Category Archives: Serengeti

Hands Off says Transworld Safaris

We are extremely grateful to Sushil Chauhan and Transworld Safaris (Kenya) Ltd for their support and branding their fleet with the Hands Off Our Elephants stickers.

On vehicle up close

On vehicle up close

 

Transworld

We look forward to seeing these stickers on more and more vehicles.

 

 

Serengeti Highway cancelled

In what appears to be a great accomplishment for conservation, the Tanzanian Government has cancelled plans to build a highway across the  Serengeti. WildlifeDirect wrote  about the threat of the Serengeti Highway back in June when the decision by the Tanzanian government at the time seemed impossible to reverse.

While the decision by the government to scrap plans for the highway appears wise, the truth remains that it took tremendous pressure from NGO’s like WildlifeDirect,  the IUCN, The World Heritage Commission, the German and US Governments. And this was despite support from China to build the road!

While many are celebrating success, we remain cautious. The official statement reads

“The State Party confirms that the proposed road will not dissect the Serengeti National Park and therefore will not affect the migration and conservation values of the Property,”,

It does not explicitly say that the proposed road is actually cancelled.

We remain vigilant because it is not clear what this statement really means.

Paula

In the Mara Wildebeest Migration podcast

Dear Friends,

Last week I visited the Masai Mara with conservationists and a news reporter as part of preparations in producing a news piece about the situation.

Listen to my 5 minute podcast with sounds of the wildebeest crossing the river, and lions roaring here

The sight and sounds of the plains swarming with wildebeest is something that all citizens of planet earth should one day enjoy. It will not be possible if the Tanzanians build a highway across the migrating path of the wildebeest. I took tons of photos and recorded the sounds of these extraordinary animals.

wildebeest2small1.3 million wildebeest and Zebra arrive in Kenya after months of trekking across the Tanzanian savannas in search of short sweet grass of the Mara plains in Kenya. It’s the dry season and they are hungry.

wildebeest3small

They form fantastic concentrations not seen anywhere else in the world

wildebeest1small

But to get to the sweet grass they have to cross the mighty Mara River – it can take hours before the first animal takes the plunge.

vulture flyingsmallPredators are aware that there will be a feeding frenzy – vultures glide overhead in anticipation.

taking plungesmall2The first wildebeest take the plunge and begin the frantic panic across the raging river.

tourists migration2smallSeveral tourist vans arrive to watch the spectacle which goes on for hours.

wildebeest calfsmallOnce they’ve crossed mothers try to find their calves

crocodile2small

The massive crocodiles didn’t take a single animal in the crossing we watched – too full from gorging themselves the day before.

The Tanzanian Government plans to construct a highway across the Serengeti which will stop the migrating wildebeest and bring and end to the great migration. If you would like to know more about this impending crisis, please check out my previous posts on it.

Please join us in protesting the Tanzanian authorities who plan to build the Serengeti Highway by joining the Facebook group and signing this petition on Care2.

Using radio for conservation – highlights

This blog post celebrates features that we’d like to draw your attention to this month. Did you know that WildlifeDirect is on the Radio? We’ve been using PRX an online Public Radio Exchange –a community radio based in USA to share our interviews and some of our stories on WildlifeDirects own PRX channel . If you haven’t heard about them here is a list of some of our favourite Radio pieces on PRX.com

Saving the Mathews Range a 22 minute  debate recorded around a campfire in a wilderness campsite in a little known remote isolated tropical forest capped mountain in Kenyas northern deserts (8.5 mins).

Paula Kahumbu who is married to the BBC reporter on the story to the Mathews Range assisted in the video and online piece that is currently on the BBC website

Serengeti disaster on the horizonThe Serengeti Highway Richard Leakey discusses the looming end to the wildebeest migration as a result of the planned Serengeti Highway (8.5 minutes).

Can global targets for carbon emissions be met in fast growing developing nations? Paula Kahumbu talks to a low income earner in Kenya to illustrate the challenges that African countries will face in confronting targets for reducing green house gas emissions to meet climate change targets (4 mins).

Poisoning lions. An authoritative 5 minute piece about the continuing decline of lions due to killing of lions in Kenya poisoned using a deadly pesticide called carbofuran

Secrets of the sexy stalk eyed fliesa funny 1 minute interview with insect lover Dino Martins about a bizarre fly

Please listen to  our stories and share widely

Stop the Serengeti Highway

The big story that we are seeking action this month is the Serengeti Highway. It is beyond imagination that the great migration could disappear forever.  It seems unthinkable that anyone would do anything to cause the migration to cease. Yet, it’s actually happening! We told the story of a  controversial decision made by Tanzanian authorities to build a highway right across the migration path of millions of wildebeest and other animals in the Serengeti National Park. The global consequence of destroying the wildebeest migration is unthinkable, it is something that no individuals, politicians, presidents or anyone, should be allowed to take. I also interviewed Richard Leakey about the story and he reminded us that Tanzania needs to develop the region for the people of Tanzania, and he made some sober recommendations which we hope the Tanzanians will be considering. The Serengeti Highway story also aired on Mongabay.com one of the worlds largest  conservation blogs after the webmaster invited me to submit the story to them too

Nature radio in Seychelles

Meanwhile in Seychelles, Nirmal Shah of Nature Seychelles has been producing wonderful radio pieces about nature that are aired on local radio but can also be listened to online. It’s wonderful to hear him describing lying in mud to observe water skimmers, tiny insects that most of us ignore.

Nairobi National park zebra migration

One of the most important dry season grazing for wildlife in the Athi Kapiti plaisn is the Nairobi National Park. It often hosts thousands of animals on a seasonal basis. The park, which lies within the city boundaries, is in trouble precicely because of it’s location. Developments, encroachment, poaching and pollution are all exacting a toll on this wonderful wildlife refuge. Through his regular posts adorned with spectacular photographs, Will Knocker reminds about what makes Nairobi Park special. This week the Zebra migration is in full swing – a wonderful spectacle, especially for those who cannot make it to the Masai Mara to witness the great migration which has just started there.

Poisoning wildlife – the Ongoing debacle

More than two years after WildlifeDirect began reporting the escalation of pesticide poisoning of wildlife in Kenya, the authorities have finally taken it up and created a multi sector Task Force to address the problem. Representing conservation organizations in Kenya, Paula Kahumbu is has been attending the meetings. She reports on the frustrations and the modest progress on that front on the Baraza blog. Meanwhile Martin Odino continues to report the poisoning of birds in Kenya’s irrigation schemes  on http://stopwildlifepoisoning.org, and Munir Virani and others raise the alarm about vulture poisoning in Africa.

Other wonderful posts

Video footage from a mobile phone of a sunbear climbing is my favourite post this week.

Lion guardians find a new pair of magnificent males – in an area where lions have been severely persecuted. Predator Aware team also capture two hunting cheetah brothers in spectacular photographs.

We support all your donations  towards WildlifeDirect or any of our partner blogs.

Volunteer opportunities

Art for conservation are looking for volunteers to help in Rwanda.  Read more in their Art for Gorilla blog.