial era or earlier, could be traded and modern ivory could not, but it clearly did not work. The program also exposed the fact that the majority of the legal ivory sold in the UK and the rest of Europe goes to the Far East specifically China where it is reworked. There was therefore considerable concern that the trade here fuels demand in Asia and provides a means by which ivory can be laundered. From secret filming in ivory shops in Hong Kong, it was quite clear that poached ivory from Africa was being laundered and passed off as ivory imported legally from Europe. The Conservative Party here, made a pledge in their election manifesto that they would introduce a complete ban on the trade in ivory in the UK, once elected however they reneged on this pledge. The initial campaign to get a ban implemented failed, largely because of lobbying by the antiques trade worried about the effect on their business. The Conservatives then scrapped their manifesto pledge, so the fact that they then went ahead and introduced the ban came as a complete surprise. The ban however isn’t a complete ban they have included a number of exemptions as follows. UK ivory ban proposals include musical instrument exemption I am in favour of this ban because I believe that no elephant anywhere will be safe from poachers until we stamp out the ivory trade, that we need to close down every loophole that facilitates the laundering of ivory and do everything to discourage demand. Obviously if you favour a legal trade in ivory then you will take a different view on the wisdom of this ban, only time will tell what effect it has. I accept that achieving zero trade in ivory may be an impossible aspiration, but I am also convinced that it is impossible to operate a legal trade in ivory and not have a parallel illegal trade as has always been the case. It is my view that the benefits to conservation in a couple countries in Southern Africa of a legal trade would be far outweighed by the negative impact on elephants in the rest of Africa of the ongoing illegal trade that will still hide behind a legal trade. I would like to think that the UK is less corrupt and generally far more law-abiding than most African or Far Eastern countries but that hasn’t stopped illegal ivory being passed off as legal here. When it comes to whether or not the UK ban is a good idea, I will give the benefit of the doubt to conservation organisations like the Environmental Investigation Agency who have been investigating the illegal ivory trade for many years. Rather than to representatives of the antiques trade who may know a lot about their business, but I fear don’t know enough about the relationship between legal trade and illegal trade and therefore poaching. It’s easy for some antique dealer who sells a lot of ivory objects and stands to lose income because of the ban, to say that their business has no impact on the slaughter of elephants in Africa, but how do they actually know that? I don’t know for certain one way or the other, but what I do know for certain is I care far more about live elephants, than I do about the ability of people to make money selling antique ivory objects, no matter how beautiful some of those objects undoubtedly are. UK ivory trade ban to help end 'shame' of elephant poaching WCS News Releases: UK Takes Pivotal Step to Ban Domestic Ivory Mongabay Ivory is out in the UK, as government moves to shut legal trade
  3. @offshorebirder Interesting that Wikipedia list says there are 23 sunbirds in Ethiopia, whereas the list on Avibase only has 19, on the Wikipedia list the olive sunbird is split into two species but my book says that's not supported by genetics, but that still leaves 3 extra species. The book suggests that these 3 species aren't found in Ethiopia so either Wikipedia is wrong or maybe as you say they have turned up as vagrants. Avibase on their lists have plenty of birds labelled rare/accidental which would include vagrants, I often use the site to create my own checklists for my trips and I'm quite often surprised at some of the odd birds that appear on some of the lists.
  4. @offshorebirder after looking at some photos I was going to agree with you and say that's a good suggestion that I hadn't considered, but then I looked at the map, the Amethyst sunbird doesn't occur in Ethiopia at all. If it's an immature bird then I suppose there might be other options that I haven't looked at. @Botswanadreams The thought occurred to me after I looked at the map in my copy of Birds of Africa South of the Sahara which has pages of sunbirds, that the way to narrow it down is to look at an Ethiopian bird list and you can find one on the Avibase website. Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World Ethiopia
  5. @Soukous A quick Google image search reveals at least a handful of hooded vultures with white leg feathers and some that are brown and white, my guess is it's an immature and in time the white feathers will be replaced with brown ones, but without doing further research I don't know for sure. However, the photos confirm that it is unquestionably a hooded.
  6. @Botswanadreams Female sunbirds are always tricky but having been through a couple of books and looked at photos online my best guess would be scarlet-chested, but I'm really not certain, the dark throat seems very distinctive not many other species have this, Hunter's does look pretty similar but in the photos the bill looks much heavier. So I think it's scarlet-chested but I'd be interested to see what @offshorebirder or anyone else thinks.
