Category ArchiveAllgemein

October Picture: Eastern black-backed jackal

Black-backed jackals exist in two subspecies, an East-African and a Cape version. The canines look a bit like a mixture of fox and wolf. Obviously the dark back gave the name to this jackal species. They are not endangered due to their excellent ability to adapt.

 

Usually jackals are hunting with their family at dusk. In areas without rivals they can also be seen during daytime, near human settlements – where they can perfectly live as well – they are nocturnal. Main food is meat, usually from smaller species up to mid-size antelopes such as impalas, but they also eat plants and berries and can live from human waste. They are effective hunters, but can be lazy if possible and follow lions to eat the leftovers.

 

Black-backed jackals live monogamous with their offspring that leaves the parents at about 2.5 years of age to form an own family. Usually 3-6 puppies are born, about half of them survives. Gestation period is two months, sexual maturity is gained at about the first birthday, the average life expectancy is about 7 years. Main enemies of small jackals are predators and birds of prey, for adults leopards.

 

In situ conservation in Nigeria: Interview with Zack Schwennecker

Some kind of firm partnership was established in the previous years between Charity Kalender and Save the Drill. The organization, which plays a big role in funding the conservation work for drills in Nigeria and Cameroon, is supported for the fourth time. Zack Schwennecker, 28, studied zoology at the Michigan State University. After graduating he started to work in Nigeria’s Afi Mountains. He told us how this has happened, what he is doing over there and how he deals with the tough everyday work.

 

Zack, you work for the Drill Ranch in Nigeria since 2015 – how did it happen that an American college graduate ended up living far away from home in Africa?

I have volunteered at Drill Ranch from March 2015-February 2016, October 2016-May 2017, July 2017-May 2018 and then returned in November of 2019 as the Project Manager. I followed in the footsteps of my cousin who volunteered at Drill Ranch on and off for 5 years. I grew up hearing of stories from her at our annual family reunions and that is what inspired me to study Zoology at Michigan State University. When I graduated from Michigan State, I had no plans for my future and not really a whole lot of options. My resume was not impressive. When my cousin floated the idea that I should come and volunteer with her at Drill Ranch it was an easy choice to say yes.

 

Your job title is “Project Manager” – this can pretty much mean everything and nothing. What exactly is your typical range of work?

There is nothing typical about our work and no 2 days are the same. Depending on our staffing situation, I have to do the veterinary work and all of the corresponding recordkeeping with that(600 animals!), accounting, national staff and volunteer management, construction and design, food buying, community/government engagement on conservation issues, legal/immigration for expatriate volunteers, and so on. And this is at 2 different project sites whose needs and operations run quite differently. When staffing is good, most of these areas are covered by either national staff or expatriate volunteers working with national staff. When it is bad, it may be a 14-16 hour day just to get routine work done.

 

When you came to Nigeria, did you expect your life to be like this? What has been the biggest problem for you personally since living there?

I had very little expectations coming to Nigeria, which I think has served me well. I have found that many people who have ambitions and dreams of working in Africa become disappointed with the realities of working here. It is not the glamorous work that can often be portrayed on National Geographic etc.. So I think arriving with very little expectations has allowed me to come in and see Nigeria for what it is and thus avoid some of the disappointment that many have working in such a difficult place.

The biggest challenge personally in the past 2 years my age. Nigeria, and Africa generally puts a lot of emphasis on seniority and being just 28(started volunteering when I was 22) means it is more challenging for me to earn credibility amongst peers and staff. With that being said, having been here 6 years I know a lot about the project, the country, and the issues we face which has helped overshadow my youthfulness a bit.

 

You are working for the Drill Ranch since a couple of years now despite of the difficulties you faced. How do you maintain your motivation / what is your personal drive to keep up your work?

I think anyone working with animals finds their motivation from the animals. When your success can often be so small and your failures often severe, just being able to see the animals thriving in their natural state, albeit in a semi-captive setting, is enough motivation for me to continue fighting for them. When you see an animal come in who has suffered severe trauma, often at the hands of human beings, grow up and forgive the past tragedies, the least any of us can do is go above and beyond what we thought we were capable of to help that animal.

 

September picture: Grant’s zebra

Zebras basically are well known animals, but many do not know a lot in detail about Africa’s wild horses. It is not too difficult though, there are three zebra species: Grevy’s zebras, Mountain zebras and plains zebras. Mountain zebras have two subspecies, while there are five living subspecies of plains zebras: Grant’s zebras, Burchell’s zebra, Chapman’s zebra, Crawshay’s zebra and Maneless zebra. In Kenya there are two different kinds of zebras with Grevy’s zebras and Grant’s zebras.

