Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sudan: 0smano & Four Paws update from Khartoum #SudanAnimalRescue #SaveSudanLions #اسود_حديقة_القرشي

Photo credit: 
Osmano instagram 21 Feb 2020 - Lion cub from a zoo in Khartoum

Copy of instagram by Osmano in Khartoum, Sudan 03 Feb 2020:
Another day of amazing work by the dedicated and caring @four_paws_international team. The team spent the day at Sudan University Vetinary college which is within Kukoo Zoo. They carried out theoretical training as well as alot of hands on practical training for the students and staff of the University. Procedures were done on a lion cub (umbilical cord infection), monkey (fracture), crane and other bird. Once again there dedication and care leaves us speachless. Would like to thank the University, especially Dr Hind for all the help in organising and help in getting equipment out of airport for them.
Team work makes the dream work! 
📸 Four Paws International © | Marion Lombard @_rapaper_
#SudanAnimalRescue
#SaveSudanLions
#اسود_حديقة_القرشي
[ Sudan Watch Ed: to visit the above instagram with photos click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8zPCYmn73t/ ]
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Photo credit: 
Osmano instagram 21 Feb 2020 - Four Paws' vet treating bird in Khartoum

Copy of instagram by Four Paws in Khartoum, Sudan 03 Feb 2020:
🔻🇸🇩🔻#SaveSudanLions 🦁: Another daily update from Sudan 
Here is another look at the current mission in Sudan. Besides Kandaka and Mansour, the two other lions, a male and a female, have received special care from our emergency team on-site. Since these two lions arrived in Al Qurashi Family Park Zoo only two months ago, they are in much better condition than Kandaka and Mansour. Still, the female already has bowel issues due to the improper feeding. The two lions, as well as the other animals on-site, are receiving species-appropriate food and medical attention.
Please keep the animals in your thoughts and support the mission team on-site http://bit.ly/sudan-lions [LINK IN BIO]

[ Sudan Watch Ed: to visit the above instagram with video click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8G3kfAiqGB/ ]
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Photo credit: 
Osmano instagram 21 Feb 2020 - Four Paws' vet treating monkey in Khartoum

Photo credit: 
Osmano instagram 21 Feb 2020 - Four Paws' vet visiting Khartoum

Photo credit: 
Osmano instagram 21 Feb 2020 - Four Paws' vet visiting Khartoum

Photo credit: 
Osmano instagram 21 Feb 2020 - Four Paws' vet visiting Khartoum

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Sudan: International help for starving lions in Khartoum zoo - Osman Salih's story goes viral
Sudan Watch - 20 Feb 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sudan: the real magical kingdom - This is Sudan, land of the kingdom of Kush - The pyramids in Meroe

The pyramids in Meroe
GETTY

Article from The Sunday Times, UK
Written by Teresa Levonian Cole
Dated Sunday 23 February 2020, 12.01am

Sudan: the real magical kingdom
You’ll be enchanted by historic sights, dazzling desert and warm‑hearted locals

From the 16th floor of the Corinthia Hotel in Khartoum, I looked out over three ribbons of silvery water glittering in the sun. Two of them, on my right, belonged to the Blue Nile, which hugged the landmass of Tuti Island. On my left, like a muscular biceps, the bulge of the White Nile gradually tapered to where the two rivers met. In Egypt, such a significant union might be marked by fanfare or, at the very least, a tourist kiosk. But here, as I discovered when I took a boat ride downstream to the confluence, there is nothing. No guests, no celebrations: the marriage of the Blue and the White Nile is an intimate affair.
This is Sudan, land of the kingdom of Kush

Sunday, March 29, 2020

South Sudan: Call for citizen scientists to help unravel the mysteries of South Sudan's forests

Call for citizen scientists to help unravel the mysteries of South Sudan's forests
Dated 22 August 2018
Eastern chimpanzee caught on camera trap. Credit: FFI & Bucknell University

Conservationists from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Bucknell University biology researchers have teamed up with government and conservation authorities to capture more than 425,000 images through a camera wildlife survey in South Sudan. The Bucknell team has launched a website where volunteers can view the images to identify and verify animal species.

