West African Lions

There are a small number of lions that still live in West Africa. The population is in steep decline and is now only found reliably in one protected area with small remaining populations in a few others. The last significant population is found in a transboundary protected area between Niger Benin and Burkina Faso. This consists of Arli National park in South East Burkina Faso, Pendjari National Park in Benin and Singou Reserve. This group of protected areas is collectively called the WAP complex (W-Arli-Pendjari). Continue reading “West African Lions”

New species of Orangutan

The Tapamuli Orangutan has recently been discovered. There are only thought to be 800 of these animals left and they are only found within the Batang Toru Forest of North Sumatra. It is thought that they have been a separate from the Borneon Orangutan for 674,000 years (despite living on Sumatra they appear to be more closely related to the Orangutans of Borneo than of Sumatra). As well as having such a tiny population they also live in an area of roughly 1000 square kilometres (386 square miles). This is the first great ape species to be discovered since 1929 when the Bonobo was discovered.

Cape leopards

Cape Leopards are a fascinating part of the leopard population of South Africa. It is estimated that there are as many as 1000 cape leopards living throughout the western cape. Now the western cape covers roughly 50,000 square miles so it is a rather large area, and they are spread across a few national parks. What is interesting about this group is that they are significantly smaller than any other group of leopards with females weighing around 20kg and males 35kg (generally leopards weigh between 60 and 70kg). Continue reading “Cape leopards”

Transfrontier parks – allowing wildlife to exist closer to how it did before humans arrived

In Africa it is becoming increasingly common for national parks to be declared on both sides of a border. This allows the protected area to be vastly larger than either country could succeed in, on its own. This is important because many of the mammals that live in Africa need a lot of space and live at low densities. Without transfrontier parks it would be too expensive to protect a large enough area to support populations of animals such as wild dog and cheetah. In an ideal world this is a relatively simple solution, however as with everything it isn’t often that simple. With war and famine and other problems the animals could suddenly become less secure in one country than another. Continue reading “Transfrontier parks – allowing wildlife to exist closer to how it did before humans arrived”

Greening the western lifestyle

If we are to be able to continue to live on planet Earth we are going to need to stop releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is unfortunate that at the current time, this simple fact is not looked on as a fact by some of the big world leaders.

One of the difficult things to look at is that some of the publicised success the UK has had in the last couple of decades is false. When looking carefully you can see that we have exported the emissions, by having things manufactured in India or China for example. This makes it clear that much of the pressure on manufacturers must come from consumers rather than governments. Continue reading “Greening the western lifestyle”

Does hunting pay its way?

Even in the current age where many species such as elephants and lions are facing steep declines in population and range, there are still many countries where it is legal to go and hunt them and other species. Unlike many conservationists I am not inherently against hunting, however the way it is done in many places baffles me. I realise with many people it is essentially “the bragging rights” that they are looking for. Shoot an animal and mount its head on your wall at home. One hundred years ago, when there were more animals left I could understand this idea, but nowadays, when we are likely to have to explain to our grandchildren if not children why these animals no longer live in the wild I don’t want one stuck to my wall! Continue reading “Does hunting pay its way?”

Problems with Palm Oil – and how to avoid it

Palm oil is a plant based alternative to digging up hydrocarbons (like oil).

In theory, the concept of growing the fuel that we use might be a good idea, unfortunately this has not worked well in practice. The best place to grow palm oil is along the equator, but this is where much of the tropical rainforest also grows. It has already been established that as much of this needs to be left intact as possible for the world to function as an ecosystem.

While I would have a problem in the way this is being undertaken for the simple reason that these rainforests hum with life there are other issues. Continue reading “Problems with Palm Oil – and how to avoid it”