7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

June 14, 2017 by  
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Gallivanting across Africa in search of majestic and fascinating wild animals is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, and thankfully, there are more ways than ever to safari with an eco-friendly and socially conscious mindset. We found seven safari lodges that were created with heavy consideration for conservation and community: the only heavy footprint left is that of a gentle, gigantic elephant as he passes by. Chem Chem Safari Lodge This Tanzanian lodge , located within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area, prides itself on a “slow safari” ethos, with options including wilderness picnics, walking safaris with a private guide, and lessons in identifying wildlife tracks, as well as meetings with the lodge’s anti-poaching team . The tent-style suites and main house toe the line between rustic and glamorous and were crafted to bring to mind vintage safari lodges. A pool, spa , gourmet restaurant, and viewing tower make returning after a day of flamingo watching and safari-going a little easier. Greystoke Mahale Operated by Nomad Tanzania , one of East Africa’s original safari companies, Greystoke Mahale will make visitors feel as if they have ventured to a magical place where beaches, forests, and mountains exist in harmony. The native chimps are the main attraction here, but with the beach of Lake Tanganyika at your feet and Mahale Mountains behind you, it’s an ideal location for exploring waterfalls, swimming, and having kayaking adventures. Image © Exploring Tourism Zimbabwe Pamushana Lodge Pamushana Lodge , part of the conservation-focused Singita resorts family, has won multiple Leading Safari Lodge awards, and this Zimbabwe retreat gives back in a major way. As the ecotourism arm for a 130,000-acre reserve, Singita manages the lodge on behalf of an environmental trust: all proceeds from the lodge benefit conservation and community partnership efforts. The local culture is honored in small ways, such as the beaded and adorned throw pillows , as well are more dramatic ways, including the preservation of a diversity of habitats from grasslands to broad-leaf forests. Related|Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Not that you could ever get tired of seeing the usual suspects (giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc.) in real life, but the Grootbos Nature Reserve in South Africa offers alternate experiences including a marine safari to see the marine Big 5, a botanical 4 x 4 tour, or shark cage diving. The land is home to 791 plant species , including 100 endangered plant species, and milkwood forests that are over 1000 years old. Duba Plains Part of the Great Plains Conservation Camps, Duba Plains opened in March 2017, but it is already gaining a following for both its conservation and environmental stewardship as well as its proximity to plentiful wildlife (lions and buffalo are common sights). The rooms at the camp, located in Botswana ’s Okavango Delta, were built on recycled railway sleeper decking to provide prime and varied animal viewing access. Campi Ya Kanzi The only safari lodge on a 283,000 Maasai -owned reserve, Camp Ya Kanzi (aka Camp of the Hidden Treasure) shouldn’t remain hidden to you or your fellow safari adventurers: the expansive view of Kilimanjaro is reason enough to plan your visit. Stay in a tented cottage or tented suites or rent an entire private villa with a swimming pool supplied by rainwater . Image © SteppesTravel UK Camp Nomade Camp Nomade , located in Zakouma National Park in Chad , is exclusive in more ways than one: it’s only available from mid-December to mid-April each year when the park dries up, and can only host a maximum of eight visitors per week. With 360-degree views and the feeling of being plopped down in the middle of all the safari action, lucky visitors can look for buffalo, elephants , lions, leopards, baboons, and more. Lead image via Camp Nomade

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7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold

January 26, 2017 by  
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The rescued elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in India get a second chance at life after being abused and exploited by their former owners and handlers. Along with finally having the freedom to take walks, bathe and play in water pools, and scratch themselves up against trees, several of the sanctuary’s elephants recently received a new winter wardrobe: giant sweaters lovingly hand-knit by the villagers of Mathura. As the nighttime temperatures dipped to freezing levels last year, the center’s staff issued a call to local women to help provide a little extra warmth to the giant pachyderms. The villagers responded enthusiastically, coming together to knit and crochet the brightly colored sweaters . The elephants quickly took to their new attire and, judging from the photos, seem pretty intrigued by the knitting process itself. In addition to looking cheerful and festive, the sweaters help protect the vulnerable animals from the cold and stave off their arthritic symptoms. Related: Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips The only downside to this giant knitting project is the length of time to make one sweater: each one takes about four weeks to complete. As a result, only three of the 20 elephants at the sanctuary have been fully outfitted so far, while the rest have been given blankets. Since the elephants suffered years of neglect and mistreatment, they are especially susceptible to infections and illnesses, so staying covered up in the poncho/sweater/long john combos is essential for keeping them healthy. The center is hoping for more volunteers to continue knitting in order to outfit every elephant with his or her own sweater by next winter. Considering that Wildlife SOS plans to rescue another 50 elephants this year , that’s a pretty tall order. If you want to get involved , including  volunteering on-site with the organization and preparing food or helping to bathe these gentle giants or donating funds, click here . Via Booooooom , Daily Mail , and My Modern Met All images © Roger Allen