The website will be housed on Zooniverse, the world's largest platform for online citizen science; a collaboration between the University of Oxford, Chicago's Adler Planetarium, and the broader Citizen Science Alliance. It is home to some of the internet's largest, most popular and most successful citizen science [ https://phys.org/tags/citizen+science/ ] projects.

The researchers have already documented species [ https://phys.org/tags/species/ ] not previously known to be found in this richly forested area, where the wildlife [ https://phys.org/tags/wildlife/ ] of East and Central Africa collide to form a diverse and unique ecosystem. The project will enhance wildlife conservation efforts in a protected region threatened by poachers.

"We've already found eight species of large mammal not previously recorded in the region," said Bucknell biology and animal behaviour professor DeeAnn Reeder, who is leading the project. "They were found in an area suffering from heavy poaching that is exacerbated by conflict in the region."

Reeder and her research partners, including Laura Kurpiers, Bucknell, who designed the site, and conservationists Rob Harris, Adrian Garside, Nicolas Tubbs and Ivan de Klee of FFI, initially teamed with local wildlife service [ https://phys.org/tags/wildlife+service/ ] rangers to document and protect wildlife in the South Sudan, an effort funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group initially set up 23 motion-sensing camera traps in January 2015 which has grown to 76 cameras in the field today.
Photo: Bongo running. Credit: FFI & Bucknell University

Most of the images were captured in protected areas, as the studies are part of FFI's overall conservation program in the region, which began even before the country gained independence.

"The images coming out of this survey are really exciting, and will act as the essential scientific bedrock upon which effective conservation depends. South Sudan's forests still harbour many mysteries, but already the cameras are revealing just how important the region is for biodiversity [ https://phys.org/tags/biodiversity/ ]. 

The challenge now is to process all of the information the cameras are yielding, which is why we are asking for the help of Zooniverse users to help us identify the species in the pictures. But the ongoing struggles the people of South Sudan face, whether it be food security or unrest pose a threat not only to the country's people but also its wildlife, so time is of the essence," said Nicolas Tubbs, Senior Program Manager for Eastern Africa at FFI.

Images include some of eastern chimpanzees, the species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave Reeder her grant to document. They have also collected images of pangolins, an endangered scaly anteater that is among the most trafficked mammals in the world; forest elephants, which represents a significant expansion in their known range; and the African golden cat, which has been threatened by deforestation and bushmeat hunting.
Photo: Team finalising camera trap setup. From left to right: Nicola Junubi (WS), Imran Ejotre (Ugandan scientific partner), Charles Dikumbo (WS), Andrea Musa (WS), Masimino Pasquale (CWA). Credit: Fauna & Flora International

All images are time-stamped and can be viewed on at this site. Harnessing the collective brain power of multiple users, once 12 people agree on the specific wildlife species identification, the identification is confirmed for that set of images. Additional data such as behaviours observed and animal group size add to the richness and value of the data.

"Our species list is long, but we really want to precisely identify the specific biodiversity," Reeder said. "We are really excited about engaging citizen scientists because we know there a lot of people who care about wildlife conservation. The success of this project will be contingent on getting a lot of users."

Explore further

Saturday, March 28, 2020

South Sudan: Remote cameras offer glimpse into the 'forgotten forests' of South Sudan

Remote cameras offer glimpse into the 'forgotten forests' of South Sudan
by Sarah Rakowski, Fauna & Flora International
Dated 09 December 2015
Photo: Camera trapping survey captures newest country's first photographic records of forest elephants, African golden cat and more…

Remote sensing cameras ('camera traps') have given scientists an unprecedented insight into the wildlife of South Sudan—a battle-scarred nation still grappling with civil conflict following its declaration of independence four years ago.

The cameras were deployed as part of ongoing surveys under a partnership between conservation charity Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Bucknell University, and South Sudan's Wildlife Service to survey the wildlife of Western Equatoria State—an area that encompasses some 8,000 km2 of relatively unexplored terrain thought to be of high ecological importance.

