ELEPHANTS, VICTORIA FALLS AND CLIMATE CHANGE FOR BIRDS

Nov 22, 2022 | News

AFRICA TALKED – NOVERMBER 2022 NEWSLETTER

When you look at an elephant what do you see?
This?
Thanks to Eiyy Mzazi, Naivasha, Kenya, for sending
this and pointing out that with such a skeleton an elephant is not conducive to riding.

VICTORIA FALLS – RESTAURANT DEVELOPMENT AND COMMERCIALISATION OF CATARACT ISLAND

We ask the developers to justify why they are building on a WORLD HERITAGE SITE and why building of the restaurant has started without the necessary permission?
They are:
Restaurant: Andrew Lane of Scanner Investments P/L / Victoria Falls Investments P/L
Cataract Island : Mike Bosch of Adage Success P/L.
Apparently this is with approval from Zimbabwe
National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority,
Director Mr Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya.
(Photo by Tom Varley)

HERE ARE A FEW comments sent to us about this development.
Negotiators at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt have agreed to discuss setting up a fund that could see higher- income nations pay reparations to vulnerable nations already struggling with the impacts of climate change. What is the point of that if the Governments of these “vulnerable” developing Countries haven’t understood that it’s negotiating deals like these that cause immense harm to the environment. Their interest seem to be all about making money from their “natural resources”, not having any concern for what this development will do to the environment. Colonialism ended a long time ago, and the Colonial Governments of those years are not responsible for the environmental degradation and destruction that has taken place since these countries become independent. The extraction of Oil and minerals, and the building of industrial projects, which have caused pollution and environmental destruction have been brokered by these independent governments.
“Shame Zimbabwe, shame .” “Greed”
“Cannot believe that a Zimbabwean builds there, has he no shame?”

DID YOU KNOW Octopuses have 9 ‘brains’? One central brain is used for overall control. At the base of
each arm is a group of nerve cells which can control each arm independently, acting as smaller brains. The
octopus performs its famous backward swim by blasting water through a muscular tube on the body called a siphon.
Octopuses also crawl along the ocean’s floor, tucking their arms into small openings to search for food.

CONGRATULATIONS!

The Park Warden of Mozambique’s Maputo National Park, Miguel Goncalves, was presented with the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa at the Tusk Conservation Awards at Hampton Court Palace, London. Under Miguel’s inspiring leadership over the past 12 years, Maputo National Park – that is co- managed by Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas and Peace Parks – has been transformed from an over-exploited ecosystem in crisis, to a wildlife haven that is cherished and protected not only by those who work in the park, but also by local communities and businesses, united in this cause through Miguel’s advocacy. https://www.tusk.org/news/introducing-miguel-goncalves/

BOOKS

www.africatalked.co.za/book-reviews

Wilderness Dreaming
Greg du Toit, one of Africa’s most acclaimed wildlife photographers, believes in the raw beauty of Africa and in the power for photography to give wild animals a voice. This exciting and action-packed memoir captures the intimate moments – he lived with the Maasai in Kenya and “discovered a secret waterhole” – that he experienced. A wonderful book to treasure for its evocative portrayal of wild Africa, this book is
due for release in January 2023 by HPH Publishing
www.hphpublishing.co.za.

2023 Sky Guide
Produced by the Astronomical Society Sky Guide 2023 now features more star charts,
astrophotos and greater geographical coverage. A practical and easy-to-follow
guide, with photographs and diagrams, it is a wealth of information about the Sun, Moon,
planets, comets, meteors and bright stars.
Published by Struik Nature/Penguin Random House. ISBN 978 1 77584 7243

VELD BIRDS OFS OUTHERN AFRICA -The Complete
Photographic Guide

By Burger Cillié, Niel Cillié, Phil Penlington, Trevor Hardaker, Karin Wielser
This beautifully presented guide incorporates the latest clear photographs of, and research and atlas information on, all 991 species of birds recorded in southern Africa to date. Together with a BirdScan App that includes bird calls, this 560 page glossy guide may be a bit heavy to use in the field, but is an essential for all birders – novice and experienced birders alike.

