We just completed our sixth year of surveys collecting identification photos for giraffes in the Tarangire Ecosystem of Tanzania. We use the giraffes' unique spot patterns to identify individuals and map their movements around the ecosystem. We also calculate their survival and reproduction in different areas and at different times of the year, and examine how the environment, human influences, and season affect their fitness.
Each evening, after completing surveys for the day, we make camp in the bush. We enjoy a cup of juice, cook up some dinner as the sun sets, and of course back up all the day's data on the field laptop.
To date, we've identified and are tracking more than 3,000 individual giraffes in our study area. Our results are helping to understand where giraffes are doing well and where they are not, and why. This information is useful in developing effective conservation measures for this magnificent mega-herbivore, so giraffes can continue to grace the savanna as they have for the past million years.
As always, we are grateful to our generous donors for helping us to accomplish this work. Thank you for six years of giraffe conservation research!
We spent a wonderful two days with Mike Chedester, Director of Education for the Living Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Palm Desert, California. The Living Desert is generously supporting Wild Nature Institute's "Celebrating Africa's Giants" environmental education program to conserve Africa's mega-herbivores giraffes, elephants, and rhinoceroses.
Wild Nature Institute's Monica Bond and Lise Levy and MAA's Enock Chengullah and Jacob Porokwa brought Mike to visit 4 primary schools and 2 secondary schools in the Tarangire-Manyara region where we have been implementing giraffe-themed educational programs. The teachers and students were warm and welcoming and we all had a wonderful time.
The Living Desert is not only financially supporting our giraffe education program in Tanzania, but they are implementing the program at the zoo and in schools in Palm Desert, including using our children's book Juma the Giraffe to teach about giraffe physiology, ecology, and conservation. This creates a bridge between Tanzanian and American children as they simultaneously explore the unique beauty of this magnificent mega-herbivore. On October 1, the Living Desert is launching their 'Year of the Giraffe' with fun and games and lots of cool information about giraffes. Giraffe scientist and Wild Nature Institute's California program director David Brown will be speaking at the kick-off event as part of the Desert Conservation Speaker Series.
On Wednesday, Dr. Derek Lee presented Wild Nature Institute's giraffe research and conservation program and scientific results to-date at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany.
We also visited the Tierpark Berlin zoo, where we were honored to meet the zoo's staff, and help feed their herd of beautiful giraffes.
We look forward to continued partnership with the Tierpark Berlin. Thanks so much to the Leibniz Institute and Tierpark Berlin for hosting us!
Our dear friend and colleague Wayne Lotter was the bravest, most passionate and dedicated person we have ever known. You will be missed by many, Wayne.
From The Guardian
By Sophie Tremblay
Thursday 17 August 2017 17.56 BST
Leading elephant conservationist shot dead in Tanzania
The head of an animal conservation NGO who had received numerous death threats has been shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Tanzania.
Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.
Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa. Since starting the organisation in Tanzania in 2009, he had received numerous death threats relating to his work.
Police in Tanzania have launched an investigation into his death.
The PAMS Foundation funded and supported Tanzania’s elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) which was responsible for arrests of major ivory traffickers including Yang Feng Glan, the so-called “Queen of Ivory” and several other notorious elephant poachers. Since 2012, the unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80%. The NTSCIU was recently featured in the Netflix documentary The Ivory Game. In a previous interview, Lotter said he believed its work had helped to reduce poaching rates in Tanzania by at least 50%.
The latest elephant census data suggests that elephant populations fell by 30% in Africa between 2007 and 2014. Tanzania experienced one of the biggest declines in elephant numbers, where the census documented a 60% decrease in the population.
Lotter rarely took credit for PAMS’ success in helping reduce poaching rates in Tanzania, and was always quick to credit the work of the communities and agencies he worked with.