The camera trapping survey was made possible thanks to a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Great Ape Conservation Fund, with additional funding from the Woodtiger Fund, Bucknell University and FFI.

Over six months, the camera traps captured more than 20,000 wildlife images, including the first pictures of forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) ever taken in South Sudan.

"This is an extremely important finding," explains DeeAnn Reeder, Professor of Biology at Bucknell University. "Forest elephants are Critically Endangered, and have declined dramatically over the last two decades. 

Finding them in South Sudan expands their known range—something that urgently needs further study because forest elephants, like their savannah cousins, are facing intense poaching pressure."

Forest elephants are ecologically and behaviourally quite distinct from savannah elephants and play an important role in forest ecosystems by dispersing seeds across a wide area, thanks to their frugivorous diet.
Photo: Forest elephant family. Credit: FFI & Bucknell University.

The cameras also found a number of other species never before recorded in South Sudan (or in pre-independence records) including the African golden cat, water chevrotain, red river hog and giant pangolin.

Chimpanzee, leopard, four species of mongoose, spotted hyena, yellow-backed duiker, honey badger, monitor lizard and a healthy population of western bongo are just a few among 37 species caught on camera during the survey, proving the ecological importance of these West Equatorian forests.

"Camera trap surveys play a fundamental role in biodiversity conservation," says FFI's Adrian Garside. 

"First, they provide information about the distribution, movements and behaviour of wildlife found within an area, giving us a baseline upon which we can measure changes and success. Second, and just as important, they offer clues as to where we need to focus our efforts, and they can even identify potential threats."

Conservation in times of conflict

FFI has been working in South Sudan since 2010 (in the run up to the country's formal declaration of independence) and first partnered with Reeder, an African mammal biodiversity specialist, in Western Equatoria in 2012. With substantial experience of operating in fragile and conflict States, FFI's focus has been on ensuring that South Sudan's remarkable natural ecosystems and wildlife could be effectively conserved from the outset of the country's independence.

To do this, FFI is helping to find pragmatic, community-focused solutions to environmental threats, while also ensuring that local authorities and stakeholders have the skills and equipment they need to manage their natural resources sustainably.
Photo: Golden cat walking on human trail. Credit: FFI & Bucknell University

As part of this mission to develop local capacity, Garside and Reeder ran a camera trap training exercise for rangers from the Ministry for Wildlife Conservation and Tourism and local Community Wildlife Ambassadors. During the last four years, local knowledge provided by people living in the area has helped the team find evidence of significant wildlife, and this local expertise also proved critical in the successful situating of the cameras. Joint patrols by the wildlife and community rangers continue to monitor the cameras and conduct data analysis.

But despite the successes of the survey, great challenges remain says Garside.

"The violence in South Sudan and the spectre of economic collapse is a challenging situation for conservationists, but we had established strong partnerships here before the current conflict and we are all determined to continue working together through this difficult period. To date, this support has included ranger training and biodiversity monitoring as well as numerous foot patrols to monitor wildlife and deter illegal activity.
Photo: Wildlife Ranger and Community Wildlife Ambassador setting camera traps. Credit: FFI & Bucknell University

"Experience has shown that wildlife and ecosystems often suffer enormously during and after conflict, and in periods of political instability, and this depletion of natural resources affects some of the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of society," says Garside.

"By maintaining our presence in-country, building good relationships with local communities and supporting our partners, we will find ourselves in a far better position to help people manage their resources sustainably, both now and in the future."

Explore further

Friday, March 27, 2020

South Sudan: Mystery monkey: Rare red colobus caught on camera in South Sudan

Report from Phys.org
Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
By Tim Knight
Dated 25 February 2020 
Mystery monkey: Rare red colobus caught on camera in South Sudan
Photo: Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

Oustalet's or Semliki? That is the question. It may not be on everyone's lips, but it's uppermost in the minds of conservationists after a rare red colobus monkey triggered a camera trap several hundred miles outside its known range.