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Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold

Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month

January 26, 2017 by  
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Never one to dally, Elon Musk has announced he’s about to dig into his ambitious project to build a tunnel under Los Angeles. The new tunnel is expected to tame the city’s massive traffic congestion problem . According to Motherboard , the mogul announced the news via Twitter on Wednesday morning with a tweet that said: “Exciting news on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.” It’s clear that Musk is not one to let an idea languish, as he only stated his goal to build a tunnel in mid-December 2016 while publicly complaining on Twitter about the traffic problems in Los Angeles. “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” he wrote on Twitter in December. Related: Elon Musk says Trump administration may be “positive on renewables” “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company,’” he wrote, according to Motherboard . “Borings, it’s what we do.” And, a month later, after a meeting with then-President-Elect Trump , voila – it’s happening. Musk confirmed he’s soon going to begin work on a tunnel carved out by Tunnel Boring Machines that will start at some point next month. According to Motherboard, the tunnel will start across the road from the SpaceX office in Los Angeles, located in Crenshaw, near the 105 Freeway. Musk stated his interest in tunnels that would “alleviate congestion completely” as far back as 2015 in an interview with scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson . Via Motherboard Images via Maurizio Pesce and Minesweeper ,

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Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month

Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

January 4, 2017 by  
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Elephant poaching has ravaged populations in Africa for years – and now poachers are starting to target endangered pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo. On New Year’s Eve wildlife officials found the bones of Sabre, a male pygmy elephant known for having tusks similar to a sabre-tooth tiger’s. Only days before, they’d found another mutilated male elephant. Both horrifying incidents occurred less than a mile away from each other. Sabre was probably murdered in late November. Conservationists fitted him with a satellite collar after finding him on a palm oil plantation in October. They released him back into the wild, as poaching wasn’t thought to be a grave danger to elephants in the area. Related: 8 Heartbreakingly Adorable Endangered Animals That We Need to Save The other unnamed male elephant was likely killed about a month after Sabre; his face had been hacked off so the poacher could grab his tusks. Danau Girang Field Centre director Benoit Goossens said a professional hunter may have cruelly slaughtered the elephants. Goossens told The Guardian, “My hope is that Sabah wakes up…we are losing our megafauna, the rhino is gone, the banteng [wild cow] is going, the elephant will be next. Those crimes should not go unpunished. Let’s not lose our jewels, the next generation will not forgive us.” According to the World Wildlife Fund, only around 1,500 pygmy elephants are alive in the world. These small elephants struggling for survival in Sabah face deforestation and habitat loss, mainly at the hands of the palm oil industry. Wildlife Conservation Society Vice President of Species Conservation Elizabeth Bennett told The Guardian that elephants will be safe from poaching only when ivory markets are closed. China has announced plans to ban the ivory trade by the end of the year – and for imperiled elephants, that date can’t come soon enough. Via The Guardian Images via shankar s. on Flickr and Bas Leenders on Flickr

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Endangered Borneo pygmy elephants cruelly slaughtered for ivory

Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

October 27, 2016 by  
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An elephant is slaughtered every 14 minutes in Africa , according to a group called Air Shepherd that is utilizing drones to fight this horrifying trend. Their drones can obtain information at night when it’s hard for rangers to work, and monitor large swaths of land to search for animal poachers poisoning watering holes with cyanide. Not content to rest on their laurels, however, Air Shepherd is currently raising funds through their Indiegogo campaign to boost the volume of their drone flights. Air Shepherd, which is sponsored by the Lindbergh Foundation , harnesses technology to protect elephants and rhinos that are being poached with unprecedented regularity. Collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund , Air Shepherd flies drones in Zimbabwe ‘s Hwange National Park, covering more ground than rangers can on foot. If they see suspicious activities, they report it to rangers who can then go in on the ground and stop would-be poachers. The drones can fly at night, when poachers sneak in to poison watering holes, but when it’s difficult for rangers to operate effectively. Related: Could printing synthetic GMO rhino horns help save real rhinos from extinction? Air Shepherd’s head of drone operations Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg said in a statement, “Historically, there has been little ability for anti-poaching operations to work at night. You can’t see tracks, it’s difficult to see people, and it’s dangerous because the anti-poaching teams can walk onto elephants, rhinos, or buffaloes. Our night-time operations change the game in favor of the elephants and in the case of Zimbabwe we are in a unique position to help monitor the park during the day to spot poachers who are using cyanide.” Death by cyanide is agonizing for elephants, and often poachers come in to hack off their tusks before they are dead. But it’s easy for poachers to obtain cyanide, which enables them to kill a large quantity of animals in silence. Air Shepherd’s drones work to end the slaughter, and they’re hoping to send out even more teams to accelerate their work. Through money raised in the Indiegogo campaign, Air Shepherd hopes to outfit two new drone teams. Their initial goal was to raise $50,000, and they’ve already raised over $60,000. Their new goal is $200,000; you can back the campaign here . + Air Shepherd + Lindbergh Foundation Images via Air Shepherd Facebook

