Nature news

Paul Udoto brings us the latest from the natural world

WildfileCanines to the rescue
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has partnered with wildlife authorities, including the KWS, in 18 African countries to carry out sniffer dog training in Tanzania. The Nairobi-based NGO is donating four dogs to KWS and will also sponsor training for four canine handlers. The initiative will see sniffer dogs deployed at the main seaports and airports to help curb poaching and related cross-border trade. Sniffer and tracker dogs have been phenomenally successful in detecting contraband ivory and rhino.

Who said this?
“Let’s get serious about wildlife crime. Illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law and threatens national security… Combating this crime is not only essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development, it will contribute to achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by these illegal activities.”
Un Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking during the World Wildlife Day on 3 March, during which Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta torched 15 tonnes of ivory to signify his government’s determination to stamp out poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Fast Facts about the Giraffe
1 The giraffe is the tallest of all living land mammals and the largest ruminant.
2 Current estimates by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation have the population at less than 80,000 individuals across all the nine (sub-) species.
3 No two giraffes have the same coat pattern.
4 Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young fall almost two metres to the ground and can stand up within an hour of birth.
5 Giraffes rely on red-billed and yellow-billed oxpeckers to clean them of ticks and alert them to danger. Poaching, human population growth, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and habitat degradation continue to impact on the giraffe’s distribution across Africa.
6 It is the national animal of Tanzania and is protected by law.

Cycling for a cause
The 17th edition of the Hog Charge cycling event raised Ksh3,423,503 towards the entry pledge from Mark Tilbury’s team (Car 35) for the annual Rhino Charge to be held on 31 May. The funds, which are raised by 107 teams, will ultimately support conservation charity Rhino Charge’s projects in the mountain water sources of Aberdares, Mt Kenya and Mau Eburru.

March 03 Kenya’s first-ever wildlife festival
The Kenya Wildlife Service teamed up with conservation organisations to celebrate the second World Wildlife Day on 3 March, which was marked in style by holding a week-long festival to raise awareness of wildlife protection among the public. The first of its kind, the Kenya Wildlife Festival provided an opportunity for all Kenyans to learn about wildlife through a variety of means, including music, theatre, debates, films, and citizen science projects.