Widely shared by conservation organizations and activists, this graphic invitation for tourists to slaughter excessive numbers of birds provoked indignation and disgust among Internet users, who are calling on the Tunisian authorities to eradicate these barbaric practices. Because let's be clear - no matter how horrible these images are, and whatever we think of the Lebanese Hunting Club and the hunters who are immortalized in these photos, the hunting trip that produced such carnage was almost definitely authorised under Tunisian law.
The Markdale group, one of four Site Support Groups (SSGs) which BLZ established in the Driefontein Grasslands IBA in 2009, works closely with BLZ in promoting the conservation of two species of crane. Up to 85% of Zimbabwe's Wattled Crane population, and important numbers of the Grey Crowned-crane, are found in this IBA.
Until now, only a few intrepid ecotourists have ventured out to Mahavavy-Kinkony in Madagascar, a habitat packed with extraordinary and rare wildlife. But that looks set to change with a new initiative to expand birding tourism – for the benefit of both wildlife and local livelihoods.
Amur Falcons Falco amurensis are incredible long-distance migrants. During their travels from their breeding grounds in north-east Asia, hundreds of thousands of them cross the Indian Subcontinent and the Indian Ocean to their wintering grounds in southern Africa. However, in November 2012, an estimated 100,000 falcons didn’t make it past Nagaland, a state in north-east India.
This year Bird Life International is launching an innovative new programme that uses satellite technology and a mobile phone app to help local people, such as these Papua New Guineans, monitor their forest homes,
Rocky mountain peaks push up out of a lush green carpet of forest, shaded by scuttling clouds. Many of these mountains were born from fire, breaking into the world as volcanoes, but now their appearance couldn’t be more tranquil. This is the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot, a site of incredible importance for over 10,000 species of animal and plant – almost a third of which are endemic to this one area.
These last ten years have seen a significant increase in the movement of infectious agents and risk of pandemics: global expansion of bird flu since 2003, H1N1 in 2009, to cite just a few examples. These recent outbreaks highlight the increasing globalization of health risks and the importance of the human-animal-ecosystem interface in evolution and the emergence of pathogens.
As the Spring Alive season in Africa draws to a close, we can bask in the glow of a job well done. This year, we’ve thought outside the box to come up with innovative ways of getting children to really engage with the birds they share their day-to-day lives with. These have included our first ever children’s story book, a Spring Alive cuddly toy, and even a bird fact “advent calendar”. Here are three projects whose success has encapsulated this season’s achievements:
(1) 30 Days of Spring
(2) Children’s book release
(3) Conservation Club workshops
The Mediterranean Basin is the second largest “biodiversity hotspot” in the world, supporting 10% of the world’s plants (about 25,000 species), almost 300 mammal species (38 terrestrial endemics), 534 bird species (63 endemic species), 622 freshwater fish species, and 308 reptile species (almost 40% being endemic).
The Afrikaans name for the Cape Gannet Morus capensis is “Malgas”, meaning “mad goose”. This makes sense when you see this large seabird on the ground. Their ungainly waddle, coupled with the difficulty they have in taking off when there isn’t any wind, does appear quite comical. But at sea and they are different birds entirely. When feeding, they plunge into the water like arrows, to depths of up to 20 metres.