  7. @BotswanadreamsI agree with previous answers, the red bill, the prominent eye ring and the location all indicate to me that it has to be a red-billed firefinch.
  8. @COSMIC RHINO On the subject of Kaziranga you're not wrong about the price or some Indian drivers, and from Guwahati Airport it is maybe 5 hours drive to get there and you first need to fly to Guwahati from Kolkatta or Dehli or wherever. Having said that when I visited in 07 I saw more rhinos than I have ever seen anywhere before or since and not just in total over the 4 days that I was there, but also at one time. In the park they have towers at some of the ranger posts and from one of these towers I counted over 20 different rhinos. There is a lot of long grass but there was also a good deal of short grass and I saw plenty of rhinos and very well just on normal game drives, as well as some of your rhinos in this report, seeing them wasn't a problem at all. I also saw them up close on elephant back safaris and if you're happy to do this it's a good way to see the wildlife. My experience and I assume that of others here who've been, is that you are guaranteed to see rhinos, you should see wild elephants as well, if you can work out an affordable way for you to do it, I would strongly recommend going to Kaziranga, I wouldn't be put off by the long drive. Nice to see lots of reticulated giraffes, Lewa must I assume be an important stronghold for this endangered species.
  9. @NaomiIrene When you say you are looking for people's experiences I assume you mean people who have actively been trophy hunting, although there have been I think one or two hunters who've briefly joined and there may be some members with some past hunting experience, I don't think you will find anyone amongst the regular members with actual experience of trophy hunting. I support such hunting but I've never done it myself and wouldn't wish to and I suspect that most here who do support hunting take a similar view. If you are looking for the experiences of actual hunters you'd be better off going to a forum like www.africahunting.com there are no doubt a number of other forums out there as well that you could try, this is one that I look at occasionally just to see what hunters are saying when trophy hunting is in the news. I haven't felt inclined to join this forum, my impressions is they are likely to be somewhat suspicious of someone who isn't a hunter, but you could certainly join and see if they can help.
  10. @sek07 Thanks for posting this, I was contemplating posting the news about the rhinos but fortunately I didn't, as I hadn't checked my emails and had missed the fantastic news from AP about the expanded area that will now be under their protection. I knew this expansion was on the cards so it's really great to see that it really is happening. @Irish Elk The very last black rhino seen in Zakouma was in 1972, whether any survived anywhere elsewhere I don't know but the Siniaka-Minia Faunal Reserve was created in 1965 to protect an important black rhino population, I doubt any did survive beyond the 70s, C.A.R. next door once had a huge population of western black rhinos but they were poached to extinction in the 80s. To establish a founder population of rhinos you need around 20 animals if I recall correctly, so I presume that at some point the first 6 rhinos will be joined by more in the following years. As was the case when black rhinos were reintroduced into the Okavango if you start with too few, population growth is very slow. I would think that going back much earlier there must have been northern white rhinos in Zakouma there certainly were white rhinos in southern Chad somewhere, like the western black rhino, the northern white rhino is extinct although there are still 3 known living animals. Attempts are being made to resurrect the northern white but the success of this project is uncertain, however perhaps one day white rhinos will also return to Chad be they northern x southern hybrids or just pure southern whites. Such a move if it happens would be a long way off and will certainly depend on the success of the black rhino reintroduction. From what I recall the reintroduction of black rhinos to Akagera NP in Rwanda cost some $4 million, so taking black rhinos to Zakouma isn't going to be cheap, I'm sure they would not even be considering this if they weren't absolutely confident that Zakouma's Mamba Teams will be able to protect the rhinos. Returning rhinos to Rwanda was a major milestone for APN, returning them to Chad will be an even bigger milestone and a real demonstration of what they can achieve. I hope that before too long they will be establishing a third rhino population in Malawi in Nkhotakota by then they will have a significant number of black rhinos under their protection. Already thanks to the security measures put in place by Rian and Lorna Labuschagne and their team the elephant population has now risen beyond 500, under the watch of the new park director Leon Lamprecht who took over from Rian last year elephant numbers should continue to rise, the expansion of the protected area to include Siniaka-Minia is therefore very important. Protecting such a huge area should allow the elephant population to increase very significantly so that if the entire area is secure there could be thousands of elephants once more. Maybe also some time in the future if the rhino reintroduction is a success some rhinos could be moved to Siniaka-Minia, better protection for the entire area will be a huge benefit to wild dogs and cheetahs. It has also always been planned to reintroduce giant eland which are not thought to have occurred in Zakouma but were once found in the Salamat Faunal Reserve, if and when this will happen I don't know, the situation in Chinko in C.A.R. is not great at the moment as they are having to look after a number of refugees, it may be a while before they have spare eland to send to Chad. I presume this is where they would be sourced from rather than from Cameroon. I while back using Google Earth and Photoshop I produced a rough map showing Zakouma and Siniaka-Minia, I didn't include the Salamat Faunal Reserve but you can find a map that shows it here, you should then be able to get an idea of the area that will now be protected.