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Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips

July 5, 2016 by  
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Many great things spring forth from the tip of a pencil, including beautiful sketches, thoughtful prose, and scientific equations. In all those instances, the graphite running through the pencil serves as a tool for expressing an idea formed in the human mind. Chinn’s work is similar in that she carefully shapes the pencil’s graphite into representations of familiar objects (and now animals). The big difference is that Chinn’s sculptures require considerably more skill and accuracy than using a pencil as a writing or drawing tool. Related: A tiny train emerges from a pencil in this intricate sculpture To create the minuscule pencil sculptures , Chinn hand carves the graphite with the help of a magnifying lamp, trinocular microscope, and surely a metric ton of concentration. She plans each piece carefully and the design of the elephant sculpture evolved from her client’s initial request, all before the sculpting started. “I added some grid lines to help me scale the carving on the pencil lead,” she wrote in a blog post . “The client requested a single elephant, but then I turned it into three… then I wanted to add trees… then I wanted to add grass for them to walk on.” The artist, who lives in Nebraska, regularly creates commissioned artworks  such as this, but also sells sculptures via Etsy . If you are enamoured with Elephant Walk, she will even create a custom version of it for you, ranging from $200 to $800 in price, depending on how many elephants you’d like. Made-to-order versions of her famous train pencil carving are also for sale, as well as other items created using a plasma cutter, such as a handsaw depicting a cowboy and horse cut out of the blade. + Cindy Chinn Via Colossal Images via Cindy Chinn

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Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips

Stealth GPS in fake elephant tusks maps illegal smuggling routes

August 18, 2015 by  
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Using GPS tracking devices, a journalist has mapped the smuggling route of elephant tusks out of Congo’s Garamba National Park. The devices, installed into a pair of fake ivory tusks, helped investigative journalist Bryan Christy track the ivory from Garamba through Sudan. “These tusks… operate really like additional investigators, like members of our team, and almost like a robocop,” Christy told Terry Gross in an interview on NPR . Read the rest of Stealth GPS in fake elephant tusks maps illegal smuggling routes

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Stealth GPS in fake elephant tusks maps illegal smuggling routes

Breathtaking House Katarina feels like a modern treehouse

August 18, 2015 by  
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Breathtaking House Katarina feels like a modern treehouse

Congo president joins fight against ‘blood ivory’ with 5-ton burn

June 10, 2015 by  
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Congo-Brazzaville, the nation officially known as the Republic of the Congo, has joined the ranks of nations standing ground against illegal ivory poaching, by torching an enormous pile of elephant ivory seized several weeks ago. President Denis Sassou Nguesso set ablaze around 5 metric tons (11,000 pounds) of ivory, mostly tusks, during a summit to create the first pan-African strategy to combat wildlife poaching. African elephant populations have rapidly declined in recent decades, primarily due to illegal poaching. Read the rest of Congo president joins fight against ‘blood ivory’ with 5-ton burn Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: africa leadership , africa wildlife preservation , africa wildlife protection , african anti-poaching , burning ivory , Congo , congo-brazzaville , destroying ivory , elephant ivory , elephants , illegal ivory , illegal poaching , protecting elephants from poaching , republic of the congo , seized ivory

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Congo president joins fight against ‘blood ivory’ with 5-ton burn

VIDEO: Director Kathryn Bigelow takes on the illegal ivory trade in Last Days short

December 22, 2014 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. WARNING: video contains scenes that may disturb some viewers (but, then again, that’s the point!) Hollywood director Kathryn Bigelow has never been one to shy away from a difficult subject. However, now the Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker director is looking to a conflict of a different kind: the illegal ivory trade and its devastating effects on the African elephant population. In an unflinching animated short that tracks the path of a coveted ivory adornment in reverse, Bigelow drives home the demonstrated connection between the ivory trade and the terrorist organizations that profit from it. Bigelow takes the view that since gut-wrenching images of slaughtered elephants don’t seem to be slowing demand for ivory, getting ivory purchasers to understand that they are funding terrorism will hopefully be more of a deterrent. Read the rest of VIDEO: Director Kathryn Bigelow takes on the illegal ivory trade in Last Days short Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: elephants , illegal ivory trade , illegal wildlife trade , international wildlife crime , ivory , Kathryn Bigelow , Last Days , Last Days of Ivory , poaching , terrorism , Video

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