Abandoned baby Giraffe dies with dog by its side

The giraffe had bonded with a watchdog, named Hunter, at a South African animal shelter. It collapsed after a brain hemorrhage.

Hunter, a young Belgian Malinois, keeping an eye on Jazz last month.Credit…Jerome Delay/Associated Press
  • By The Associated Press

A baby giraffe that was befriended by a dog after he was abandoned in the wild has died, a South African animal orphanage said.

The giraffe, named Jazz, collapsed after suffering a brain hemorrhage, the Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo Province said in a Facebook post on Friday.

“Our team is heartbroken,” the orphanage said. “The last two days before we lost him, Jazz started looking unstable on his legs and very dull, almost like he wasn’t registering everything,” it added. “He suddenly collapsed and we could see blood starting to pool back into his eyes.”

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The baby giraffe had arrived at the orphanage a few weeks ago, just days after its birth. A farmer found him in the wild, weak and dehydrated, and called the center for help.

A baby giraffe that was befriended by a dog after he was abandoned in the wild has died, a South African animal orphanage said.

The giraffe, named Jazz, collapsed after suffering a brain hemorrhage, the Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo Province said in a Facebook post on Friday.

“Our team is heartbroken,” the orphanage said. “The last two days before we lost him, Jazz started looking unstable on his legs and very dull, almost like he wasn’t registering everything,” it added. “He suddenly collapsed and we could see blood starting to pool back into his eyes.”

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The baby giraffe had arrived at the orphanage a few weeks ago, just days after its birth. A farmer found him in the wild, weak and dehydrated, and called the center for help.

When the giraffe became ill, Hunter seemed to realize something was wrong and did not leave the baby giraffe’s side, the orphanage said. The dog was there when the giraffe died, and sat in front of the empty room for hours before going to its carers for comfort.

Orphanage staff members had assumed that the mother giraffe had abandoned the baby for a reason, and had suspected an illness, Arrie van Deventer, the orphanage’s founder, said.


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“We finally know that Jazz didn’t have a bad giraffe mother that left him,” the orphanage’s statement said. “She just knew.”

In its farewell to the giraffe, the orphanage said, “You have taught us so much in the last three weeks, and we will remember you fondly.”

The giraffe was buried close to the orphanage, Mr. van Deventer said.

The post had thousands of views and hundreds of comments expressing sadness for the giraffe’s death and concern for how Hunter would handle the loss.

Janie Van Heerden feeding Jazz, then 9 days old. The giraffe was abandoned by its mother at birth.Credit…Jerome Delay/Associated Press

The orphanage said that Hunter was doing well and would continue training to be a tracking dog.

A final photo showed Hunter sitting in front of the closed door of the room where he and the giraffe had spent time together. The orphanage also paid tribute to Hunter’s loyalty.

“He stayed till the end and said his goodbyes,” it said. “Such a good boy.”

Meet the man who dedicated his life to saving reptiles

Tomas Diagne is a finalist in this year’s TUSK Award for Conservation in Africa. Sarah Marshall shares his incredible story.

In the last 26 years, Tomas has established centres for turtle protection and captive breeding programmes

By Sarah Marshall

Driving 1,200 miles across the east coast of America is an epic journey to make for one animal – especially if the creature in question is dead. But when Tomas Diagne was offered the body of a Nubian flapshell turtle, the most endangered turtle species in Africa, he couldn’t refuse.

“For 30 years, we haven’t had any recorded sightings of these animals that live in South Sudan and southern Chad,” says the Senegalese biologist, who admits he spent $2,000 to collect the cadaver from a US-based private collector, bury it in his American wife’s back garden and send it to an osteology museum three months later to have the skeleton cleaned and articulated.

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“Lucy kept saying, ‘I hope the neighbours don’t think we have a human body’,” he jokes, aware of how ridiculous the scenario sounds. “But this could be the last known specimen of this species.”

Feeling the need to give further justification he adds: “If you don’t have passion, you cannot do this kind of thing.”

Now the skeleton is one of 800 tortoise and turtle artefacts available to research students at the African Chelonian Institute, in Senegal, which Tomas set up in 2009. It’s a vital educational resource in a field where so little is known, but the wildlife lover and accidental conservationist would rather see these precious reptiles alive.

