Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wildlife blogs, wildlife poisoning, wildlife pictures

Been thinking about blogs, wildlife poisons and attempts to forestall or even reverse some of the trends that seem to be going on.

A major blog collector lies at a site called Saving Endangered Animals. Within the main home page are a large number of blog images, each one a mini-portrait of someone or something of relevance to the subject.

There are Quick Links and blogs galore – too many for me to count. Some that are relevant to my own books The Trouble With Lions and Wrestling With Rhinos are of course about those species, but also about the bigger problem of wildlife poisoning.

Two lion specific ones that tell how things have changed in Kenyan Maasailand, and give a glimmer of hope for the bigger picture in Africa are from the Kilimanjaro Lion Conservation Project - and its close relative the Lion Guardians.

The Furadan issue -a subject to which I have referred in previous blogs (see May 5th) comes up in several places. Furadan is the trade name of a carbamate poison developed as a crop insecticide, but happens to kill mammals and birds with seeming impunity - is a given plenty of coverage in a blog called Stop Wildlife Poisoning.
The authors are seeking as much information and input about poisoning incidents as they can possibly get. If I have a quibble with their opening statement of May 15th it is that they seem to restrict their search to Kenya. From my own experience, related in the opening sentence of The Trouble With Lions and in other stories in the text, I know that the stuff has been used in Uganda, and it would not surprise me at all if reports of its use turn up elsewhere.

Another general blog, which also refers to an upcoming article on poisoning with Furadan, is the East African Wildlife Society’s blog; neatly named The Water Hole. For those who don’t know it, the EAWLS publishes an enjoyable magazine called Swara (Kiswahili for antelope). It carries a wide variety of articles on wildlife subjects and does not shy away from appropriate commentary on controversies or comment on the behaviour of politicians when they ignore or actively try to damage wildlife initiatives.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society comes their “State of the Wild 2008-2009” announcement, which you can find here. This is a notice about their latest book on the subject. It consists of a series of important essays by well-known scientists and, right at the start of the web site, a marvelous series of photos of rare and critically endangered animals. All you have to do is click on the first image, a Sumatran rhinoceros, and up they come. If you think African rhinos look primitive, wait until you see this one.

Another taste of what if in store for me, when my copy arrives, and for those who care to get the book for themselves, lies in the advance praise written by natural history writer Carl Safina. He states
"This book delivers much more than the 'state of the wild.' It identifies the trends, trajectories, and principles that must organize our thinking. Think of it as an information handbook for the coming rumble over life on Earth. It's much less about what is—and much more about what's coming at us".
I have ordered a second copy for the library at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and will ask for it to be put on reserve so that students who are to join me in Uganda in February next year will have some reading material.

A final fascinating titbit that came up on the BBC website this morning was also about rhinos, but not in Africa. Take a look at this film clip captured on an automatic infrared camera that is aptly titled Rarest rhinoceros wrecks camera. Six "R" sounds in four words. The headline writer must have enjoyed the alliteration in that one – virtually a no-brainer!

1 comment:

Seamus said...

HI Jerry - great blog. Keep it going. Perhaps a few more photos might be good?

Its worth mentioning that the Wildlife Direct blogs (such as http://kilimanjarolion.wildlifedirect.org/) are geared to attract attention, and donations. One can visit the site and make a donation through the paypal widget on the side.