 

The calendar picture shows a young Grant’s zebra foal, which nicely allows to display differences to other zebra species and subspecies. First of all it is the mane that ends brownish and not as black as other zebras. Grant’s zebras stripes are pretty broad, which in this case can be seen on the neck but it will be more obvious when the animal is grown up. Plains zebras have so called shadow stripes between the black and white main pattern, which in case of the Grant’s zebras are just a few or are not existent at all. This foal has some on the upper hind leg. Also characteristic is that the stripes go down until the hoofs, while some species/subspecies nearly have white legs.

 

IUCN lists plains zebras as such as “near threatened” since five years. The general category is a bit surprising as the subspecies have huge difference in the number of animals. In total there are about 500.000 plains zebras but nearly 400.000 of them are Grant’s zebras, so this subspecies is not endangered at all. This is totally different particularly with the Chapman’s zebras, Crawshay’s zebras and Maneless zebras that all would require higher protection. However, a DNA research in 2018 suggested that plains zebras probably have no subspecies and are just one species with regional differences, e.g. that the stripes of northern zebras are wider and southern zebras show more shadow stripes.

 

When thinking of zebras in Africa many imagine a picture of hundreds or thousand animals. However they live in small families, which merge together into large formations. One herd always contains of one stallion with a few females and their offspring. Young stallions merge to bachelor groups until they are experienced enough to challenge an adult stallion to take ove his herd. If he succeeds he chases the offspring away or even kills them to have own offspring as soon as possible. It takes eleven months until the foals are born, another eleven months they are fed by their mothers. Sexual maturity is gained at the age of three for females and at the age of five in case of stallions.

August-Picture: Augur buzzard

Next to the jackal buzzard the augur buzzard is one of only two larger species of buzzards in Africa. He lives in ranges usually starting from 1.500 meters – as well as here on this picture, which was taken at the Aberdare national park. Despite of this augur buzzards are no endangered species. His range is from Ethiopia down to Namibia wherever there are regions at such a height.

 

The body size of the bird is about 60 cm, while the wingspan goes up to 1.50 meter. Seen from below augur buzzards are nearly completely white with the exception of the black-framed feather tips. Heard and upper side are mainly blackish-gray with a slight part of white. There also are melanistic bird in the nature, which are entirely black on the upper side.

 

Mostly these birds live in monogamous pairs, one nest is being bred more often. Regarding the nutrition augur buzzards are not picky and take what they can get. Researches of the stomach content of dead birds showed that reptiles – from lizards to snakes – mostly make up to 60% of their food. Next to them smaller mammals like rats, hyraxes and hares are on their list, while also chicken and other ground living birds of their sizes such as francolins can become a victim.

June-Picture: Common Impala

Impala are well known antelopes, which basically are spread in large parts of Africa. Within the group of bovids they form an own subfamily consisting of two species. One of them is the rare and endangered black-faced impala, which mainly lives in Namibia, while the common impala is having a wide range in Eastern and Southeastern Africa. The German name of the common impala translates back to black-heel impala – in fact the species has a black spot on their hind heels.

 

Juvenile male. The black spots on the hind heel can be seen well on this picture. Picture taken at Zoo Osnabrück

 

The pictures shows a few months old male impala. He is grown fairly tall but his horns are still small. Female impala remain without horns. Characteristics are the slim body and the large black-and-white colored ears. When the young male turns about one year old he will be kicked out of his herd and will be looking to join other males of his age to form a vital bachelor group. They offer another protection against predators and at the same time they learn to fight. It takes about four years until they are old, powerful and experienced enough to challenge a proven male to ideally take over his herd. Females have an easier life, they remain within their herd of birth and become sexually mature when they are about 1.5 years old.

 

Female Impala

 

For antelopes of their size impalas turn relatively old. In the nature males reach an age of about ten years, while females live about 14 years. In zoos singular animals are supposed to have turned 25 years old. In the wild they have numerous enemies who want to prevent impalas from turning this old. Most dangerous for these antelopes are leopards, followed by African wild dogs. Also other carnivores are dangerous for them but lions, hyenas and cheetahs do not have them high on their list as favorite food. Juveniles also are endangered from the air since birds of prey can take the small impalas up into the air. Despite of all the dangers the numbers of common impalas is estimated to be about two million.

 

Young but fully grown male impalas in their final stages in their bachelor group.

