Fires & Drought

Fires & Drought

Gov. Brown understands better than anyone in America what Climate Change means: “Things like this will be part of our future … things like this, and worse,’’ he said yesterday of the fires ravaging his State.

And the people of Cape Town understand better than almost anyone in the world the prospect of running out of water. How they reacted to their prolonged drought, and how they managed it so well, is a model for all of us as we confront Climate Change.

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OnSafari: Headliner

OnSafari: Headliner

I remember when I was a young guide in Kenya, in particular about forty years ago when showing Purdue alums the Maasai Mara. After the first game drive I took the driver aside and yelled at him because he hadn’t found us a rhino.

We’d seen two prides of lions, one with cubs, about 100 ele, maybe thousands of various kinds of antelope, and a cheetah… all in about 4 hours. But no rhino. I remember those days shamefully now, but as I once was myself, so are the majority of first-timers on safari today.

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OnSafari: Rain in Cape Town

OnSafari: Rain in Cape Town

The water crisis in Cape Town is over … at least for now. Dam reservoir levels are at 62%, twice what they have been at this time for the last two years, and well above the average for the last decade.

Even so water use restriction remains in force and it’s both irksome (because of the current positive conditions) and understandable (because of climate change). It’s ironic that while being nearly rained out of several of our planned attractions, our hotel continues to forbid the use of the bathtub.

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Calamity Chad

Calamity Chad

Several generations ago five million people depended upon Lake Chad in central Africa for food and work. It was Africa’s fourth largest lake, the size of New Jersey, with bountiful fish and plenty of water for irrigated farming. Today the lake is one-tenth that size and supports 45 million people.

Equal assaults on the lake by climate change and overuse portend a day soon when it will all be sand. The run-up to that could be quick, a year or less, and the human catastrophe would be unprecedented like a nuclear attack on Japan.

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Eating Correctly

Eating Correctly

Wanda OrganicIn this topsy turvy world developing countries with huge social needs like Kenya are much more aggressively pursuing organic farming and containing climate change than the U.S. Do they know something we don’t?

Yes, or stated more correctly, they know something we stubbornly refuse to see at the tip of our nose.

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Mama Mia Culpa

Mama Mia Culpa

floodingTravelers and investors alike are going to have shift the way big game safaris are enjoyed and operated as a result of indisputable climate change over the equator. And this, of course, is actually incidental to the disruption caused millions of equatorial African residents.

I’ve seen first hand the melting of the glaciers in Alaska, and now I’ve seen first hand where some of that water falls: onto the equator and it’s unbelievable.

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OnSafari: Unexpected Torrents

OnSafari: Unexpected Torrents

drive.after.oldonyo.306If we left Saturday morning as planned and drove to our next destination, there was no doubt we’d get stuck. If we flew out we’d miss our next game park, Amboseli, because there were no connections that would work.

The rains have pummeled Kenya. Though heavy rains aren’t so unusual they don’t arrive with this intensity before mid-April. And remarkably we arrived our first lodge in dust and heat with the staff bemoaning there hadn’t been a drop of moisture since December 6. The next day we woke up to dripping ceilings and in 24 hours Oldonyo had received almost a fifth of its entire annual rainfall.

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Not A Drop To Swim

Not A Drop To Swim

No swimming CapeToday Cape Town authorities announced that the city’s water supply will likely end in 80 days. The normal dry season extends into April. “Day Zero” on April 15 presumes Capetonians will continue restricting themselves to 50 liters of water daily.

The severe drought effecting the city, the winelands and extending up a fairly narrow sliver of the country’s west coast is climate change at its starkest: The rest of the country including its agricultural regions have had normal to above normal rainfall.

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Lucky Leopard

Lucky Leopard

LionNursesLeopardPolitics are changing lightning fast and climate is changing lightning fast, and now it seems that wild animal behavior is also seriously changing.

I’ve written about the catastrophic decline of lions, but recently we learned of one of the weirdest wild animal behaviors ever: inter-species nursing! Combined with several years ago, when a lionness adopted an oryx (!) in Samburu, I think we’re seeing nature desperately trying to evolve as fast as earth’s temperatures warm.

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Who Cares?

Who Cares?

savetheiceWhy are professionals from zoo directors to scientists – much less you! – less interested in the lion decline than the elephant decline? Why are you donating to Save The Elephants but not Save the Lions?

Lions-Wild estimates there were more than 100,000 lion living in the wild when I started my career. Today there are 15-20,000. That decline is greater and much more alarming than that of rhino or elephant. Worse yet the world’s most important lion researchers say another 50% decline will occur in just the next few years? Why is there so much less interest in the lion decline? I think I know the answer.

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