Nature news

HR-shutterstock_413856229Paul Udoto with the latest from KWS

Lions’ waning roar
According to the 2015 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, African lion populations experienced an overall decline of 43 per cent between 1993 and 2014. While numbers increased in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe by 12 per cent over the same period, thanks to good wildlife management, other sub-populations in the rest of Africa have plummeted by 60 per cent.

Dive training
Tourism, underwater research, community fishing, marine park management and public safety in the Indian Ocean have been enhanced following a three-week training of 46 Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers and researchers in diving. They were trained at the Diani Marine Diving Bases in Kwale County, thanks to support from the Kenya Coastal Development Project (KCDP), funded by the World Bank.

Burrowing to extinction
Pangolins are shy, nocturnal mammals that are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These unusual, burrowing creatures eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. Pangolins are on the path to extinction, but this has not quelled the appetite for the world’s most heavily-trafficked wild mammal, which is prized for the traditional medicinal value of its scales and meat. Over one million pangolins are believed to have been traded illegally in the last decade, leading to fears of potential extinction. Kenya and Nigeria, with support from the USA, have submitted a proposal to list pangolins on Appendix I at the forthcoming 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Jo’burg this month.

Pachyderm protection
Kenya and 28 other countries under the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) have submitted proposals to the CITES Conference to protect elephants. The proposals seek the listing of all African elephants in CITES Appendix I, banning international trade in elephant ivory, closure of domestic markets for ivory, destruction of ivory stockpiles, ending the Decision-Making Mechanism for legalising trade in ivory, and prohibiting the export of live African elephants.