Roads through protected areas

In order to fulfil their purpose of giving a place for large mammals to live naturally, many national parks and nature reserves are very large. Often this is a great draw for tourism, and when done right can create a healthy income for many people living in the area around the park.

However, this area is also a something that often takes a great deal of time to drive around, adding cost for the rest of the economy and so often the road is built across the park. In the short term this can often appear like a good idea, but can have serious problems.

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UK extinct species and imported species – Part 2

Grey squirrels- invaders

These animals cause significant damage to woodland throughout the UK. They were first introduced to Henbury park in Cheshire, but have quickly spread. Being less reliant on trees than red squirrels they have done very well though it is thought that red squirrels were not doing well anyway. A great deal of money and time has been spent trying to control their spread, as they often carry squirrel pox which kills red squirrels quickly, meaning they don’t share land for long.

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UK extinct species and imported species – Part 1

Huge numbers of species have been disappearing from some or all of their original range in the wild. While there are other reasons for animals to disappear from areas, humans are usually the biggest. This is certainly the case on a micro scale. The majority of impacts of climate change has shifted the entire range for a species in one direction or another. Many mountainous species have shifted their range up hill as the planet has warmed. The problem with this shifting is that often it leaves species stuck in small areas of suitable habitat at the top of hills or mountains. Continue reading “UK extinct species and imported species – Part 1”

The loss of wild dogs from the Serengeti – and their return

Image source Burrard-Lucas Photography

Before 1992, as well as the Lions and Cheetah, there were huge packs of African Wild Dog (also called African Hunting Dogs) that would follow the herds as well. This was one of the largest populations of African Wild Dog population so it was devastating to have the population wiped out so quickly. However, the land given to the nomadic people of the Serengeti
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The Kob migration (South Sudan)


Image by Animal Picture Society

In 2011 a new country was created in Africa: South Sudan. This country is roughly the size of France. Before the split there had been a civil war going on much of the time for over 50 years. After the split there was a brief period of calm and scientists were able to go into the country to asses the state of the wildlife.

Astoundingly, despite the extraordinary length of fighting, among much wildlife, there existed a land migration Continue reading “The Kob migration (South Sudan)”

Black Mamba (South Africa)


Image by John Blythe

We spent a month volunteering at Umhloti Lodge about 20 miles from Kruger. This is a nature reserve, and although none of the big five live here permanently, there are certainly visiting Leopards. However at the centre of the reserve is a Chimpanzee sanctuary (the location of the Animal Planet series “Escape to Chimp Eden”). The volunteers lived around a mile away in several little “Wendy Houses” so each morning we would walk up to the lodge. The reserve is typical savannah, with long yellowy grass, and small prickly bushes as well as trees. While you could see most animals far ahead it was possible to be surprised. On the way we would see the Giraffe and Zebras and the various Antelope species. On exiting our huts the Vervet Monkeys would scatter, and we would start the walk up the road. However on our first morning, perhaps half way up to the lodge we spotted a Black Mamba starting to cross the road. While Black Mambas are not uncommon in this area, a volunteer who had been there three months was still yet to spot one. In South Africa the Black Mamba is perhaps the most dangerous snake. It is up to 2.5m long and can travel with 80% of its body off the ground, if you meet it, on occasions it can be taller than a human.

We stopped as soon as we noticed it, however it was too late. The Black Mamba reared up momentarily and then flicked over back into the grass.

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”

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