Archive for the ‘African World’ Category



40,000 Maasai Told By Hunters To Leave

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Tanzania has been accused of reneging on its promise to 40 000 Maasai pastoralists by going ahead with plans to evict them and turn their ancestral land into a reserve for the royal family of Dubai to hunt big game.

Maasai elder in tanzania

Activists celebrated last year when the government said it had backed down over a proposed 1 500 sq km “wildlife corridor” bordering the Serengeti National Park that would serve a commercial hunting and safari company based in the United Arab Emirates.

Now the deal appears to be back on and the Maasai have been ordered to leave their traditional lands by the end of the year. Maasai representatives will meet the prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, in Dodoma today to express their anger. They insist the sale of the land would rob them of their heritage and directly or indirectly affect the livelihoods of 80 000 people. The area is crucial for grazing livestock on which the nomadic Maasai depend.

Unlike last year, the government is offering compensation of 1 billion shillings (£369 350), not to be paid directly but to be channelled into socio-economic development projects. The Maasai have dismissed the offer.

> on November 9, 2011 in Arusha, Tanzania.

“I feel betrayed,” said Samwel Nangiria, co-ordinator of the local Ngonett civil society group. “One billion is very little and you cannot compare that with land. It’s inherited. Their mothers and grandmothers are buried in that land. There’s nothing you can compare with it.”

Nangiria said he believes the government never truly intended to abandon the scheme in the Loliondo district but was wary of global attention. “They had to pretend they were dropping the agenda to fool the international press.”

He said it had proved difficult to contact the Ortelo Business Corporation (OBC), a luxury safari company set up by a UAE official close to the royal family. The OBC has operated in Loliondo for more than 20 years with clients reportedly including Prince Andrew.

Activists opposing the hunting reserve have been killed by police in the past two years, according to Nangiria, who says he has received threatening calls and text messages. “For me it is dangerous on a personal level. They said: ‘We discovered you are the mastermind, you want to stop the government using the land’. Another said: ‘You have decided to shorten your life. The hands of the government are too long. Put your family ahead of the Maasai.’”

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Nangiria is undeterred. “I will fight for my community. I’m more energetic than I was. The Maasai would like to ask the prime minister about the promise. What happened to the promise? Was it a one-year promise or forever? Perhaps he should put the promise in writing.”

This will be the last time the Maasai settle for talks, he added, before pursuing other methods including a court injunction. They could also be an influential voting bloc in next year’s elections.

An international campaign against the hunting reserve was led last year by the online activism site Avaaz.org, whose Stop the Serengeti Sell-off petition attracted more than 1.7 million signatures and led to coordinated email and Twitter protests.

Alex Wilks, campaign director for Avaaz, said: “The Maasai stare out from every tourism poster, but Tanzania’s government wants to kick them off their land so foreign royalty can hunt elephants there. Almost two million people around the world have backed the Maasai’s call for president Jakaya Kikwete to fulfil his promise to let them stay where they’ve always lived. Treating the Maasai as the great unwanted would be a disaster for Tanzania’s reputation.”

A spokesperson for Tanzania’s natural resources and tourism ministry said : “It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’m currently out of the office and can’t comment properly.”





Written by David Smith, Africa correspondent for The Guardian

10 Reasons To Suspect Lions Are Aliens

Monday, November 17th, 2014

I’ve often wondered whether lions originally came from another planet… Why, you may ask? Well, my suspicions initially surfaced during my time as a guide in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa, when I spent many hours a day following and observing these creatures in their natural habitat. Here are a few things I noticed:

1. They are too big

Just take a moment to compare a house cat and a male lion. The average house cat is 5-6 kg (10lbs). The average male lion is 193.3 kg (426.2 lbs). This discrepancy warrants huge suspicion. They are just too big to be related to cats.

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2. Too social

Every other cat on the planet has evolved to be shy and solitary. Lions are neither; they congregate in prides of sometimes over 20 individuals. What are they plotting?

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3. Too brutal

Unlike other felines, lions really are brutal animals when it comes to hunting. I once witnessed a pride of lions devour a Kudu bull in less than 10 minutes, 7 of which the animal was still alive. They are too brutal to be related to us mammals.

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4. Too vocal

Their roaring is… indescribable. I have no words to explain how it feels to be next to four male lions as they make their vocal mark on the land. Once the entire car was rattling from their vibrations. When compared to the meow of a cat, the yip of a cheetah or even the dull grunt of a leopard, one cant help but think the lion was designed elsewhere.

5. Too clever

I know most cats could be described as cunning. But lions take cunning and strategy to a completely new level. Hunts are organised like military operations. For example: On the hunt there is usually a flanking team that will creep behind a prey animal with the objective of chasing the animal to a waiting ambush. Amazing to watch!

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6. Too strong

I’ve seen lions take down buffalo, giraffe, hippos and even elephant. There is simply no animal in the bush that is safe.

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7. Too sleepy

Lions have the strange habit of sleeping for at least 20 hours of the day. It does not matter who or what you are, if lions are tired, they will not move.

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8. Too schitzo

Lazy and cuddlesome at one moment, and then agile, fast and deadly the next! I’d often wait hours in the evening to see this transformation happen.

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9. Too clumsy

They do nothing that normal cats do. For example, they are terrible at climbing trees. If lions had evolved on this planet, they would have retained at least some tree-climbing knowledge. However, I’ve seen them try and it is not a pretty sight.

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10. Too stuck up

On top of everything, lions are enormously arrogant. Particularly the males. I’ve seen a full, fat lion stumble over the a buffalo carcass, chase the other animals away and flop down next to it, unable to fit another morsel into its stomach. On a road, most animals will try and avoid an approaching vehicle. But lions will stroll along a road as if they own it, and expect you to move out of the way.

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Story & Photos from Wildlife

 

African Penguin Release!

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

On 11 October organisations around the world celebrated African Penguin Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising worldwide awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin. SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) and South African National Parks (SANParks) celebrated African Penguin Awareness Day with a unique penguin festival and a star-studded benefit auction in aid of their African penguin conservation projects.

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Volunteers get ready to release 12 endangered African penguins back into the wild at Seaforth Beach for African Penguin Awareness Day on 11 October 2014. © SANCCOB

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Hosted on African Penguin Awareness Day, the 13th annual Penguin Festival was held at the picturesque Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon’s Town and kicked off with a much anticipated beach release of 12 rehabilitated African penguins back into the wild. Close to 800 onlookers witnessed the moving event as the penguins waddled their way back into the ocean. Most of these penguins were rescued by SANParks (Boulders Beach colony) and CapeNature (Stony Point colony) due to malnourishment and dehydration and admitted to SANCCOB’s seabird centre in Cape Town for rehabilitation.


Watch 12 penguins waddle their way to freedom in this video:

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