The image was captured in a remote forest in South Sudan as part of the extensive and ongoing camera-trap [ https://phys.org/tags/camera+trap/ ] surveys that began in 2015 as a collaboration between Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Bucknell University and the South Sudanese government.

Even for seasoned primatologists, Oustalet's red colobus—the Central African version of these acrobatic, fiery-coated monkeys—is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. A remarkable 20 subspecies of this highly variable species have been described, according to The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals.

These include the version known to its close friends as the Semliki red colobus, named after the river valley in Central Africa where an isolated population was first recorded, and which may or may not turn out to be a separate species.

Identity crisis

While the experts are grappling with the complexities of colobus categorisation, there is no doubt that the monkey caught on camera represents a very exciting discovery, whatever the uncertainty surrounding which species or subspecies actually appears in the image.
Photo: Black-and-white colobus and red colobus. Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

Oustalet's red colobus—named in honour of a nineteenth-century French zoologist—is officially categorised as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, but is described as 'possibly extinct' in South Sudan, which lies at the extreme north-east of its range.

Most of the known populations elsewhere are widely scattered and typically confined to remote, seldom visited areas. This could explain why an apparently extinct monkey has remained undetected for so long before its cover was blown by a camera trap.

On the other hand, if—as the experts are speculating—the primate in the picture turns out to be the little-known Semliki red colobus, we have incontrovertible proof that this monkey occurs well beyond the previously accepted limits of its geographical range.

Either way, this is momentous stuff.

The latest photos, including the snapshot of the red colobus, are helping conservationists to compile an inventory of the previously undocumented species lurking in what is a relatively unexplored corner of Africa. The online citizen science platform, Zooniverse, is enabling the analysis of over half a million separate images captured by camera traps in this wildlife haven [ https://www.fauna-flora.org/news/south-sudan-latest-images-reveal-global-hotspot-biodiversity ].
Photo: Eastern chimpanzee. Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

Conservation in a conflict zone

FFI has been a constant presence in South Sudan for the past decade, despite the civil unrest that continues to blight the country. Focusing our efforts on the region of Western Equatoria, we are working closely with communities and government officials in order to build bridges, defuse conflict and secure commitment to a common conservation goal.

Decades of conflict have devastated lives and livelihoods—and wildlife—in what is now South Sudan. At the time of writing, a transition government has just been formed, sounding a note of hope for the future.

Mercifully, the biologically rich forested landscapes that lie within the 14% of the country that benefits from formal protection have remained largely unscathed. In particular, the band of dense tropical forest running along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the south-west of the country harbours an exceptional range of species.

Its remarkable diversity is due largely to the fact that this tropical belt lies at the eastern edge of the Congo Basin, at the point where Central and East Africa's respective assemblages of animals and plants collide and coalesce.

It is also the only region in South Sudan where the red colobus occurs, along with nine—possibly ten—other primate species, including the endangered eastern chimpanzee.
Photo: Duiker in the spotlight. Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

Primates under pressure

Wildlife trafficking and the bushmeat trade, combined with poaching pressure resulting from food insecurity, are putting numerous species at risk.

There is an urgent need for further investigation into the extent to which the red colobus and other threatened primates are targeted for bushmeat. 

In the meantime, the combination of regular patrolling and camera trap footage will help FFI and partners to build a clearer picture of this monkey's distribution and likely population size.

The red colobus revelation is highly significant, but is by no means the only secret laid bare by the coordinated and comprehensive camera-trapping campaign. The protected areas [ https://phys.org/tags/protected+areas/ ] where the motion cameras have been deployed and where patrolling has focused are evidently vital strongholds not only for this red-listed red colobus and other primates, but also for African golden cats, forest elephants and a range of threatened antelopes including yellow-backed duiker and bongo.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

South Sudan: images reveal global hotspot for biodiversity

South Sudan: latest images reveal a global hotspot for biodiversity
Report from Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
Written by Nathan Williams
Dated 16 August 2019

In 1979 the government of the Democratic Republic of Sudan and the government of Italy began working together to survey the incredible wildlife in the forests of Sudan’s Southern National Park in preparation for drawing up what they called a “Master Plan” for protecting the park.

