Paul Udoto brings us the latest wildlife news
Sanctuaries merge to save rhino
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Borana Conservancy in Northern Kenya have merged after removing a fence separating them, resulting in Kenya’s biggest privately-managed haven for endangered black rhinos, at about 93,000 acres.
New rhino ambassador
KWS has appointed comedian Eric Omondi as rhino ambassador to spearhead campaigns to protect the endangered species at the scenic Lake Nakuru National Park.
Nature notes – fastest animal on land
This big cat of the African savannah is world-famous for being the fastest animal on land, reaching speeds of 112kph. The cheetah’s slender, long-legged body is built for speed. It also has a small, rounded head set on a long neck, a flexible spine, a deep chest and non-retractable claws. Large nostrils allow greater amounts of air to enter a cheetah’s lungs and it has special pads on its feet for traction and a long tail for balance. Although fast, the cheetah cannot run at full speed for long distances because it might overheat. They are diurnal animals and hunt mostly during the late morning or early evening. Only half of the chases, which last from 20 to 60 seconds, are successful. Research has shown that the cheetah depends on cover to stalk prey. The cheetah gets as close as possible, then, in a burst of speed, tries to outrun its quarry. They knock their prey to the ground and kill with a suffocating bite to the neck. They eat quickly before they lose the kill to other bigger or more aggressive carnivores such as lions, leopards, hyenas and jackals. In the last century there has been a reduction in the number of cheetahs of around 50%.
Return of the man-eaters
Plans are underway to return the two fabled stuffed man-eating lions of Tsavo from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, USA, to Taita Taveta County. The story of how the lions preyed on a terrified camp of imperial British railroad workers in 1898 for nine months, in what is now Tsavo West National Park, captivated museum-goers for decades and inspired a 1996 movie, The Ghost and the Darkness. Colonel John Henry Patterson, who was in charge of the construction, wrote the book The Man Eaters of Tsavo in 1907.