  11. I was very pleased to see a familiar face in one of this morning's papers amongst the winners of this year’s Tusk Conservation Awards, the winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa 2017 is Rian Labuschagne, a very worthy winner of this lifetime achievement award. For six years from 2010 he was the Director of Zakouma National Park in Chad. The security plan that he put in place completely transformed the situation for the park’s elephants from a point where their numbers had dropped to under 450 and herds were so stressed that they were no longer breeding, to the situation now where their population is rising and has passed 500. Were it not Rian and Lorna and African Parks, Zakouma’s elephants (and much of its other wildlife) could have been lost and with them one of Africa’s great national parks. Last year they left Zakouma and returned to work for the Frankfurt Zoological Society in the Serengeti in Tanzania, where they had been based before moving to Chad. While in Tanzania Rian helped to improve the protection one of the country’s last black rhino populations the Ngorongoro Crater and prior to that he was instrumental in seeing black rhinos reintroduced to Malawi, to the rhino sanctuary established in Liwonde NP. I’ve no doubt that he could not have done so much for the conservation of Africa’s wildlife without the help of his wife Lorna, what they have together achieved is just extraordinary. While not everyone here on ST will have the good fortune to visit Zakouma, many will be able to visit (or already have visited) Ngorongoro and the Serengeti and should you be fortunate enough to see a black rhino when you're there, it will in part be thanks to Rian’s hard work. Tusk Conservation Awards - Rian Labuschagne Rian giving a bull elephant a drink in Zakouma Here are a couple more Tusk videos and if you go to YouTube you can find more videos on the other winners and finalists at this year’s awards.
  12. @AfricIan Your goshawk is dark chanting, the barring on the underside isn’t right for gabar. Although you can see nyalas without too much difficulty in the right parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe where I have seen them, for anyone who has never seen one these beautiful antelopes before, it looks like Majete would be a great place to go and good for other antelopes as well.
  13. I don’t want to get into a whole debate about elephants but I don’t really see how they are relevant to the hunting ban, trophy hunting was not controlling the population in any way, a point that @Bugs made earlier. As to the hunting ban generally whether you think it has been successful and a good thing or the opposite seems to depend on your opinion of hunting, lots of people who oppose hunting have hailed this as a great success and a step in the right direction, because it appears to me that’s what they want to believe. Having spoken to guides in Botswana who took a rather different view and suggested that a lot of former hunting areas have not been taken over by photographic operators as was supposed to happen and that the promised employment has not materialised. It may be that this has simply taken rather longer than expected and that lots of new camps have opened in former hunting areas I don’t know. But I am somewhat sceptical and I’ve no doubt that there are a good few areas that simply aren’t well suited to photographic tourism at all, with so many fantastic prime game viewing areas in Botswana, why would people want to visit areas that are not good for photo tourism.? Why would anyone even want to try and set up tourist camps in these areas when they have no realistic chance of success? I’m yet to be convinced that the hunting ban was a good thing, at the moment I’m more inclined to believe that it hasn’t been, both from speaking to people in Botswana and from reading various articles on the subject of the hunting ban. BOTSWANA’S HUNTING BAN; THE ECONOMIC AFTERMATH
  14. I agree with @Peter Connan it looks like a southern red-billed hornbill, i assume that the two species may overlap in this area of Namibia but my Birds of Africa South of the Sahara illustrates the Damara with a pure white neck and the southern with the dark markings on the neck that your bird has. @johnweirFollowing the revelation that there are actually 4 species of giraffes, according to the most recent taxonomy the giraffes from southern Zambia southwards are all southern giraffes (Giraffa giraffa) this species is divided in to two subspecies the South African giraffe (G. g. giraffa) and the Angolan (G. g. angolensis). Checking the information on giraffe species on the GCF website confirms what recalled from reading it before, all of the giraffes in the main part of Namibia are Angolans only the giraffes in the north-east in the Caprivi Strip or Zambezi Province as I think it's now known are South African. The Angolan apparently extends across to central Botswana according to GCF's map giraffes in CKGR are Angolan whereas as those