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South African Endangered Wildlife

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South Africa’s Kingdom: Protecting Endangered Species, Improving Lives in one of the World’s Most Wildlife Regions....

  

 
 Our ancestors viewed the Earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it. It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past which resulted from ignorance. Today, however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations. Our marvels of science and technology are matched if not outweighed by many current tragedies, including human starvation in some parts of the world, and the extinction of other life-forms. The exploration of space takes place at the same time as the Earth's own oceans, seas, and fresh water areas grow increasingly polluted. Many of the Earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects, and even micro-organisms that we know as rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability, and the responsibility. We must act before it is too late.
  THE BLACK RHINO

The black rhino weighs 800 - 1400 kg (1760 - 3080 lb). Its height varies from 1.3 - 1.8 m (4.3 - 5.9'). The black rhino has 2 horns.  Its skin is dark yellow-brown to dark brown or dark gray. The black rhino occurs in a wide variety of habitats, from desert areas in Namibia to wetter forested areas in the highlands of Kenya, to savannas and bushveld areas where the highest densities of black rhino occur. The black rhino is a browser. It prefers leaves, twigs and branches from small acacia’s and other woody shrubs and small trees as well as herbs and legumes. When the weather is hot, the black rhino drinks water daily and must be within walking distance of water. In cooler temperatures it can go without drinking water for up to 5 days if its food is moist. The black rhino’s eyesight is poor, but its hearing is good. Its sense of smell is well developed and is probably the most important of its senses
 
Although its belligerence has been exaggerated, the black rhino is unpredictable and can be a dangerous animal, sometimes charging a disturbing sound or smell. Black rhinos are predominantly solitary, the most commonly observed groups being lone males or adult females with young. Black rhinos that share a part or all or their range exhibit a familiarity with one another instead of the aggression that they exhibit to total strangers. Although at times several bulls may court a female simultaneously without apparent antagonism, serious fights and frequent deaths result from conflicts between males over estrous females. A premating bond develops between the bull and the cow, and the pair remain together during resting and feeding. They sleep in contact with each other.

The black rhino was formerly found in suitable habitat over most of Africa south of the Sahara, from southwestern Angola across the Cape Province up to East Africa and north, avoiding the Congo Basin and its rain forests, to Somalia and southwestern Ethiopia, then westward along a strip between the Sahara and the Congo and Nigerian forests to the region of Lake Chad. The black rhino population suffered an enormous reduction from a probable several hundred thousand at the start of the 20th century to less than 2,500 by the early 1990s. However, since 1995, black rhino numbers at a continental level have started increasing again. Hunting and clearance of land for settlement and agriculture were the major reasons for the decline of black rhino populations in the 20th century. The situation facing the black rhino is still critical. The demand for rhino horn from Asia for traditional medicines and from the Middle East for dagger handles persists, and the threat of a return to large-scale poaching is still present. 

The rhino is being hunted into extinction and could disappear forever unless we act now. Shocking new statistics show 440 rhinos were brutally killed last year in South Africa alone  a massive increase on five years ago when just 13 had their horns hacked off. European nations could lead the world to a new plan to save these amazing creatures but they need to hear from us first!
 
Fueling this devastation is a huge spike in demand for rhino horns, used for bogus cancer cures, hangover remedies and good luck charms in China and Vietnam. Protests from South Africa have so far been ignored by the authorities, but Europe has the power to change this by calling for a ban on all rhino trade -- from anywhere, to anywhere  when countries meet at the next crucial international wildlife trade summit in July.

The situation is so dire that the threat has even spread into British zoos who are on red-alert for rhino killing gangs! Let’s raise a giant outcry and urge Europe to push for new protections to save rhinos from extinction.

When we reach 100,000 signers, our call will be delivered in Brussels, the decision-making heart of Europe, with a crash of cardboard rhinos.

