Columnists Editor's Choice Features

March for elephants, rhinos

IT’S WILD with SAKABILO KALEMBWE
THEY gathered in hundreds, all from different parts of the city, but for a mutual purpose; awareness on elephant and rhino protection.
Over 200 people last Thursday joined the rest of the world to march for conservation of the two giants. Schools, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and embassies were all there.
The German Embassy was part of the public “talk-the-walk” organised by Kachere Arts in conjunction with Game Rangers International (GRI) and Wildlife Environment Conservation Society of Zambia (WECSZ) in Lusaka.
The trek that was also meant to raise awareness conservation issues proceeded through Long Acres via United Nations Avenue passing the Embassies and ending in Long Acres Park with an information and art event.
The Germans actively support conservation of wildlife in Zambia, among them a fruitful project to reintroduce the black rhino to North Luangwa applied by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) and the Malawi- Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area (MZ-TFCA) through funds of the Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ).
The latter projects are designed at cross-frontier co-operation to protect biodiversity, and wildlife in Southern Africa.
Last year, Germany had invited major stakeholders to an emergency meeting at the United Nations in New York in order to agree on international strategies in the fight against poaching.
Studies show that Zambia has recently seen a huge increase in poaching activities of up to 45 percent.
The meeting in New York initiated a whole series of high ranking international anti-poaching conferences, including Zambia.
Unless action is taken now, we will lose these majestic, highly intelligent, and emotionally sentient creatures.
Further research reveals that more than 35,000 elephants are being killed every year so their tusks can be carved into ivory trinkets.
Rhinos are also slaughtered mainly for their horns. Their only hope for survival lies in an immediate end to the ivory and rhino horn trade both legal and illegal and the chance to recover from decades of mass slaughter.
According to march4 elephants and rhinos, Africa alone loses four elephants to poachers every hour, every day of the year. It is estimated that less than 300,000 survive today.
Africa loses 3 rhinos to poachers EACH DAY; of the 5 species of rhino, less than 25,000 survive today.
With so few numbers left, and such a slow rate of reproduction, these two species are rapidly heading for extinction, unless we all do something to ensure they survive.
FACTS:
Elephants
Diet
Staple food: Grasses, leaves, bamboo, bark, roots. Elephants are also known to eat crops like banana and sugarcane.
Population
At the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000 – 700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 – 40,000 wild Asian elephants.
Range
African savannah elephants are found in savannah zones in 37 countries south of the Sahara Desert. African forest elephants inhabit the dense rainforests of west and central Africa.
Behavior
Elephants form deep family bonds live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females called herd. The herd is led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd.
Reproduction
Mating Season: Mostly during the rainy season.
Gestation: 22 months.
Litter size: 1 calf -twins rare).
Calves weigh between 200-250 lbs at birth. At birth, a calf’s trunk has no muscle tone, therefore it will suckle through its mouth. It takes several months for a calf to gain full control of its trunk.
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Rhinos
The name rhinoceros means ‘nose horn’ and is often shortened to rhino.
There are five different species of rhinoceros, three native to southern Asia and two native to Africa. They are the Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros.
All the five species of rhinoceros can grow to weigh over 1000 kg.
White rhino can weigh over 3500 kg.
White rhinoceros are generally considered the second largest land mammal after the elephant.
Three of the five rhinoceros species are listed as being critically endangered.
Rhinoceros have thick, protective skin.
Relative to their large body size, rhinoceros have small brains.
Rhinoceros horns are made from a protein called keratin, the same substance that fingernails and hair are made of.
Despite their name, White rhinoceros are actually gray.
Till next week, it’s ciao!
Write to:
kzax2000@yahoo.co.uk; skalembwe@daily.co.zm



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