Oct 20, 2022 | News

We must teach our children to smell the earth, to taste the rain, to touch the wind, to see things grow, to hear the sun rise and night fall – to care. John Cleal, Artist & Poet, 1929–2007

LION – in a recent study at the University of Pretoria it was found that, for reasons not clearly understood, cattle with mixed coloured coats are most likely to be attacked.  Cattle with black-and-brown mottled coats were preferred while pure black, white and dark brown colouring was avoided.  The research team included the CLAWS Conservancy and the University of Newcastle’s School of Environment and Life Sciences.  

WHAT IS ECO-TOURISM?  Many companies and operators flaunt the word ‘eco-tourism’ when promoting their venues and services.  Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the wellbeing of local people and involves interpretation and education” When booking a safari or venue in Africa, check that they comply with responsible tourism and where possible they help the community.


18 year-old Christian Stander was born and raised in Zimbabwe.
 Mostly a self-taught artist, Christian has a rare talent for portraying horses as well as wildlife and African scenery.  He was mentored by his artistic father and for a very short period by internationally renowned artist Larry Norton.

Kafue National Park, (KNP) together with the surrounding Game Management Areas, (GMA) forms a vast area of 45,000 sq km, and is collectively known as Kafue Park.  Tracing the history from the early days of the first Bantu arriving in the area driving out the bushmen, followed raiders taking  cattle, slaves and ivory, then the arrival of the British and missionaries bringing Christianity, Gill Staden tells a fascinating story of the cultural and historical development of this wilderness. This very entertaining book will be enjoyed by visitors to the country, historians and anyone interested in the history of Zambia. 9 798 407 9507 14 – Available through Amazon or Gill Staden


PROTECT OUR PLANETTake action with Romario. Only 11-years-old award-winning Romario Valentine from Durban (South Africa) has published a book to help children understand the importance of protecting the planet.
An ‘eco-warrior’ he has, through his conservation projects in Africa and other parts of the world, become a dynamic campaigner for the future health of our planet. In Protect our Planet, he enthusiastically guides young nature lovers through key environmental topics – from recycling, reforestation, pollution solutions and climate change with step-by-step projects.  This superb book is full of colour, masses of information, ideas and simple ways of helping preserve the plant. Suitable for all ages and one that should be in every home. 
ISBN 978 1 77584 823 3 Published by Struik Nature / Penguin Random House

100 ANIMALS That Can F*cking End You: A Hilarious Guide to the World’s Most Deadly Creatures by Mamadou Ndiaye.
This book is a tongue-in-cheek and very entertaining collection of the deadliest animals on earth from TikTok star Mamadou Ndiaye who was working as an environmental science field technician when he downloaded TikTok in April 2020. Since then he has been followed by more than 10 million people on the app, and his YouTube videos featuring his distinctive takes on animal biology and behaviour have been viewed 62 million times.  Funny, educational, colourful, with some fantastic photography and full of facts, some quite scary, there is a hilarious audio version narrated by the author himself.  ISBN978 1 4722 9492 0 Published by Headline / Jonathan Ball Publishers

ZIMBABWE: Due to years of good management and growth of wildlife populations in the Savé Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe’s south-east lowveld, 3,000 animals are being translocated to restore biodiversity numbers of the under-populated private Sapi Reserve on the Zambezi River east of Mana Pools.  The wildlife translocation is collaboration between the Government of Zimbabwe, Great Plains Conservation and its Foundation, Zimbabwe National Parks (ZimParks), Savé Valley Conservancy and Sango Wildlife Conservancy.
 This translocation includes 400 elephants and iconic species like lions, wild dogs, buffalo, and impala. The translocations for 2022 are complete and will resume in next year’s dry months.
Contrary to misinformation in some media the translocation IS NOT being undertaken due to drought, and no giraffe or wildebeest, will be translocated there as the habitation is not suited to their survival. 

(Photo by Beverley Joubert – Great Plains Conservation – Project Rewild Zambezi).

Kariba International Tiger Fishing Tournament (KITFT) will be held on an entirely “Catch and Release” basis, which takes place on Lake Kariba 26 – 28 October 2022.  The new environment-friendly approach to the competition has attracted a record number of incredible prizes.  Each angler who catches a qualifying fish of 30cm and over will go into a draw to win 3 nights for 6 people, in Fothergill’s Island Suite Lodge on an all inclusive basis!  For more information about the competition visit
Ed:  It was hard to choose a photo of a tiger fish without a proud angler grinning behind it – including our own – so we chose one of Chris Otto and his 3.2 kg tiger caught on Lake Kariba

TANZANIA:  Dear Lesley and Ian, Many thanks for your excellent newsletter. It is absolutely unbelievable and heart rendering to read about the plight of the Maasai. This is atrocious for a tribe who are and have been great conservationists and get on with own life. I can never understand how, in this day and age, something like this still happens.  Sheer greed as usual? All the best Marion..  Ed:  We have recently heard that many of the Maasai seeking refuge in Kenya are hoping to return to their homeland.  We don’t know if this is happening yet.  LIONS – are they endangered or not?  We have been receiving information that they are endangered, that they are not endangered, they should be kept in captivity to breed; they should never be in captivity.  Lots of opinions! 
A hundred years ago over 200,000 lions roamed Africa and Asia. Now they estimate about 20,000.  Looking at Africa it is believed that lions are extinct in at least 26 countries, especially towards the north of Africa.  When these lions disappeared so did their unique genes which enabled them to lie in harsh environments. 
In Western and Central Africa the lion population has declined by two-thirds in the last 20 years.  Whilst most of these countries have a population of +/- 20 lions, it is estimated there are around 200 lions surviving on the border of Benin and Burkino Faso.                                                            

Lions – Pencil drawing by Christian Stander

In Eastern Africa lions outside of protected areas are not doing well, due mainly to wildlife/human conflict with lions talking cattle.
Due to tourism and funding, Southern Africa’s populations have increased by 12%  in protected areas, and decreased by 10% in unfenced areas and are listed as of least concern. The IUCN Redlist says lions are threatened, however while it is possible populations may decrease it is unlikely they will become totally extinct in Africa.
The solution?  True, sustainable conservation through lifting front-line communities out of poverty and giving them an incentive to conserve.  

We share some ‘facts’ from Mamadou Ndiaye’s book 100 Animals That Can F*cking End You
BLACK RHINO.  “Nature decided to give this freight train with legs a keratin horn and bipolar disorder, then it dumped this walking temper tantrum into Africa for plot development.” 
WILD DOGS: “Only the dominant male and female are allowed to lift their leg to pee.”
BUFFALO:  “Are you still expecting advice on how to outwit one? Climb a tree.”
HIPPO: “Can write your death certificate and hand it to you at nearly thirty miles an hour.”
SECRETARYBIRD: “This African homicide chicken tap dances on the graves of snakes and anyone else that tries to test it.”
PEREGRIN FALCON: “can maxout at speeds of more than 240 miles an hour, making them the fastest animals in the world.  This is really bad news if you’re a pigeon”. 
GORILLAS: “Hate water, and they really hate rain.”
HUMANS.  “I’ve saved the most dangerous to last.”

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