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Tuesday 25 December 2012

When is a Christmas bug not a Christmas bug?

... When it's a Christmas cicada. From the Zambezi Traveller, Issue 11, Decemner 2012.
Christmas beetles are a southern hemisphere phenomena, a blessing brought by the summer rains and another reason for seasonal cheer – for some of us, anyway! Across southern Africa various species of cicada of the genus Platypleura are commonly known as Christmas beetles, despite not even being true beetles. Cicadas are amazing insects with incredible life cycles and phenomenal sound making abilities, for which they are often cursed.
Read more: Zambezi Traveller - The Sound of Summer
Zambezi Traveller - The Special Life of Cicadas
Photo Credit: Peter Roberts/The Zambezi Traveller

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Botswana to end sport hunting

From the Zambezi Travller, Issue 11, December 2012.

The President of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Ian Khama, announced in November that from 2014 Botswana will stop commercial hunting of wildlife in public areas.

Read more: Zambezi Traveller - Botswana to end sport hunting

Saturday 15 December 2012

Mining in Lower Zambezi Park thrown out

From the Zambezi Traveller, Issue 11, December 2012

In a landmark decision, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency has rejected mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park, under the Environmental Management Act of 2011. Despite the ruling, Zambezi Resources, the developers behind the proposed mining development, have lodged an appeal to the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

Red more: Zambezi Traveller: Mining in the Park thrown out

Zambia suspends timber licences to protect forests

Lusaka Times
10 November 2012

Government has, with immediate effect, suspended all timber licences to protect the depleting forests around the country.

Meanwhile, Parliament heard yesterday that over 25 million trees equivalent to 20,000 hectares will be planted during the 2012/2013 tree planting season countrywide to help address depleting forests due to increased deforestation.

Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister, Wylbur Simuusa said the programme would be implemented through the launch of the National Tree Planting Programme (NTPP). Mr Simuusa said the NTPP, once fully rolled out, could create over 200,000 jobs while the first phase of establishing 11 large scale forest nurseries and community ones could create over 6,000 jobs countrywide.

“There is urgent need Mr Speaker, for a serious concerted effort to address this very serious situation and for the first time in 30 years, your Patriotic Front (PF) Government in line with its manifesto has taken a bold step to address the depleting forest resources by funding my ministry with an initial amount of K12 billion,” he said.

Among other tree species to be planted in different parts of the country include, pinus and eucalyptus for timber, poles and resins, faldherbia albida for animal fodder, nitrogen fixing, firewood, moringa oleifera for medicine and oil and fruits trees.

Mr Simuusa said the purpose of funding was to establish 11 large scale tree nurseries in all 10 provinces and one at the Forestry Research Centre in Kitwe. He said the funding would raise 17,500,000 tree seedlings in 11 large scale forest nurseries countrywide by December 15, 2012 and would engage about 5,000 local people during production.

He said the funding would assist in developing an out-grower scheme to produce 8 million seedlings countrywide valued at K 1 billion which would involve chiefs, schools, churches and other stakeholders. At provincial level, he said, the nursery size could be two to three hectares per district, 1,550 tonnes of soil collected for nursery while 452 workers would be engaged in each province and at the Forest Research Centre. Central Province would have 700 hectares, Copperbelt 5,000, Eastern 2,700, Luapula 5,000, Lusaka 4,000, Muchinga 10,000, Northern 5,000, Northwestern 5,000, Southern 3,000, and Western 5, 000.

Read more here.

Friday 14 December 2012

Livingstone's Lechwe

When David Livingstone reached Linyanti on the banks of the Chobe in 1851, he not only found the upper reaches of the Zambezi, but also large numbers of a species of spiral-horned antelope specially adapted to the seasonally flooded marshlands, the lechwe (Kobus leche). Livingstone had been the first to describe this species to science when he became the first European to reach Lake Ngami in 1849, and he later discovered another subspecies when he travelled upstream and into Kafue Flats.
Read more: The Zambezi Traveller: Livingstone's Lechwe
Photo Credit: Zambezi Traveller