in the Okavango are South African, as are those in Hwange in Zim. The identification of 4 species of giraffe was confirmed by genetic evidence, I don't know how much work has been done on the genetics of the southern giraffe in Botswana for example to really establish where the boundary between the two races is.The Angolan was obviously so named because it occurred in southern Angola a national park called Mupa was established to protect these giraffes but sadly giraffes were one of the many casualties of the country's long civil war and this race became extinct there. Now only a few SA giraffes may exist in the south east and an extralimital population exists in Quicama/Kissama NP where they were introduced some years back. Giraffes have I would guess been reintroduced in certain parts of Namibia from which they had disappeared but I don't know to what extent this was necessary but I presume that some of the populations on private reserves may have been reintroduced. The map on the IUCN Red List website certainly shows that they have a large range in Namibia, undoubtedly in the past they would have occurred practically throughout the country except for the very driest parts of the Namib Desert. Nice to see some shots from Desert Rhino a great place.
  15. @AfricIan Very interesting report, Malawi is a very beautiful country, the only place on your itinerary that I’ve been to is Liwonde and that was a long time ago, so I’ve enjoyed reading about the other places you went as well as seeing what Liwonde is like now. Great to see those sables and the buffalos in Liwonde, I was there in the wet season and they were having major floods in the region so we weren’t able to get around the park that easily. Good to see the wire-tailed swallows are still nesting on the boat. I’m not too surprised that you needed a warm fire on the Zomba Plateau with the weather like that; the landscape in a couple of your shots is quite reminiscent of the Nyika Plateau though the latter is much bigger and higher, at Chelinda Lodge there which is at around 7,500ft / 2,228M all of the rooms have log fires and they’re very welcome on a chilly evening especially when it’s wet. Despite the unfortunate start this is a good advert for Malawi, a country that gets overlooked in favour of its neighbours with their better known national parks. I hope that all of the recent developments in Liwonde and Nkhotkota will help to change that. It’s such a beautiful, diverse and friendly country that I think for anyone who has been on a couple of safaris already, it is a great place to go if you are looking to go somewhere a bit different. @Atravelynn I have just read this evening while writing this that Liwonde had the highest density of sable in Africa, all of Malawi's parks have suffered a good deal of poaching, populations of all antelopes have I would assume suffered declines, however Liwonde has remained a stronghold for sable, probably in part due the construction of the rhino sanctuary in 1992. Various antelope species that would have ended up inside the sanctuary have been kept safe from poaching allowing their numbers to build up, also Liwonde hasn't had a population of lions for some years so there's not much predation. I've no doubt now that African Parks are running Liwonde and the whole park is fenced it will once again have the highest density of sables in Africa, all of Malawi's parks have some sable, but I've not seen them anywhere in Malawi. I would guess after Liwonde, Majete is probably the best place to see them, in the past Nkhotakota would have had a large population but I presume numbers now are pretty low, but they should increase again, if their numbers need boosting I've no doubt AP will move some there. I’m not absolutely 100% certain of all of the birds but I’ve had a go at identifying them. Bottom of post 12 I think the scruffy looking male weaver is probably a village weaver also called spot backed, I presume the female is the same, followed by white-winged cliff chat and African pied wagtail but I suspect you knew the last two and just hadn’t named them. Post 16 your hawk eagle looks to me like it’s an immature martial eagle. Post 18 I think you’re right they look like grey-headed parrots Post 19 you are correct the hawk is a Harrier hawk or gymnogene, then after the malachite kingfisher is a spur-winged lapwing (Vanellus spinosus) often called spur-winged plover, as part of the attempt to standardise bird names all members of the genus Vanellus were quite recently renamed lapwings, however people often still refer to the ones that used to be called plovers as plovers. After the grey-headed kingfisher is a white-backed night heron that’s a great sighting as these are not easy birds to see. I think the woodpecker could possibly be a golden-tailed because of the pale yellow spots, the raptor looks like a snake eagle and I would suggest western banded. Post 20 the eagle is an African hawk eagle.

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