Every 50,000 signatures will add a rhino to the crash  bringing the size of our movement right to the door of EU delegates as they decide their position. Sign the petition on the right then spread this campaign widely.
  ENDANGERED SPECIES
1.
The giraffe is common in both eastern and southern Africa.
2.
The umbrella thorn is one of the most widespread trees in seasonally dry areas of Africa.
3.
The Dama gazelle inhabits all of the Sahara from east to west and the Sudan.
4.
The schimitar-horned oryx is confined to a narrow strip between Mauritania and the Red Sea.
5.
The cheetah was once found all over Africa, but it is now endangered in most of its former ranges.
6.
The spotted hyena was historically found throughout Africa, south of the Sahara Desert.
7.
The lion now survives in greatest number where humans are sparse.
8.
The demoiselle crane is found in north east Africa. The future for these birds is more secure than for many cranes, since they are so numerous and adaptable.
9.
The mandrill lives in parts of west Africa.Its habitat, tropical forests, are being destroyed at such a high rate.
10.
The potto is found in central and west Africa. The primary threat to the survival of the potto is habitat destruction.
11.
The chimpanzee is found in west and central Africa. The populations have been reduced and fragmented by human encroachment into their habitats.
12.
The bongo lives in parts of west Africa, Zaire, southern Sudan, Kenya, and the Congo. Habitat destruction, poaching and illegal trapping are leading to its endangerment.
13.
The gray parrot is one of the few parrots found in Africa.
14.
The gorilla lives in the mountain ranges between Rwanda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda where it is hunted by poachers for its meat and menaced by intense logging.
15.
The umbrella thorn is the dominant tree in many savanna communities and provides an important source of shade for both wild and domesticated animals.
16.
The leopard orchid is a species from South Africa. This orchid is named for the bold brown markings that spot the yellow blossoms.
17.

The African elephant’s natural habitat is forested savanna. Poaching for ivory is the primary cause of its endangered status.

18.
The false mufuti occurs in the north and east of Zimbabwe.
19.
The zebra is found in southeastern Africa. Zebras have been hunted both for their hides and for food.
20.
The southern ground hornbill can be found from South Africa to Kenya.
21.
The leopard’s habitat ranges across most of the African continent, with the exception of the Sahara Desert region.
22.
The sable antelope can be found in south eastern Kenya, Angola, and South Africa. Urgent action is needed to keep this animal off the extinction list.
23.
The king protea is the national flower of South Africa
24.
The southern double-collared sunbird lives in South Africa.
25.
The Erica junonia is blooming African plant.
26.
The bontebok is classified as vulnerable. It lives in the grasslands and coastal plains in the southwestern tip of South Africa.
27.
The cape scarab beetle can be found in South Africa.
28.
The cape mole rat is a subterranean rodent who is found in southern Africa.
29.
The geometric tortoise’s habitat is in Western Cape of South Africa.
  The endangered wild dog in the kruger national park
The Wild Dog is one of Africa's most endangered mammal species and can be spotted at the award-winning Sabi Sabi private game lodge in the Kruger National Park. The main contributory factor to the decline in population numbers is persecution by humankind, until recently even within conservation areas. Other factors are diseases like rabies and distemper, where Wild Dogs are in contact with domestic animals. Genetic inbreeding may be the possible cause of the Kruger National Park Wild Dog's life expectancy of only six years On Kruger Park Safari's you should be lucky enough to spot these rare creatures.
 
Males are slightly larger than females and weigh 20-30 kg as adults. Each individual has a blotchy yellow, black and white unique coat pattern, which makes it possible to identify every individual in a population with certainty. Wild Dogs prey mainly on small to medium sized animals, of which the Impala is the favourite prey. In East Africa, they stand recorded as having hunted prey as large as Wildebeest and Zebra. Wild Dogs hunt in packs, and all individuals collaborate in a team effort to chase and wear out pursued prey to exhaustion. Once brought to a standstill: the prey is killed by all the dogs tearing it apart at once - you could even be lucky enough to see this on your Kruger Park safari.
 
 
Endangered African Animals - Three Categories
 

The spotted hyena

The spotted hyena , also known as the laughing hyena or tiger wolf,is a species of hyena native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN on account of its widespread range and large numbers estimated between 27,000 and 47,000 individuals.The species is however experiencing declines outside of protected areas due to habitat loss and poaching.The species may have originated in Asia, and once ranged throughout Europe for at least one million years until the end of the Late Pleistocene. The spotted hyena is the largest member of the Hyaenidae, and is further physically distinguished from other species by its vaguely bear like build, its rounded ears,its less prominent mane, its spotted pelt, its more dual purposed dentition,its fewer nipples and the presence of a pseudo-penis in the female. It is the only mammalian species to lack an external vaginal opening.

