Posts on African Wildlife
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August 20, 2017

As featured on Huffington Post.

We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits: empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behaviour .

- Graydon Carter

Elephants are more intelligent than we've realised. Over the last decade, studies have shown much about their emotions, intelligence and social behaviours, and r...

January 16, 2017

He’s 42, has grey wrinkly skin and loves tummy rubs. Sudan is the last male Northern White rhino in the world. Protected 24/7 by highly-trained staff at Ol Pejeta, he leads a comfortable life. But you’d have to wonder what he’d think if he understood he was the last of his kind on the planet.

December 20, 2016

The morning is misty and the air is clearing. I’m sitting in a dug out canoe at Mabamba swamp in Uganda with a fisherman, drifting through papyrus reeds, watching pied kingfishers and long-tailed cormorants balance themselves on flimsy branches, yellow-billed ducks flying over purple waterlilies, long-toed plovers standing on floating stalks, flocks of terns flying about and the African jacana milling in the marshes. All sorts...

November 16, 2016

These regal and majestic looking birds roam the savannah, love grasslands, nest in wetlands and roost in trees. With white cheeks, yellow crowns tipped with black, and pale grey eyes, the stunning grey-crowned crane has gained recognition in the political rounds: they’re the national bird of Uganda; and as they symbolise wealth and longevity, have become trophy pets for the Rwandan elite. as a sign of wealth and longevity. The...

October 18, 2016

With no relation to hippocampus, the seahorse creature in Greek mythology, the hippopotamus, Greek for River or Waterhorse, is a vulnerable, fast-declining species, with only about 130,000 left in the wild- and there’s nothing mythical about that.
 

These vegetarians are battling with poaching and loss of habitat. Numbers have declined by up to 20% over the last decade, leaving them in a vulnerable status.
 

It’s strange to thin...

September 29, 2016

A European roller surveys the land from its high perch. Their pastel colours, like a soft watercolour painting, blends in with the open savannah.
 

It’s always such a treat to see any bird, anywhere. With so many different species in the world, you never know who is going to fly by or sit down next to you. Sweet, fleeting spirits. A quick hello and then they take off again, off on their flighty adventures- especially so in the...

September 3, 2016

As its name suggests, the Southern Ground-Hornbill stays on the ground for the most part. They’ll fly when required, flashing white feathers underneath the black ones, but when on solid terrain, they’re often looking for frog, lizard, and snake snacks, or if lucky, they’ll embark on a small sprint to catch an African hare.

Though if there was a race going on for these large birds, it wouldn’t be for a tasty meal- it’d be for th...

August 27, 2016

Botfly larvae, rotting skin, anthrax and rabies- you name it. They will clean it all up. If it weren’t for them, the savannah would be ridden by all sorts of bacteria and disease. But we might lose them all in under 100 years.

The largest vulture in Africa is the Lappet-faced, pictured here. They will aggressively swoop, pounce and caw at anyone getting in their way- including hyena and jackals- of a tasty meal of rotting flesh...

August 26, 2016

So what’s in a laugh? Well, nothing funny at all for the hyena. More often than not in mainstream media, they're portrayed in a negative light due to their scavenging ability. However this laughter is no sign of fun- they are in fact signs of distress or nervous excitement, and usually made during fight or flight mode. The sounds are typically produced when they are anxious and chasing a larger predator, or are being chased th...

August 20, 2016

With long rough tongues, these guys can comfortably go through about 30kg of leaves a day, tearing leaves and buds off their stems, which is garnished with prickly thorns. While they eat a lot, they can go for weeks without water, rivalling the camel’s ability to tolerate periods of drought.

The tallest land animal on earth is not only large, but fast, and can run at speeds of up to 60kmh/37mph for short periods- handy when run...

August 13, 2016

A Great White Pelican flies majestically through the skies.

Take off, however, may not be so majestic as there’s a lot of splashing around- but once in flight, they soar effortlessly with such grace. In flight, and if with a group, they’ll make nice lines or V shapes. The perfect airshow really, without the noise and fumes.

When it’s time to eat, usually in the mornings, they’ll employ the line approach again: if in a group, the...

July 30, 2016

While ellies aren’t usually associated with high speeds, they sure are fast. When necessary, they can clock speeds of up to 15mph / 24kmh. But speed isn’t the only defining factor of a run- it’s also the gait. Unlike most quadrupeds, elephants neither gallop or trot, but walk extremely fast and bounce without leaving the ground, allowing their centre of mass to move along faster.

Is this considered a run? The folks at Stanford...

July 23, 2016

An elegant Klipspringer surveys the land from the volcanic rock of Shetani Lava Flows.

This skilled ‘rock jumper’, as Klipspringer translates to from Afrikaans, has an incredible sense of balance and poise, prancing around on uneven kopjes and rock surfaces with absolute grace. Said to have the balance of a ballerina, they can stand with all hooves on a very small surface area, important when navigating all types of crevices of...

July 16, 2016

Unlike its name suggests, the vulturine fish eagle isn’t quite a vulture nor a fish eagle- it doesn’t scavenge, and its diet does not resemble that of either b

July 9, 2016

We have come to adore the lion, and yet its fellow hyena neighbours have been placed in the 'not so pretty’ category. What a misunderstanding!

Usually portrayed as scavengers, the spotted hyena is, in fact, a highly skilled hunter and more often than not, capture their own meals. The large brains of these intelligent creatures enable them to engage in complex decision-making and to exist within complex social arrangements insid...

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