Banded Mongooses, Fossiled Snakes and Elephant Ribs

Jan 30, 2024 | News

A WORLD FIRST. Experts in identifying fossil tracks and traces, Hayley, Cawthra Council for Geo Science, and Charles Helm, African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscince, in a recently published paper described the first snake trace in the fossil record. Found on South Africa’s Cape south coast it dates to the Pleistocene epoch. Studies have shown that it was probably made between 93,000 and 83,000 years ago, almost certainly by a puff adder (Bitis arietans).

The new catch word buzzing around is REWILDING. However, it is not new – conservationists, landscape designers, town planners and farmers have been talking about it for decades, but suddenly everyone is talking about turning land and forests back to nature.
Again there is much debate about rewilding – should one plant more areas of trees, or turn land into areas of sustainable crops that will feed everyone?
What do you think?

Bumi Hills Foundation and Anti–Poaching Unit asks:
Can you identify these sharp claws?
Answer at the end of this newsletter

BUMI HILLS FOUNDATION & ANTI POACHING UNIT is a small, dedicated band of people work tirelessly to help protect wildlife and the people living near it, on the shores of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. Their vision is to “stop at nothing to ensure that our diminishing wild places are protected against the destructive actions of poaching, preserved for the benefit of the environment and rehabilitated where necessary for the future generations of people and wildlife alike.” https://www.bumihillsfoundation.org/bumi-hills-foundation/
https://www.facebook.com/bumihillsfoundation

KENYA IS CALLING ….
Are you looking to buy or lease a beautiful beachfront home or apartment, build on virgin land or live in a vibrant town full of history and culture?
Tell us all about it africatalks@africatalked.co.za – dreams do come true!
OR just that longed-for holiday? We can recommend Safaris, Lodge and Hotels.

This is a photo of one of our favourite lodges on the coast – friends go back every year….

DID YOU KNOW? Echolocation helps bats navigate but also, research has shown, allows them to ‘chat’ with each other. Echolocation is a physiological process that uses sound waves reflected back to the emitter to locate distant or invisible objects such as prey. Echolocation is also by many other species such as hyena and elephants to help with orientation, obstacle avoidance, food acquisition, and social interactions.

What was the weather like world-wide in 2023?  Here it is.

PANGOLINS. While Nigeria is responsible for 95% of the illegal export of pangolin products, DNA testing shows that less than 5% of it originated there. Areas of intense poaching have moved eastward from Sierra Leone and Ghana to Cameroon.

AFRICAN PARKS have completed the first year of a ten year contract to manage Badingilo and Boma National Parks in South Sudan which are part of Africa’s largest land mammal migrations, where hundreds of thousands of white-eared kob, Mongalla gazelle, tiang and Bohor reedbuck.

Photo is of the Jie Tribe from the Kassangor Community Boma National Park, South Sudan, by Marcus Westberg.

Published annually, Sky Guide Southern Africa is a practical resource for all stargazers, whether novice, amateur or professional. Published by Penguin Random House, ISBN 9781775848677

A FREE VIDEO LIBRARY – Open Planet is an ever-growing, free visual library for creating impact on a global scale. Bringing together powerful footage and world-class science, we’re enabling everyone, everywhere to tell the story of our changing planet. https://www.openplanet.org

The BANDED MONGOOSE is one of the most social mongoose species, living in packs of usually up to 20 with one dominate male.

Primarily insectivorous they eat a variety of food, are very possessive about it, not sharing with the rest of the pack. They open hard food such as eggs or snails by throwing the food between their hind legs and onto a hard object.

Found in Africa south of the Sahara, except for the Congo and south western Africa they live in open habitat in grasslands, brush lands, woodlands and rocky country. They have a large range and may travel more than 5 miles a day to forage. Generally staying in one particular den for a few days at a time, they frequently return to favourite sites. While they are able to dig their own burrows they usually use a natural crevice or an existing hole created by another animal.
These mongooses have developed a vocabulary of calls to communicate with each other, as well as anal and cheek glands to scent-mark their territory. They may also scent-mark each other after group separation or a mild scare.

Mark Brightman of Bumi Hills Anti Poaching Unit hard at work, ‘do not disturb sleeping mongooses’

Unlike many mongoose species, banded mongooses are social and live in packs that average around 10 to 20 individuals, but can have as many as 40 individuals. There is one dominant male in the pack.

When a predator approaches banded mongooses, they bunch together and move as a group, creating the appearance of a single large animal. The individuals in front may even stand on their hind legs and make snapping lunges toward the predator.

What a wonderful, interesting, and informative email!!! Huge effort on your and Ian’s part – thank you! Keep well. Yours, Lindie Hensman.
Ed : wonderful to hear from you Lindie, you are still our favourite ‘Elephant Whisperer’

THE CLAWS?
Yes, they belong to a Banded Mongoose
We suspects Mark’s mongoose!

Go Well and be faithful to Nature
Lesley & Ian Thomson, Africa Talked
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