The spotted hyena is the most social of the Carnivora in that it has the largest group sizes and most complex social behaviours. Its social organisation is unlike that of any other Carnivore, bearing closer resemblance to that of cercopithecineprimates, baboons and macaques with respect to group-size, hierarchical structure, and frequency of social interaction among both kin and unrelated group-mates. However, the social system of the spotted hyena is openly competitive rather than cooperative, with access to kills, mating opportunities and the time of dispersal for males depending on the ability to dominate other clan-members. Females provide only for their own cubs rather than assist each other, and males display no paternal care. Spotted hyena society is matriarchal; females are larger than males, and dominate them.

The spotted hyena is a highly successful animal, being the most common large carnivore in Africa. Its success is due in part to its adaptability and opportunism; it is both an efficient hunter and a scavenger, with the capacity to eat and digest skin, bone and other animal waste. In functional terms, the spotted hyena makes the most efficient use of animal matter of all African carnivores. The spotted hyena displays greater plasticity in its hunting and foraging behaviour than other African carnivores; it hunts alone, in small parties of 2–5 individuals or in large groups. During a hunt, spotted hyenas often run through ungulate herds in order to select an individual to attack. Once selected, their prey is chased over long distance, often several kilometres, at speeds of up to 60 km/h.
The spotted hyena has a long history of interaction with humanity; depictions of the species exist from the Upper Paleolithic period, with carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves. The species has a largely negative reputation in both Western culture and African folklore. In the former, the species is mostly regarded as ugly and cowardly, while in the latter, it is viewed as greedy, gluttonous, stupid, and foolish, yet powerful and potentially dangerous. The majority of Western perceptions on the species can be found in the writings of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, though in relatively unjudgemental form.

Explicit, negative judgements occur in the Physiologus, where the animal is depicted as a hermaphrodite and grave robber.The IUCN's hyena specialist group identifies the spotted hyena's negative reputation as detrimental to the species' continued survival, both in captivity and the wild

 

Cape mole rats
Cape mole rats closely resemble other African mole rats in physical appearance. They have cylindrical bodies with short limbs, and large feet with leathery soles. The head is large and rounded, and the tail is short, with only a few sparse hairs. As with other mole rats, the eyes are very small, and external ears are absent. Adults are around 16 centimetres (6.3 in) in head-body length, with a 2 centimetres (0.79 in) tail, and weigh around 180 grams (6.3 oz). Females have three pairs of teats.


Cape mole rats can most easily be distinguished from other species of mole rat by their fur. This is russet in colour over most of the body, with clearly distinct, silvery-white underparts. The head is darker, sometimes even a charcoal grey shade, with prominent white markings around the ears and eyes, and a smaller amount of white fur on the muzzle. The hair on the feet is also white. Unlike the related Damaraland mole rats, Cape mole rats have no guard hairs, although there are slightly longer stiff hairs around the mouth and feet, and the animals do have stubby whiskers. Lacking guard hairs, the fur is thick and woolly in texture

 

Zebras

Zebras are several species of Africanequids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and asses, zebras have never been truly domesticated.There are three species of zebras: the plains zebra, the Grévy's zebra and the mountain zebra. The plains zebra and the mountain zebra belong to the subgenus Hippotigris, but Grévy's zebra is the sole species of subgenus Dolichohippus. The latter resembles an ass, to which it is closely related, while the former two are more horse Like. All three belong to the genus Equus, along with other living equids.

The unique stripes of zebras make them one of the animals most familiar to people. They occur in a variety of habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, woodlands, thorny scrublands, mountains, and coastal hills. However, various anthropogenic factors have had a severe impact on zebra populations, in particular hunting for skins and habitat destruction. Grévy's zebra and the mountain zebra are endangered. While plains zebras are much more plentiful, one subspecies, the quagga, became extinct in the late 19th century - though there is currently a plan, called the Quagga Project, that aims to breed zebras that are phenotypically similar to the quagga in a process called breeding back.

