Pangolins are returning to Kenya

Long thought to be extinct in the country, one was caught, back in 2018. As a result, effort is being put into protecting this species. Farmland around the Serengeti erected electric fences in order to stop elephants from stealing their crops, however, unfortunately, they have been having an unintended consequence.

Pangolins need to be able to roam large distances, and they have been regularly being electrocuted. Unfortunately, they roll up in a ball, as a natural reaction to threat, and this has lead to many rolling up around the wire, thereby being electrocuted.

This discovery in 2018 was of a dead pangolin, and as a result, many farmers have changed how their electric fence works to help protect this creature.

There are only thought to be 30-80 pangolins left in the country, but by making these small changes, the few pangolins that remain will be able to thrive, and the population is likely to grow.

This is a pangolin sighting that was filmed on the Massai mara



Cheetahs are the undisputed king of speed – at least over the relatively small distances. They are stunning animals, and any sighting is a memory to be treasured.

Cheetah numbered as much as 100,000 wild members just one century ago. Now there is just 7000-8000. What happened? Well a large part of their decline is down to habitat loss. Unlike other cats, cheetah thrive outside protected reserves. This is not because cheetah never get killed by farmers – there are certainly problems, and some will be killed, however compared to the problems that the cheetah have when pushed into small reserves which dont allow enough space to get away from lions and leopards. In South Africa, as much as half of the cheetah population (which is about 1000) live on farm land. Despite the fact that they kill very little livestock, and indeed can actually benefit farmers by eating vermin that might eat crops.

Generally, cheetah live at low densities (except in the best reserves- places like the Serengeti, where their sprint ability is so useful) for instance, the Kruger which is the size of Wales, tends to only have a 100-200 cheetah in the whole area.

This makes them hard to see in the wild. On the other hand, one of the benefits is that Cheetah tend to hunt in the day (they hunt by site) and as such, if you go out in after lunch when most wildlife are lying in the shade.

All this means, that there is definitely a possibility to greatly improve their wild numbers, through a combination of removing poaching, and reintroducing them to places where they existed in the past.              

This is a cheetah that we encountered on a kill, on our last trip to the Kruger

There are currently 5 recognized subspecies of the cheetah, 4 in Africa, and the last few remaining in Iran. 

  • The northwestern africa cheetah is close to extinction (200 maximum – also known as the Saharan cheetah) is only seen occasionally and so is not one tourists go to see.
  • The north-east cheetah lives in South Sudan and Ethiopia and numbers between 1000-4000 (its status in Sudan, Eritria, Doubouti and Somalia is unknown.
  • The only remaining habitat of the Asiatic cheetah is in Iran where it is thought only 12 animals remain. It was lost from India 70 years ago.
The other two subspecies – are both well protected and well studied. These are represented in many of the reserves that we have listed (We hope to add reserves that cover the other subspecies as well, but these will be far harder to find the animal). 
  • Southern African Cheetah 
  • East African Cheetah                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Some of the biggest and most well protected Cheetah populations – to go and see them for yourself.

  • Kruger -400 with the south African population being around 1300
  • Serengeti massai mara ecosystem up to 1000
  • Namibia – reserves and free roaming, account for up to 3500 ( that high may be lower)
  • Botswana hosts around 1700 cheetah

Limpopo Transfrontier park including Kruger sabi sands and other conservation areas
Greater Serengeti

It should be noted that adding up these estimates already exceed the African cheetah population, but this is the case with plenty of reserves – an overestimate in the number of the species in an area often makes people more willing to visit. Possibly as this website grows we might be able to help in correcting this.

The Saharan cheetah roams a large area around the fringes of the Saharan desert, and only has around 100 wild members at the current time.

Other species in the Cheetah lineage (it shares its clade with nothing else) include the Jaguarundi and the Mountain Lion

Alternatively, to visit the rest of the cat family click here.

Agrovoltaics : what what is it and why are they interesting

There is often a concern that advances in efficiency and green technologies use more land and more resources, with these two processes that is not the case. 

Agrovoltaics involve putting solar panels above food crops. Food crops using a very small portion of the light that falls on them, and as such can often grow very effectively under solar panels so long as they don’t cut off too much of the light. Furthermore, while putting solar panels a metre or less of the ground is cheaper, these raised solar panels have a similar cost to roof based solar. 

A wide range of crops can be grown under solar panels

However there are also advantages for the the plants growing underneath. The amount of water evaporation is vastly lower, allowing more water hungry plants to grow well with less. The lower temperature also benefits many of the plant species.

Added to this of course is the ability for the farmer to sell megawatts of electricity each year. If enough farmers entered into this business and we invested in enough battery to store it for use in the evening and at night, we would eliminate the need for gas and coal powered electricity. Perhaps supporting rollout of Silvopasture could end the need for farmers to need additional finance from the government.

In the next article I will look at Silvopasture.

Bio-fuels are necessary if humans are to stop burning fossil fuels so what’s wrong?

Battery power is great for cars and taxis. Recently Tesla has shown you can make a viable electric lorry – claims the range isn’t far enough are absurd. Name one country when a lorry driver is allowed to drive for more than 4 hours without break – modern chargers can give you 4 hours of range in 15 to 30 minutes (a Tesla 3 or Y can have 180 miles in 15 minutes).

However, there are areas where fuels will be used, like rocketry. Now it is true that no one has yet made a rocket fly on biofuels, but that’s a different problem.

Continue reading “Bio-fuels are necessary if humans are to stop burning fossil fuels so what’s wrong?”
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