Lotter was a big figure in the international conservation community, having served on the boards of several conservation groups and was the Vice President of the International Ranger Federation. The news of his death has sent the community into mourning. “Wayne was one of Africa’s leading and most committed conservationists. He had over two decades worth of experience in wildlife management and conservation, and can be credited as the driving force behind ending the unscrupulous slaughter of Tanzania’s elephants,” said Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
“Wayne devoted his life to Africa’s wildlife. From working as a ranger in his native South Africa as a young man to leading the charge against poaching in Tanzania, Wayne cared deeply about the people and animals that populate this world,” read a statement released by the PAMS Foundation team. “Wayne’s charm, brilliance and eccentric sense of humour gave him the unique ability to make those around him constantly laugh and smile. He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about.
“Wayne leaves behind his wife Inge, daughters Cara Jayne and Tamsin, and parents Vera and Charles Lotter. We all grieve with his family, colleagues and friends. His legacy will continue in our work.”
A new scientific paper was published this week in the journal Fire Ecology urging the use of mixed-severity wildfire to restore natural fire regimes and wildlife habitat in western US forests. Wild Nature Institute's Monica Bond co-authored the paper along with a prestigious group of fire scientists.
Mixed-severity fires (including high-severity patches) promote ecosystem integrity, like in this photo of burned forests in the McNally Fire, Sequoia National Forest, California.
A New Message For Smokey describes how high severity fires create important wildlife habitat in western forests of the US, and explains the need to protect burned forests from harmful logging.
Tarangire's famous white giraffe, named "Omo" by local safari guides, was seen again by Wild Nature Institute scientists during the latest round of scientific surveys. She is now over 2 years old and looking great. She is always surrounded by her large social group and appears to be doing well. Our science, education, and advocacy for giraffes is working to ensure a future for Omo and all her relatives in Tanzania.
In the study, wildlife scientists used machine learning and connectivity algorithms to delineate a previously undefined migratory corridor in order to save this vanishing natural phenomenon. Dr. Derek Lee, principal scientist at the Wild Nature Institute and senior author of the study said, “From a practical standpoint, we need better tools to understand how animals get from one place to another. Our work shows how data from multiple sources and the latest analytical techniques can be integrated to identify, connect, and protect an ecologically and economically important migratory corridor.”
“Given the growing demands on grazing lands in these migratory landscapes, there is an important need to accurately document core habitat used by migratory wildlife, and then provide this information to the policy makers who decide how land will be managed,” said Dr. Tom Morrison, of the University of Glasgow and co-author of the study. “Conserving migratory habitat for wildebeest will have the added benefits of protecting connectivity of rangelands used by Masai pastoralists and their livestock, and will benefit other wildlife species in this ecosystem, as they all use these habitats to move and graze.”
Wild Nature Institute was honored to host a ‘Ranger Appreciation Day’ on Monday for the courageous, hard-working village game scouts from Burunge Wildlife Management Area.
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are village-run community conservation areas that use proceeds from tourism to fund land-use planning and natural resource protection to conserve important wildlife habitat. The Burunge WMA forms a wildlife corridor and habitat reserve between Tarangire and Lake Manyara national parks.
Village game scouts from Burunge are equipped and trained by our partners at PAMS Foundation. PAMS also plans and funds the patrols, prepares for and supports court cases, compiles reports, and maintains the database. Tourism provides additional funding for the WMA. The scouts patrol the WMA day and night removing traps and snares set by poachers, and apprehend poachers through evidence-gathering. In just the past few months, their efforts have led to the arrest of three giraffe poachers in the area.
Wild Nature Institute hosted a barbeque to thank them for their critical work, which contributes to the sustainability of wildlife populations in the Burunge WMA. We are grateful to PAMS and the village game scouts. We're sure the giraffes thank them, too!
Extra special thanks to Ameir Dahal of PAMS Foundation for organizing this event.
How do you reverse a population decline and save an endangered species? This is the central question in conservation biology and it is the core of my scientific work. In my most recent study, I looked at a giraffe population in the Tarangire Ecosystem in Tanzania to figure out exactly why there were fewer giraffes there now than in the past, and what people can do about it.
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
If You Love Us,
Make A Donation!
All Photos on This Blog are Available as Frame-worthy Prints to Thank Our Generous Donors.
Email Us for Details of this Offer.