Surveys undertaken over the following two years revealed a spectacular variety of animals, including elephants, pangolins, leopards, chimpanzees, monkeys, servals, hyenas and much more. With logging and hunting growing as threats, officials and researchers said, in an official report produced in 1981, that the protection of the park should be considered a “priority.” The stage seemed set for one of the world’s most biodiverse regions to secure the protection it deserved. 

But when civil war broke out soon afterwards, the plans were shelved. Conservationists left the country, government focus switched to fighting a war, and wildlife protection efforts were derailed for the best part of 30 years.

In recent years, despite the huge challenges, that has started to change. Fauna & FIora International (FFI) began working in South Sudan (when it was still part of Sudan) in 2010, and over the ensuing decade has built the trust and relationships essential to working in an environment still riven by civil conflict.

A significant development in FFI’s South Sudan work was reached when FFI and Bucknell University researchers teamed up with government authorities and local partners to deploy motion-sensing camera traps to record South Sudan’s still poorly understood wildlife.

Hundreds of thousands of images later, stunning pictures have emerged that shed light on the vast array of wildlife that inhabit these remote forests.

Through these images researchers have documented species not previously known to be found in this richly forested area, where the wildlife of East and Central Africa collide to form a unique tropical forest belt. From African golden cats to leopards, chimpanzees to aardvarks, the stunning images captured over the last year are evidence that this patch of Africa is home to some of the most varied wildlife on Earth.
Photo: A young bongo. Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

The images are hosted on Zooniverse, the world’s largest platform for online citizen science; a collaborative project of the University of Oxford, Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, and the broader Citizen Science Alliance.

Community engagement

This region of South Sudan has historically fallen within a regional wildlife trafficking corridor from Central to North Africa, so to enforce laws and step up protection FFI and its partners have initiated patrols, involving local people and communities, focused on working within two reserves.

Delivering this protected area management and maintaining community led conservation efforts within community managed areas requires the Wildlife Service rangers and the communities adjacent to the Game Reserves to work closely together – cooperation that is unique to this area of South Sudan. The bridges that have been built between communities and government officials has created a pocket of stability and security which is enabling the continued build-up of on-the-ground efforts.
Photo: A curious chimpanzee. Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

And these efforts are very much field-based. Despite the huge challenges of working in this region, FFI staff and its partners are not stuck in a compound but are out every day getting their hands dirty monitoring boundaries and conducting field work across a wide area of the landscape.

FFI’s approach also goes beyond dedicated species work and includes assisting communities with food security issues as well as equipping them with the tools for natural resource management. FFI’s goal is to see these communities become strong, long-term stewards of nature.
Photo: An African golden cat. Credit: Bucknell University/FFI

With civil strife a sadly regular feature of Sudanese life in recent years it would have been easy to pack up and declare South Sudan too difficult or dangerous to work in. Instead FFI has maintained a presence, adapting to situations and the reward is clear to see: some of the world’s most iconic species roaming the land they have called home for thousands of years, protected by a growing network of communities and conservationists.

Written by: Nathan Williams
Communications Executive, Press & Media
Nathan has a background in climate communications, journalism, and PR.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

S. Sudan: UN medal for 100 British Army engineers

Here, for the record, is a copy of an article from British Army UK Ministry of Defence 
dated 19 September 2017 14:01
Army Engineers receive UN medals

One hundred Scottish-based soldiers from 39 Engineer Regiment received campaign medals to mark their successful contribution to the United Nations’ peacekeeping effort in South Sudan at the at Kinloss Barracks.

Soldiers from the Regiment’s 34 Field Squadron built the groundworks for a new field hospital in Bentiu, also providing it with power, fresh and waste water pipes, with drainage installed to mitigate against flooding.

