Sunday, November 28, 2004

TRAVEL - Mountain Gorillas and Komodo Dragons

Couple of articles on the San Francisco Chronicle today.

Here's another account of a visit with the Mountain Gorillas to wet your appetite for making the trip yourself.
My three-hour climb up the steep and slippery slopes of 12,006-foot Visoke was marked by verdant foliage, oozing mud and the hope that my shortness of breath was due to the altitude and not a lack of fitness. Just when I thought my heart couldn't beat any faster, we cautiously descended into the midst of a dozen gorillas. A 375-pound silverback sat 20 feet away and eyed us with suspicion as a youngster and a few females approached.

And also, here's an article about the Komodo Dragons.
Hilly, hot and dry (it has less rainfall than anywhere else in Indonesia), Komodo is 130 square miles surrounded by some of the bluest, clearest, warmest waters in the Indonesian archipelago. The island is about 250 miles east of Bali. Intrepid travelers can island-hop there via the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa. (With time to spare, you can also continue to the island of Flores, where the three different-colored crater lakes of the extinct volcano Keli Mutu are truly one of the world's unknown wonders. Flores has been in the news recently after traces of hobbit-size early humans were discovered on the island.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

NEWS - Rwandan warblers benefit from Gorilla conservation

Nice to see that conservation efforts designed to help the Rwandan Mountain Gorillas can have a positive effect on other species too. In this case, the Grauer's Scrub-warbler
In Rwanda, a team of BP Conservation Award winners studying two globally threatened warbler species have been busy in the northwestern part of the country. After preliminary surveys in the Albertine Rift region, the team found that the Endangered Grauer's Scrub-warbler Bradypterus graueri has a viable population but is unevenly distributed in the Rugezi swamp, which has a high amount of human interference. Sound recordings gave a very preliminary suggestion that there were about 370 singing males in the population.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

LECTURES - 3rd Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2005

Just to remind you, the 2005 lecturer has been confirmed as Mark Carwardine. Visit Save the Rhino International - Lectures & Talks for more information.
7.30pm, Thursday 10 March, 2005 at the Royal Institution, London, W1.
The talk will be given by conservation's favourite zoologist Mark Carwardine. Mark co-wrote the book ‘Last Chance to See’ with Douglas, after their world tour searching for endangered species and you can expect many tall-tales to be recited on the night.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

WEBSITE - Denver Gorilla Run 2004 Photos

Here's a page with lots of photos of the Gorilla Run, recently held in Denver. Enjoy. The Jason A. Beattie Zone: Denver Gorilla Run 2004

NEWS - 'Original' great ape discovered

Startling news from the BBC News site regarding a new "missing link".
Scientists have unearthed remains of a primate that could have been ancestral not only to humans but to all great apes, including chimps and gorillas.

The partial skeleton of this 13-million-year-old 'missing link' was found by palaeontologists working at a dig site near Barcelona in Spain.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

KOMODO DRAGON NEWS - Into the dragon's lair

The Globe and Mail has this article on the lure of Komodo and their dragons.
Into the dragon's lair
A monster lizard with fearsome claws, a flickering forked tongue and a killer bite is proving an unlikely ally in Indonesia's efforts to revive a tourism industry shattered by the October, 2002, Bali bombing.

Though many travellers have been put off visiting the Southeast Asian nation in the wake of the attacks in which 202 people died, on a nearby island, the giant Komodo dragon has proved an enduring attraction to curious holidaymakers.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

AYE-AYE NEWS - Milestone for 'land of the lemur'

The BBC has this report on new developments for Madagascar's conservation efforts.
It has been called the eighth continent because of its unique wildlife which has evolved in isolation for 165 million years. But Madagascar's biodiversity - including 50 kinds of lemur - is under acute threat from slash-and-burn agriculture in what is one of the poorest countries on Earth.

The island has already lost at least 80% of its original forest cover, with over half this loss in the last 100 years.

Now, Madagascar has moved to protect its priceless wildlife (three-quarters of the estimated 200,000 plant and animal species are found nowhere else) and has identified the additional forests and wetlands that will more than treble the area of nature reserves from 1.7 million hectares to 6 million ha by 2008.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

BLOG UPDATE

Honestly, when I started this blog over 3 months ago I didn't know whether there'd be enough material to keep it going. But it's quite extraordinary how much news does pour in about the animals Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine went to visit for "Last Chance To See".

Just the last couple of weeks it has slowed up a little, giving me a bit of time to take stock, make some adjustments to the layout that I've been wanting to do for ages, and generally tidy the place up a bit.

It is very gratifying to see many of my visitors return for another quick update, and I'd like to thank you personally for dropping by from time to time. I knew when I started this project that there had to be other fans of the book out there who'd like to know what had happened to all the creatures in the intervening years.

Thanks for visiting. Please do introduce yourself in the comments and tell us a little bit about yourself, why you enjoyed the book, and why it keeps you interested after all these years. And, if there anything else you think I should be covering on the site, do let me know. Contributions are always welcome.

Gareth

Sunday, November 07, 2004

WEBSITE - PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Dian Fossey

Here's a transcript of a Voice Of America feature on Dian Fossey.
Dian Fossey returned to central Africa in nineteen sixty-six. She spent a short time observing Jane Goodall. Then she began setting up her own research camp in what was then the country of Zaire. Fossey sought help from the local native people who knew how to follow mountain gorillas in the wild.

A short time later, political unrest forced her to move to nearby Rwanda. She settled in a protected area between two mountains, Karisimbi and Visoke. There, she established the Karisoke Research Center. This would be her home for most of the next eighteen years. Much of that time, she worked alone.