Paul Udoto brings us the latest wildlife news
Not on our watch!
“We have so much more to do. We cannot be the generation that allowed species such as elephants, great apes, rhino, lions, tigers, sharks, cheetah and more to go extinct – not on our watch. Not now – never. So my message to you is simple and consistent… let us all play our part, go back to our families, our friends, our colleagues, our communities and our citizens and make sure that the spirit of Elsa inspires us all to make this world a better place for all life on earth.”
Virginia McKenna OBE, marking the 25th anniversary of George Adamson’s death.
Adamson’s lion sanctuary
The Kenya Wildlife Service plans to turn unspoilt Kora National Park into a lion sanctuary in honour of legendary British conservationist George Adamson. The move is intended to reverse the declining number of lions in Kenya as well as promote the park, popularly known as ‘the last wilderness’, as an exclusive tourist destination. The announcement was made in September at the 25th commemoration of the death of George Adamson, who had set up a lion camp at Kora. At this historic camp, George used to take care of lions with feeding problems, give them medication and release them after they recovered. After release he followed their progress by calling them for an ‘assembly’ every morning and evening.
Wildlife crime doesn’t pay
The highest fine for ivory trafficking in Kenya since the new stringent wildlife law came into force early this year is Ksh7 million or 20 years in prison if there is a failure to pay.
Nature Notes: Mega Gardeners
It seems difficult to imagine elephants delicately tending a garden, but these pachyderms may well be the world’s weightiest horticulturalists. The forest elephants (the world’s biggest frugivores) have the ability to eat virtually every fruit or nut out there. But they digest only about 40 per cent of what they eat. This inefficient digestive systems means that they must eat large quantities of food to retain and absorb nutrients for good health. Due to this, most of those seeds pass through their gut untouched and come out with ready-made fertiliser! The elephants are the biggest seed dispersal agents in the forest, which is vital for the health of the entire ecosystem. Without elephants, the diversity of trees in tropical forests goes down. Between three-quarters to 95 per cent of tropical forest trees depend on animals to disperse their seeds.
KWS in partnership with non-governmental organisation David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has started a ‘Sky Vet initiative’, a rapid response initiative whereby veterinarians are airlifted by chartered planes to attend to emergency wildlife cases countrywide.