You’ve probably heard that some 2×4’s are selling for $100 for ten-foot planks. According to Popular Mechanics this alone increases new buildings’ costs by 8%. This in turn increases old home valuations and rents. Trusted sources like Forbes say it’s temporary, due only to the supply/demand pop following the pandemic. They’re nuts.
One of the hunter’s best friends on the African continent has been the South African Government. Until last week.
You might remember the dentist from Minnesota a few years back who shot the famous lion “Cecil” in a private Zimbabwean reserve. The outcry was profound, the ramifications wide. South Africa kept trying to sweep it under the rug and finally agreed to a comprehensive commission. Late last week the government accepted really strict anti-hunting regulations rcommended by the panel.
Extremeley few Americans come to South Africa to do what my nine travelers and I are doing right now in Clanwilliam in the Cedarberg Mountains. Most Americans believe “Africa” means “lion” and little else.
Lions are one of my principal passions, but particularly when pursued in southern Africa I actually think there are other kinds of attractions that are more interesting and exciting. Like …flowers.
What wildlife authority in Africa recently issued this edict:
“Many wild animals in (?) have become displaced as the result of urban growth and habitat loss. [They] are becoming more common in urban areas and are frequently seen by people. These animals can cause problems. A resident landowner or tenant can legally capture some species of wild animals without a permit if the animal is discovered damaging property.”
What actually did the scientists at Oxford University tell us last week about the catastrophic decline in lion populations?
We’ve known for some time that lion populations are in trouble. The world’s preeminent scholar on wild lions, Craig Packer, issued a number of striking studies before his retirement several years ago. Packer was sounding the alarm a decade ago and just before retiring was so moved by his own data that he shook loose from his life-long support of sports hunting.
But nothing happens in vacuum. If you’re the vacuum cleaner man then it may seem so, and it seems to me the researchers from Oxford University are acting like vacuum cleaner men.
Today I assist our area’s most celebrated birder in conducting the “BBS” for our government. The Breeding Bird Survey gives me a great perspective when comparing African avifauna to the bird life of my home.
I was sitting in our breakfast room, the corner of the house all windowed, overlooking the lake when a red Corolla with a red canoe on top raced down our driveway and a tall lanky man with wading boots and a funny hat jumped out and ran to the edge of the lake.
When he raised his binoculars my concern turned to relief. I walked out barefoot in my jammies into the 45F spectacularly clear morning and introduced myself, but I all I did was manage to agitate him as he muttered, “Yellow over red. No… pink over red.”
So even scientists have been coopted, now. Today in Paris most all of the most famous scientists in the world issued an 1800-page much anticipated report detailing what the rapid loss of biodiversity is doing to us:
Killing us, essentially. By the way, what did you think about that last Game of Thrones episode? Pretty cool, isn’t it, that Alex Cora is skipping the White House meeting? Is it possible that climate change has something to do with the decline in biodiversity?
Last month one of the last known super tuskers died. The last time I saw one was in April, 2008. A “Super Tusker” is somewhat arbitrarily defined as an elephant with two tusks each at least 1½ meters long and each weighing at least 80 kilos. It was sipping water from a pool in Ngorongoro Crater.
Looking for super tuskers isn’t just a fun hobby. Elephant survival is directly linked to the size and weight of their tusks. Unfortunately, this is also the singular characteristic that attracts poachers.
Why does a miniature scorpion in Samburu remind me of one of the world’s greatest paleontologists?
When Richard Leakey published The Sixth Extinction nearly a quarter century ago, many disparaged what they contended was just another publicity stunt in the then ongoing personal wars between paleontologists who were finally getting their air time with Oprah.