Endorsed by Birdlife South Africa, ISBN 978-1-92836-312-5 Published by Game Parks Publishing / Sunbird Publishers an illustrated imprint of Jonathan Ball Publishers

SARAH HARDY

Sarah, though now based in north England, is an artist who has lived and worked around Africa for extensive periods. Her work is visually diverse, but essentially rooted in the value of sentience and nature in the most holistic sense. She uses her work to express relative lessons found in the natural world and the thematic nature that runs throughout humanity. https://www.africatalked.co.za/art/sarah-hardy/

CLIMATE CHANGE – so much is being said, how much is being done? Link into free books to
download from the CARBON ALMANAC for educators;
https://thecarbonalmanac.org/177/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=email&utm_cam
and one for children – especially those that want to teach adults!
adultshttps://thecarbonalmanac.org/kids/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaig

THE EFFECTS ON BIRDS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
A recent study showed that how hot a bird’s body temperature could get – “maximum tolerable body temperature” – differed in unexpected ways among bird species from different climatic regions, suggesting that birds from different climates will handle extreme heat differently. Birds may have evolved depending on where they lived alongside their ability to handle heat. This study examined 53 bird species from hot arid, cool mountainous or warm humid coastal regions of southern Africa.

The study found that desert birds comfortably handled air temperatures exceeding 50°C, without a dramatic increase in their body temperature. They maintained body temperatures below approximately 44.5°C.


The red-billed quelea, which occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, could cope with a body temperature increase to an astounding 48°C without any ill effect. This was previously thought physiologically impossible among birds. https://theconversation.com/birds-evolve-different-body-temperatures-in-different-

Elephants are symbolic of wild Africa.
There are two different species in Africa – the African Savannah, (Loxodonta Africana) and the African forest (Loxodonta cyclotis). The differences are that the African forest elephant is more slender and slightly smaller with straighter, smaller tusks, and their ears are more rounded. The African elephant’s ears are likened to the map of Africa (the smaller Indian elephant to the map of India).

Communication is vital to elephants, which rely on a social network for survival. They have a wide range of sounds and are capable of producing and hearing sounds one to two octaves lower than humans. As lower frequency sounds travel far their range of communication is extensive and they can judge the distance from another elephant based on the pitch of his/her call.

These sub-sonic rumbles can travel through the ground faster than sound through air.

Elephants are extremely intelligent and are believed to rank equal with dolphins in terms of problem-solving abilities, and are as clever as chimpanzees. The elephant’s temporal lobe (the area of the brain associated with memory) is larger and denser than that of people – hence the saying ‘elephants never forget’.

Musth (originally a Persian word) means a state of drunkenness, hilarity, ecstasy, desire, or lust and elephants are the only animals known to have a temporal gland that secretes this. It affects sexually mature male elephants, between the ages of 20 and 50, occurring annually and lasts for a period of between 2-3 weeks, usually during the hot season. During this time, the elephant becomes highly agitated, aggressive, and can be dangerous.

However, musth is not thought to be entirely sexual in nature as elephants mate outside the musth period. When in musth, a strong smelling oily secretion flows from a gland above the eye and the males will constantly dribble urine.

Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk. African elephants have two ‘fingers’ at the tip of their trunks. Their trunks are perhaps the most sensitive organ found in any mammal. They use their trunks to suck up water to drink, holding up to 8 litres, and as a snorkel when swimming. Their skin is 2.5cm thick in most places.  The folds and wrinkles in their skin can retain up to 10 times more water than flat skin does, which helps to cool them down.

FUN FACTS:
*** Elephants need to eat up to 150kg of food per day – that’s around 375 tins of baked beans
*** Elephants are one of very few species to recognize themselves in a mirror!

*** They hate bees and buzzing insects, and don’t like the smell and taste of chilies.
Photos : (Baby Elephant by Bushcamps: Elephant Trunk by Peter Webb)

Go Well and be faithful to Nature
Lesley & Ian Thomson, Africa Talked
W. www.africatalks.co.za
E. africatalks@africatalked.co.za
W. www.africatalked.co.za/where-to-go-in-Africa

Previous issues of the Africa Talked Newsletter can be read on

https//www.africatalked.co.za/newsletters

AFRICA TALKED is a small volunteer group (not-for-profit) helping create Awareness of Africa through conservation, tourism, African art, books, people and places. Donations to help this work would be appreciated, even the tiniest!

While great care is taken to check all facts AFRICA TALKED does not hold itself responsible for any information that may be deemed incorrect. Opinions quoted are those of the person/people submitting them and are not necessarily those of AFRICATALKED.