APPROACHING LIONS, MANGROVES, HYENA, PANTHER CHAMELEONS AND BOOKS.

Jan 31, 2023 | News

AFRICA TALKED – JANUARY 2023 NEWSLETTER

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The earth is God’s bride — she feeds the living and cherishes the dead. (Malagasy Proverb)

NOT RECOMMENDED! HOW CLOSE TO A LION CAN YOU APPROACH? The San (Bushmen) can read the moods of lions, and though they will not approach a bad-tempered or hungry lion, or a mother with cubs, they regularly approach usually to chase them away or take some of their kill. If there are two or more people approaching upright, lions will normally retreat, but not always!  The San are known to speak to the lion they approach and share waterholes with them, and it has been recorded that Maasai will steal food from a lion, the lion usually attacking their shields not the spears they carry if they are in a small group.

CLIMATE CHANGE. The importance of mangrove forests should never be underestimated. Not only can they capture carbon dioxide four times faster than a traditional forest, they also protect shorelines against the impact of storms and flooding, help reduce erosion and provide shelter and nutrition for thousands of species of fish, molluscs and birds. Nigeria is said to have the largest mangrove ecosystem in Africa. However, this superpower coastal forest is becoming smaller due to deforestation. Madagascar is said to have 2% of the world’s mangrove forests, of which 20% has already be lost. For more on the importance of mangroves and the important work being done to preserve and re-plant visit https://www.edenprojects.org.

DID YOU KNOW the collective term for rhinos is a ‘crush’ of rhino?

HYENAS are so often thought of as just scavengers forgetting how necessary they are to the eco-systems, and how intelligent they are – they have even been trained to detect land mines. Further research into their calling sound proves that they can discriminate members of their own groups from other groups. This means hyenas are able to remember the voices of their group mates to maintain contact with each other and coordinate their movements over long distances. This is an impressive accomplishment. To communicate over long distances, spotted hyenas use whoops, a loud, repetitive call that can be heard up to five kilometres away. When they hear this from their group mates they often travel far to help fight off lions or other intruders in the territory.

BOOKS

THE IVORY TOWERS and Other Short Stories by Ashwin Dave Due to the success of his debut novel WHEN ELEPHANTS FIGHT, https://www.africatalked.co.za/book- reviews/when-elephants-fight/ a fast-paced thriller set in Kenya, Ashwin Dave has re-launched his popular collection of short stories.
THE IVORY TOWERS and other Short Stories, the first in this eclectic collection of 7 stories, was the motivation for expanding the prevailing concern of poaching and the illicit trade in ivory into the full-length gripping novel. Not just Africa is portrayed in these short, and beautifully written stories mostly about human frailties, there is always a little historic background, an insight into cultural traditions – especially India – and each tale has an unexpected ending. Available

from Amazon https://www.africatalked.co.za/book-reviews/the-ivory-towers-and-other-short

ZIMBABWE’S TIMELESS BEAUTY The 2022 collection by Cathy Buckle This evocative and beautifully written little book delights with cameos of the lesser known beauty of Zimbabwe. Sharing the magic of the kopjes (hills) and dams in the sunrise, the antics of birds, driving in remote areas with stunning views, the squirrels, crocs, ducks , eagles and bush pigs, Cathy Buckle takes us behind the grandeur of massive waterfalls and mountain ranges to the country that Zimbabweans know and love. Known internationally for her regular ‘Letter from Zimbabwe’ and other books on Zimbabwe including ‘African Tears’ Cathy has produced the perfect gift book and memento of time spent in Zimbabwe. It is available on Amazon and in bookshops in Zimbabwe. https://cathybuckle.co.zw/

THE SOUL OF A LION : Reflections on a Life Lived with Animals by Willie Labuschagne. At the age of 27, Willie Labuschagne was appointed zoologist at the Johannesburg Zoo, thus starting a 50 year illustrious career in zoo management. This fascinating book begins with his time researching and tracking the desert cheetah in the Kgalagadi Gemsbok National Park in South Africa. Forming a close bond with his Khoi San colleagues Agarob and Izak, he recounts his experiences with a not-so-trusty Land Rover in the desert, living with the Bushmen, time spent in Namibia and Mozambique and numerous potential life-threatening situations. Becoming curator/director of the zoo Willie and his family raise Sebastian, a newborn lion that had been rejected by its mother. This is an entertaining insight into zoo management by a dedicated and visionary conservationist.
ISBN 978 1 998958 53 5 Published by Tracey McDonald Publishers

THE TRIALS OF LIFE – A Natural History of Animal Behaviour by David Attenborough
The final book in David Attenborough’s Life Trilogy and natural history which looks at the way animals use their bodies and the way they behave. Acknowledging the work done by so many dedicated researchers Attenborough does not claim to have written this subject, known as ethology, in a deep and technical way, but rather for the interested readers who want to know the happenings rather than the mechanisms that cause their behaviour. Yet again Attenborough has written an entertaining book full of fascinating facts and theories that leave the reader in awe about the incredible intricacies of nature.
ISBN 978 0 00 847789 9 Published by HarperCollins UK/Jonathan Ball Publishers

UGANDA. The Minister for Information Godfrey Kabbyanga has confirmed the cabinet’s approval to build a pipeline from the oilfields to the Tanzanian coast. A campaign has been established to stop this, saying it will displace thousands of people and endanger ecosystems.


ZAMBIA. While African Parks reported that the seven Busanga lion cubs in Liuwa continue to thrive they also advise that Mesolithic stone tools and Late Iron Age ceramics were found by staff around Chunga Head Quarters.


ETHIOPIA is the largest producer of honey in Africa and produces approximately 45,300 tonnes annually. Tanzania is Africa’s second-biggest producer of honey.

PANTHER CHAMELEON (Furcifer pardalis)

Native to the eastern and northern parts of Madagascar, the panther
chameleon’s coloration varies with its location. Commonly referred to as ‘locales’ the ones from the Nosy Be, Ankify and Ambanja area are usually vibrant blue, whilst those from Ambilobe, Antisirana and Sambava are red, orange or green. Numerous other colour phases and patterns occur between and within regions with the females generally remaining tan, brown with a little pink, or bright orange. They grow up to 40 – 51 cms.

On each foot, the five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, each with a sharp claw to help when climbing. On the front feet there are two toes on the outer (distal) side of each foot and three on the inside (medial). On the hind legs, the arrangement is reversed: two toes are fused medially and three distally. They have very long tongues, with a sticky tip which they use to prey on terrestrial invertebrates. They very rarely eat plant material and crush their prey with strong jaws before swallowing it.

Very territorial the male chameleon spends most of its life in isolation. Females turn dark brown or black when carrying eggs. They can lay five to eight clutches of between 10 and 40 eggs per clutch. Due to the stress this causes their bodies, they do not live much longer than two to three years after laying their eggs. The gestation period is usually 240 days. They have now been introduced to Réunion and Mauritius.

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Go Well and be faithful to Nature
Lesley & Ian Thomson, Africa Talked
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Previous issues of the Africa Talked Newsletter can be read on https//www.africatalked.co.za/news (Photo credit Unknown)

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