Realising tortoises and turtles were in trouble, Tomas dedicated his life to saving the continent’s species. In the last 26 years, he has established centres for turtle protection and captive breeding programmes and is working with Senegalese authorities to rewild animals intercepted in the illegal pet trade.

With no blueprint to follow, he really is breaking new ground.

“In Africa, conservation is a relatively new concept because animals and resources were always plentiful,” he explains, as we paddle along the waterways of Tocc Tocc Community Reserve at Lac de Guiers in northern Senegal. “But now with population growth the balance is changing.”

Tomas also works with Senegalese authorities to rewild animals intercepted in the illegal pet trade.

An important habitat for manatees and water birds, this wildlife sanctuary is one of Tomas’ proudest achievements. He admits it took 15 hard years to persuade communities to change their habits and protect the wetlands. Now they no longer see turtles as a food source, and improved fishing practices have resulted in less bycatch.

“It didn’t happen overnight. A year later we’d be saying the same thing; it was frustrating but that’s the way it is.”

Read more on Culture


Determination has brought Tomas a long way. Born into a family employed in the military and public services, working with wildlife was not an obvious career path. But a love of animals sparked a desire to do something meaningful. “That’s why I say I was not born a conservationist, I became a conservationist,” he says. “It’s a fire you have in the belly that keeps you going, a passion. I always want to move forward.”

Eager to pass on his knowledge and shape a generation “far stronger” than his own, the 49-year-old places great emphasis on education. Many of his facilities, including the Tortoise Village in the Noflaye region of Dakar, are open to both schoolchildren and tourists.

‘Freedom is the most important gift you can give to these animals if you truly love them’ CREDIT: RORY TILFORD

“You cannot conserve something you don’t care about,” he tells me when we visit the sanctuary for sulcatas which attracts up to 10,000 visitors per year. Along with breeding the world’s third largest tortoise, the aim is to release individuals into the wild, although Tomas admits the lengthy and strictly regulated process is bittersweet.

“You spend two years or more monitoring these animals; they become like your baby. Sending them into an uncertain future is something that can make you feel sad.

“But at the same time, they will be happier to be free, and freedom is the most important gift you can give to these animals if you truly love them.”

Congo to donate 10 white Rhinos to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is donating 10 white rhinos to Democratic Republic of Congo to re-establish a population driven to extinction by poachers a decade ago, Zimbabwe’s wildlife authority said.

The rhinos were being captured and would be moved from Victoria Falls later this week or early next, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesman Tinashe Farawo said on Monday.

Congo’s white rhinos lived in Garamba National Park near the border with South Sudan but it was not clear where the animals would be located.

Wildlife protection is complicated in Congo by lawlessness and militia violence that endures 15 years after the end of a war that killed millions, mainly from hunger and disease.

“The Zimbabwean Government was satisfied that the pre and post-translocation conditions in … (Congo) met the requisite standards for a successful re-establishment of rhinos,” a ZimParks statement said.

ZimParks and conservationists said moving the rhinos from Zimbabwe would strengthen the gene pool. Zimbabwe had about 800 black and white rhinos in 2016 and is one of just four countries with nearly all the world’s white rhinos.

Their horns are prized in China and southeast Asia.

“Moving rhinos from one place to another is essential to ensure good genetic diversity across the population,” said Emma Pereira, a spokeswoman for Save the Rhino, a London-based group. “We hope any move between countries is done with the correct expertise and thoughtful planning.”

Poachers also target mountain gorillas, one of the world’s most endangered species which is found only on a spine of volcanic mountains straddling Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.

Their numbers have recovered in recent years thanks to intensive conservation efforts.

The head of Congo’s wildlife authority could not be immediately reached for comment.


Cover photo: White Rhino baby and rhinoceros mother in Matopos national park Zimbabwe, Africa. Photo: Harare Blitz

SOURCE: This story was first published on New York Times, with additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare and Fiston Mahamba in Goma; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Aaron Ross and Matthew Mpoke Bigg.

Human, wildlife conflict claims 40 people's live

Human, wildlife conflict claims 40 people’s live


Wild animals killed 40 people and injured 30 in 2017, as human -wildlife conflict continues, especially in areas close to conservancies. Speaking at a pass out parade of rangers and dog handlers in Hwange recently, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said 95 animals were killed to save human life.

