TOO GOOD TO WASTE, FAIRY CIRCLES and the rare CONGO PEAFOWL

Nov 11, 2022 | News

AFRICA TALKED – OCTOBER 2022 NEWSLETTER

A HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who have donated towards this newsletter. It is so heartening to know that our work, via this free newsletter, is being appreciated and enjoyed. We also thank those readers who send in news, their views and information. Without you AFRICA TALKED could not continue to let the world know all about Africa.


BUT NOT IN AFRICA. To date, almost 20 countries have signed up to Too Good to be Wasted. The concept is to sell unsold food from grocery stores and restaurants/cafes at a reduced price. This not only helps the business, but helps feed people at a reduced cost. HOWEVER, so far no country in Africa, where there is so much hunger, has signed up to this – you can find out more on https://toogoodtogo.com/en-us

CONGRATULATIONS
to Neddy Mulimo of Zambia on receiving the Tusk Trust Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa 2022. With a lifetime protecting wildlife Mulimo, 55 years old, is the Senior Ranger Support Manager for Zambia’s Specialist Anti-Poaching Units (SAPUs). He will receive his award at the Tusk Award ceremony at Hampton Court Palace on 1 November. The 2021 winner was Simson Uri-Khob from Namibia.



NAMIBIA’S FAIRY CIRCLES. Researchers from the University of Göttingen, benefitting
from two exceptionally good rainfall seasons in the Namib Desert, show that the grasses within
the fairy circles died immediately after rainfall, and termite activity did not cause the bare
patches. Instead, continuous soil-moisture measurements demonstrate that the grasses
around the circles strongly depleted the water within the circles and thereby likely induced the death of the grasses inside the circles. The results were published in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2022.125698


BOOKS – THE CARBON ALMANAC
This important book is a collaboration of hundreds of volunteer writers, researchers, designers, leaders and illustrators from
around the world. Full of facts, not opinions, with easy- to-follow text, diagrams and cartons it clearly emphasises the effects of carbon’s impact on our world, the economy and human health as well as the effects on our environment. Inspiring people to take a closer look at our life-styles and the world around us, readers can connect directly to a particular article in the book using a direct code at the end of each text to their website www.carbonalmanac.org. Edited and with a foreward by Seth Godin.

https://www.africatalked.co.za/bookreviews/the-carbon-almanac/
ISBN 978 0 241 59482 7 Published Worldwide by Penguin Business/ Penguin Random House


BURCHELLS’S AFRICA ODYSSEY Revealing the return journey 1812-1815
by Roger Stewart & Marion Whitehead

This superb book reveals the return journey from the southern Kalahari via the Karoo and southern coastal belt back to Cape Town, undertaken by the English naturalist William John Burchell who set off from Cape Town in June 1811 to explore the flora and fauna of the vast southern African interior. With Burchell’s letters, handwritten records, maps he drew, beautiful illustrations and colour photographs and descriptive text by the authors, this collection of some of his work will be treasured. There is fascinating information on Burchell himself.

https://www.africatalked.co.za/book-reviews/burchellsafrica-odyssey/
ISBN978 1 77584 815 8 Published by Penguin Random House SA


DID YOU KNOW Zimbabwe has more than 530 species of butterfly, ranging from large, hand-sized species such as the Citrus Swallowtail to small, thumbnail-sized species such as the Zebra Blue? (Photo credits Arthur Harmsworth)


CONDOLENCES are extended to the family, friends and colleagues on the tragic death of a 16-month old girl trampled by a giraffe. Her young brother and mother received severe injuries. This tragedy just emphasises what every person who has lived and/or worked with wildlife say “wild animals belong in the wild. They protect their own and react quickly if surprised and can be unpredictable.” In this case it is thought the giraffe was protecting its calf.

SOUTH AFRICA. Gold, iron, lead, arsenic, silver, platinum and tin are all heavy metals, with an atomic weight and density at least five times greater than water. They occur naturally in the environment, and in some cases, in our bodies. They’re mostly considered harmless but at certain levels of exposure they can be toxic to human, plant and animal life. Being over exposed to heavy metals can stunt plants’ growth and lower seed production. Some plants have evolved traits that increase their tolerance of heavy metals. Research by Marshall Keyster, Associate Professor, University of the Western Cape, SA focuses on improving the tolerance of plants to heavy metals, which is particularly important in a country like South Africa, where mining activities contaminate soils. These soils are critical for agriculture.

ZAMBIA. During the last planting season Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO)
were able to help farmer cooperatives plant over 40 million Gliricidia sepium trees to
improve crop yields and move farmers away from the costly dependence on chemical
fertilizers. COMACO has now set the goal of planting 100 million trees. Farmers have seen
the benefits of agroforestry with this species and more farmers are asking for help to farm
this way. https://itswild.org

THE CONGO PEAFOWL, also known as the African peafowl or mbulu by the Bakôngo, is the only true pheasant and member of the subfamily Pavoninae native to Africa. It is endemic to the central lowland forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) occurring in both primary and secondary forest in the Salonga National Park. It has also been recorded in the Maiko National Park.

In 1934 American ornithologist Dr. James Chapin (1889-1964) noticed that the native Congolese headdresses contained long reddish-brown feathers that he could not identify with any
previously known species of bird. It wasn’t until 1955 Chapin managed to find seven
specimens of the species.

The Congo peafowl has physical characteristics of both the peafowl and the guinea fowl
which may indicate that the species is linked. The male (peacock) is a large bird of up to 64–70 cm (25–28 in) in length. Its feathers are deep blue with a metallic and violet tinge. It has bare red neck skin, grey feet, and 14 black tail feathers. On its crown are vertical white elongated hair-like feathers.

The female (peahen) measures up to 60–63 centimetres (24–25 in) in length and is usually chestnut brown with a black abdomen, metallic green back, and a short chestnut brown crest.

The Congo peafowl’s diet consists mainly of fruits and a multitude of insects, spiders, molluscs and worms. It is thought to be monogamous. The female will scrape out a hollow in the ground and lay two to four brown eggs. She will incubate the eggs for about 28 days while the male stands guard nearby. The chicks hatch in a well-developed state. Both parents help feed and raise the chicks and are able to run and forage for food on their own within a few days of hatching.
It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and is the national bird of the DRC.


Go Well and be faithful to Nature


Lesley & Ian Thomson, Africa Talked
W. www.africatalks.co.za
E. www.africatalked.co.za
SELECTED DESITNATIONS W: www.africatalked.co.za/where-to-go-in-africa

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