  The giant sable
The giant sable antelope is evaluated as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The giant sable antelope, Hippotragus niger variani, also known in Portuguese as the palanca negra gigante, is a large, rare subspecies of sable antelope native and endemic to the region between the Cuango and Luando Rivers in Angola.There was a great degree of uncertainty regarding the number of animals that survived during the Angolan civil war. In January 2004, a group from the Centro de Estudos e Investigação Científica of the Catholic University of Angola, led by Dr. Pedro vaz Pinto, was able to obtain photographic evidence of one of the remaining herds from a series of trap cameras installed in the Cangandala National Park, south of Malanje.The giant sable antelope is the national symbol of Angola, and is held in a great regard by its people. This was perhaps one of the reasons the animals survived the long civil war.

In African mythology, just like other antelopes, they symbolize vivacity, velocity, beauty and visual sharpness.
Both sexes have horns, which can reach 1.5 meters in length. Males and females are very similar in appearance until they reach three years of age, when the males become darker and develop majestic horns. The male antelope weighs an average of 238 kg (520 lb) with a height of 116–142 cm (46–56 in). Females weigh 220 kg and are slightly shorter than males. The horns are massive and more curved in males, reaching lengths of 81–165 cm (32–65 in), while females' horns are only 61–102 cm (24–40 in) in length. Coloration in bulls is black, while females and young are chestnut, except in southern populations, where females turn brown-black. Most sable antelopes have white "eyebrows", their rostra are sectioned into cheek stripes, and their bellies and rump patches are white. Young under two months old typically are light brown and have slight markings.

The bontebok
The bontebok is an antelope found in South Africa and Lesotho. The bontebok has two subspecies; the endangered bontebok , occurring naturally in the Fynbos and Renosterveld areas of the Western Cape, and the blesbok occurring in the highveld.The bontebok is a tall, medium-sized antelope. They typically stand 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in) high at the shoulder and measure 120 to 210 cm (47 to 83 in) along the head and body. The tail can range from 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in). Body mass can vary from 50 to 155 kg (110 to 340 lb). Males are slightly larger and noticeably heavier than females. The bontebok is a chocolate brown colour, with a white underside and a white stripe from the forehead to the tip of the nose, although there is a brown stripe across the white near the eyes in most blesbok. The bontebok also has a distinctive white patch around its tail , while this patch is light brown tan in blesbok. The horns of bontebok are lyre shaped and clearly ringed. They are found in both sexes and can reach a length of half a metre.

Blesbok live in highveld, where they eat short grasses, while bontebok are restricted to coastal Fynbos and Renosterveld.They are diurnal, though they rest during the heat of the day. Herds contain only males, only females, or are mixed, and do not exceed 40 animals for bonteboks or 70 for blesboks.Bontebok are not good jumpers, but they are very good at crawling under things. Mature males form territories and face down other males in displays and occasionally combat.Bontebok were once extensively killed as pests, and were reduced to a wild population of just 17 animals, but the species has since recovered. Blesbok are extinct in their natural habitat, but they have increased in population to the point where they are now very abundant and avidly farmed, because they are popular quarry for hunters and are easy to sustain.
The leopard

The leopard , is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a "Near Threatened" species on the IUCN Red List.
Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.

The species' success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass,and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains.Leopards are agile and stealthy predators. Although they are smaller than other members of the Panthera genus, they are able to take large prey due to their massive skulls that facilitate powerful jaw muscles.

Head and body length is usually between 90 and 165 cm (35 and 65 in). The tail reaches 60 to 110 cm (24 to 43 in) long, around the same length as the tiger's tail and relatively the longest tail in the Panthera genus (though snow leopards and the much smaller marbled cats are relatively longer tailed).Shoulder height is from 45 to 80 cm (18 to 31 in). The muscles attached to the scapula are exceptionally strong, which enhance their ability to climb trees. They are very diverse in size. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg (66 to 200 lb) compared to 23 to 60 kg (51 to 130 lb) for females. Large males of up to 91 kg (200 lb) have been documented in Kruger National Park in South Africa; however, males in South Africa's coastal mountains average 31 kg (68 lb) and the females from the desert-edge in Somalia average 23 to 27 kg (51 to 60 lb). This wide variation in size is thought to result from the quality and availability of prey found in each habitat. The most diminutive leopard subspecies overall is the Arabian leopard (P. p. nimr), from deserts of the Middle East, with adult females of this race weighing as little as 17 kg (37 lb).


 

         


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