Working for birds in Africa

Introduction

Tue, 01/01/2013 - 17:05 -- abc_admin

African birdlife has an enormous appeal for birdwatchers, avian photographers, ornithologists and even for tourists with only a passing interest in wildlife. Almost 2,500 species of 111 families have been seen in the mainland of Africa, its associated islands and around its coasts. Of these, perhaps 1,800 species and a remarkable 20 bird families are found only in this geographic area.

Successful management of African mountain hotspot!

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.

1st Symposium on Wild birds and emerging zoonotic diseases

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.

Engaging tomorrow's conservationists

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

Cape Gannets are starving due to depleted fish stocks

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.

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