Rocky mountain peaks push up out of a lush green carpet of forest, shaded by scuttling clouds. Many of these mountains were born from fire, breaking into the world as volcanoes, but now their appearance couldn’t be more tranquil. This is the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot, a site of incredible importance for over 10,000 species of animal and plant – almost a third of which are endemic to this one area.
These last ten years have seen a significant increase in the movement of infectious agents and risk of pandemics: global expansion of bird flu since 2003, H1N1 in 2009, to cite just a few examples. These recent outbreaks highlight the increasing globalization of health risks and the importance of the human-animal-ecosystem interface in evolution and the emergence of pathogens.
As the Spring Alive season in Africa draws to a close, we can bask in the glow of a job well done. This year, we’ve thought outside the box to come up with innovative ways of getting children to really engage with the birds they share their day-to-day lives with. These have included our first ever children’s story book, a Spring Alive cuddly toy, and even a bird fact “advent calendar”. Here are three projects whose success has encapsulated this season’s achievements:
(1) 30 Days of Spring
(2) Children’s book release
(3) Conservation Club workshops
The Mediterranean Basin is the second largest “biodiversity hotspot” in the world, supporting 10% of the world’s plants (about 25,000 species), almost 300 mammal species (38 terrestrial endemics), 534 bird species (63 endemic species), 622 freshwater fish species, and 308 reptile species (almost 40% being endemic).
The Afrikaans name for the Cape Gannet Morus capensis is “Malgas”, meaning “mad goose”. This makes sense when you see this large seabird on the ground. Their ungainly waddle, coupled with the difficulty they have in taking off when there isn’t any wind, does appear quite comical. But at sea and they are different birds entirely. When feeding, they plunge into the water like arrows, to depths of up to 20 metres.
Eight Greater spotted Eagles tagged in southern Belarus started their autumn migration in September. Belarus, after Russia, is the second most important country in the world for Greater spotted eagles with some 120-160 pairs.
ABC has received a request for help from the Nigerian Atlas organisers as follows:
As the day drew to a close, the orange light reflecting from the Atlantic seemed to soften the texture of the sun-baked Moroccan cliffs. The Northern Bald Ibis were perched on a couple of sloping, sandstone ledges, an entire colony of about 20 settling in for the night, low squawks and rustles heard above the scouring waves only a few metres below.
The Cyamudongo forest in south west Rwanda is a small patch of dense forest covering 412 hectares of land near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. It is part of Nyungwe National Park.
The Mara Wetland in Tanzania is a swamp dominated by Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) which provides a vast range of ecosystem services. In 2017, Birdlife International through the Sustainable use of critical wetlands in the Lake Victoria Basin project, supported two local conservation groups, the North Mara and South Mara Water Users Association to establish two Weavers Groups (Marasibora and Kwisaro Weavers Groups) in an effort to advance their skills and knowledge in the development of papyrus products, which provides them with an alternative source of income.