The temporary hospital supports 1,800 UN peacekeepers and staff, enabling them to continue working to improve conditions in South Sudan. It is run by medical staff, including specialists in fields such as infectious diseases, intensive care and surgery.

The engineers also reinforced the security infrastructure for a UN camp, enabling aid agencies to work with local people as part of the UK contribution to the UN Mission to the Republic of South Sudan, designed to protect civilians, monitor human rights and support the implementation of cessation of hostilities agreement under the terms of UN resolution 2155 (2014).

Major Wayne Meek, the Officer in Command of the team during their time in South Sudan said: “The work of the soldiers of 34 Field Squadron in South Sudan has benefitted extremely vulnerable civilians by enabling aid agencies to deliver aid.

“Our troops overcame tough conditions with extreme weather conditions, a sensitive security situation and the prevalence of diseases not seen in the UK. The Squadron worked long hours throughout the deployment but it was important to us to achieve as much as we could possibly could during our time there.

“Today’s medal presentation is recognition of the UK armed forces’ global role but it also says thank you to the soldiers and their families for their service too.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Webster, Commanding Officer of 39 Engineer Regiment echoed Major Meek’s sentiments, saying: “It's been a huge privilege to contribute to an essential UN mission and I'm very pleased that these efforts are being recognised in the September parade back here in Moray, the home of 39 Engineer Regiment.”

The medals were presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston, Commanding Officer (Lt Col Jim Webster) and Major Wayne Meek.

The British military contingent in South Sudan also provides engineering support to the UN mission in both Bentiu and Malakal, including projects like the construction of a jetty on the River Nile, helicopter landing sites, and other infrastructure improvements.

39 Engineer Regiment provides Force Support engineering and construction to both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and to the Army; as such it is the only regular Army regiment focused on providing force support to the Air component. Its specialist Air Support Engineering, Combat Engineering and Artisan trade skills mean that it is called upon regularly to support UK operational commitments.

S. Sudan: 160 British Army engineers awarded medals

Here, for the record, is a copy of an article from The Press and Journal UK
By DAVID WALKER dated 17 July 2019, 10:04 am

Medals to be presented to Moray soldiers who took part in peace-keeping mission in South Sudan
Soldiers based at the Kinloss Barracks will be honoured for their role in a UN peace-keeping mission in South Sudan.

Squaddies from the 39 Engineers Regiment who have been deployed on Operation Trenton will be presented with their medals in Grant Park, Forres next week.

A parade of 160 soldiers will start at 10am a week on Friday, with troops marching from Tytler Street down the High Street, and onto the park.

When there, the 160 soldiers will be presented with their medals.

The troops from 39 Engineer Regiment were based in Malakal and Bentiu and during their time there they completed a wide range of construction projects, including building a hospital and new roads.

They also provided training in carpentry, bricklaying, concreting and domestic electrics for the local population, and delivered self-defence classes for women living in civilian camps.

View original article here: 

South Sudan: Medals for British troops supporting United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

Here, for the record, is a copy of an article from and by Sudan Tribune.com
Dated Monday 29 July 2019 

British troops get service medals for South Sudan mission
July 28, 2019 (JUBA/LONDON) – A total of 160 British troops who were deployed on Operation Trenton in support of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have been awarded service medals.
Photo:  British Troops, proudly wearing their distinctive blue UN berets arrives in Juba on 2 May 2017 (UN/Isaac Billy Photo)

The troops, from the 39 Engineer Regiment, were in the war-torn East African country for a six months operation.

The British troops were based in the South Sudan capital, Juba and near two protection of civilian camps at Bentiu and Malakal.

Their work focused on improving facilities for other UN troops, strengthening and securing the civilian camp’s protective fences.

Two more engineering units are set to replace the 39 Engineer Regiment in an operation is expected to end in March 2020.

A team of 14,000 people, among them peacekeepers, police, security and civilian personnel, from more than 60 different countries are currently active in the country as part of the UN mission.

Since July 2011, the UN has been carrying out a mission in the country to protect civilians and restore durable peace in the region. (ST)