Human, wildlife conflict claims 40 people's live

“Human and wildlife issues are topical at the moment,” she said.

“In 2017, 40 people were killed and 30 injured due to conflict with wildlife.

“At the same time, as a response measure, 95 wildlife species were killed in order to save human life.”

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority received 346 cases of human-wildlife conflict, with 65 percent coming from Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.

She said at least 316 of the cases were attended to despite the shortage of resources.

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said habitat loss for wildlife was among the major drivers of human-wildlife conflict.

She urged people to desist from illegally settling in wildlife territories.

“Save Valley Conservancy is one such example where over 16 000 families have settled in wildlife corridors and wildlife areas,” she said.

“In turn, our wildlife has responded by destroying crops, passing on diseases such as foot and mouth, killing livestock and at times people.

“I want to appeal to illegal settlers to desist from settling in wildlife buffer zones, wildlife corridors and their habitat.

“Only 13 percent of the total land in Zimbabwe is reserved for wildlife, the rest is for forestry and other human related activities.

“I urge our leadership, especially the traditional institutions to respect this 13 percent.”


SOURCE: The Herald

African wild dogs vote over pack decisions by sneezing, a new study has found

African wild dogs vote over pack decisions by sneezing, a new study has found

The joint research by academics from Swansea, Australia and the United States monitored endangered dogs at the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust.

African wild dogs vote over pack decisions by sneezing, a new study has found

They found the dogs used sneezes to decide when to move off to hunt after making camp for greeting ceremonies called “social rallies”.

Dr Andrew King, of Swansea University, said the sneezes acted as a “quorum”.

The study was carried out by zoologists from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Brown University, in the United States, and Swansea University’s College of Science.

Previously it had been thought the dogs, which are among the world’s most-endangered species, were simply clearing their airways.

But, while zoologists recorded the details of 68 social rallies, they noticed the more sneezes there were, the more likely it was the pack moved off and started hunting.

Dr King said: “The sneezes act as a type of quorum, and the sneezes have to reach a certain threshold before the group changes activity.

“Quorums are also used by other social carnivores such as meerkats.”

However, the study suggested some sneezes hold more weight than others.

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

Reena Walker, of Brown University, said: “We found that, when the dominant male and female were involved in the rally, the pack only had to sneeze a few times before they would move off.

“However, if the dominant pair were not engaged, more sneezes were needed – approximately 10 – before the pack would move off”.

The team’s research will be published in scientific journal, The Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

African wild dogs

  • One of the world’s most-endangered species
  • Native to all of Africa
  • Largest populations remain in southern Africa and the southern part of east Africa (especially Tanzania and northern Mozambique)
  • Their main predators are lions and humans
  • They are social and gather in packs of around 10, but some packs number more than 40
  • They are opportunistic predators which hunt animals such as gazelles
  • In a sprint, African wild dogs can reach speeds of more than 44mph (70km per hour)

SOURCE: The Bloomgist/World Wildlife Federation/BBC

Photo credit: Simon Mania

Wildlife: Saving African orphaned elephants

Each year thousands of African elephants are being slaughtered by poachers for the illegal ivory trade. Many young elephants have become orphans.

orphan-elephant
Photo credit: Simon Mania


Baby African elephants are incredibly vulnerable in the first few years of life. Without their mothers, they struggle to survive.

But in the late 1980s, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, then head of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, managed to raise infant baby African elephants for the first time.

Her organisation has now raised over 200 orphaned elephants, Once old enough, they are released into the wild.



Despite their success, it is still a fraction of the number killed each year by poachers across the continent.

Every year in Africa between 30,000 and 40,000 elephants are poached for their ivory, and it’s thought there are only 400,000 left.

The rate of killing threatens the very existence of the African elephant.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/NATGEO Wild/BBC

Number of tigers rises for first time in over 100 years

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Wildlife March: Share what you found

As the rainy season begins in most parts of the country, new species of animals, fresh skins, smart and lovely pets and other sorts of wildlife are beginning to emerge from different angles, both little and big. Continue reading “Wildlife March: Share what you found”