Donation Handover for the Reticulated Giraffe Project

Everywhere in the world covid is causing its cahnges, and also the donation handover picture is a little bit different than it used to be. Nonetheless the supported projected say thank you for the support. Representing for the Reticulated Giraffe Project in Kenya’s Samburu National Park, EEP studbook keeper Jörg Jebram of Opel-Zoo Kronberg sent this picture. His suggestion led to chosing this project, which was supported with 500 Euro by the income of the Charity Calendar “Wildlife of Kenya 2021”

 

“Wildlife of Kenya 2021” collects more than 1.000 Euro profit

This year’s calendar campaign “Wildlife of Kenya 2021” has finished. A plus of 1.129,84 Euro is the result – the profit was already wired to Rettet den Drill and the Recticulated Giraffe Project in Kenya’s Samburu national park.

 

The highest cost factor of the calendar project naturally is the production of the calendars itself. By far the second highest aspect is the shipping – calendars have an uncommon format for shipping companies, which is why 4,90 Euro apply for national deliveries. In a lesser extent the cardboard packaging – a special calendar format is used here – is the next bigger factor. Next aspect are the side costs of the money transfers, which is nothing but the fees PayPal takes for their services. Of course also the state wants his taxes, while this year a little bonus was the VAT reduction from 19 to 16% due to the covid crisis. Under the bottom line this results in the final amount of 1.129,84 Euro profit from income of 1.955 Euro prior taxation. No money is kept for administration or own profit! Thanks a lot to all purchasers and supporters of Charity Kalender!

 

January-Picture: Lion

On safaris lions belong to the animals everybody wants to see. In Kenya this happened pretty reliably, in the wildlife sanctuaries Solio Ranch and Ol Pejeta, as well as in the Masai Mara where this picture was taken.

 

As in zoological gardens, the chance to see lions in action is rather small as lions sleep about 20 hours per day, regardless if they are kept in captivity or live in the wild. However, this does not mean that you can detect these carnivores easily as the grass is pretty high and there are many bushes in Kenya – many places to hide. This experienced lion lay alone close to a bush. The probability to find further lions nearby is high since lions are the only cats to live in a pack and not solitary. A male who loses his family to a younger rival usually dies shortly after as consequence of the fight, or based on the fact that he alone has problems to catch pray since his lionesses have been hunting for him previously. For this reason a male lion barely reaches an age of ten years in the wild, while a male zoo lion can reach twice this age.

 

In this scenario no other lions were to be seen for a long time until suddenly there was movement in the high grass on the other side of the car. Two lionesses lay there well hidden with cubs. The male cat obviously was not disturbed by the car that separated him from his pack. Quite in contrast, he turned around and rubbed his back on the around – in this moment the lion king rather seemed to be a playful kitten.

 

Not fully clear is the status of the lion. Formerly he would have been determined as panthera leo nubica – the Nubian or East African lion. Latest DNA analyses only split lions into two species: panthera leo leo and panthera leo melanochaita. Latter species is home in southern and eastern Africa and thus also would be the species living in Kenya. The subspecies leo exists in central and West Africa plus the Asian version in India. It remains to be seen whether or not this is the final taxonomy. Safe is that the white lions as shown in some zoos are no own species but only an intended color variation.

Reticulated Giraffes in zoos and the wild – Interview Part 2

CK: In Germany there only are five reticulated giraffe bulls left – three of them are in their final period of life, one has no cows around, and only the Serengeti Park Hodenhagen has a young stallion who realistically seen could breed. Will we have to say goodbye to reticulated giraffe births in Germany permanently?

JJ: As coordinator I always have the entire situation on mind, not any national borders. However, I do not think that we have to say goodbye to newborns forever. Yet due to their long gestation period of 15 months changes happen very slowly. Thus it can happen quite some time until reticulated giraffes are born on a regular base again in Germany.

 

 

CK: In general recitulated giraffes are breeding very well, it would easily be possible to raise the number of animals in zoos, while the number of free living animals is going down more and more. This automatically leads to the question why there is no breeding to re-send giraffes to the wild.

JJ: At the moment the situation for releasing giraffes to the wild is not existing. As so often when population numbers in the wild are declining the situation has to be changed in a way that the threat is reduced or a safety area is created before this makes sense. We are working on this strategy at the moment and honestly said I hope that the number of giraffes in Africa can recover and be stabilized without the help of zoos. Nevertheless I coordinate the studbook in a way that zoos could help with genetically healthy animals if needed. At the moment I try to help that the situation of giraffes in Africa is changed into the positive without zoo releases.

 

CK: How big is your hope particularly for reticulated giraffes that the situation changes for the good? Realistically seen Kenya is the only country, which still has this species.

JJ: It is difficult to evaluate whether or not we can succeed in keeping up the wild population of reticulated giraffes. For sure we need to do everything we can to lower the threats and create safe areas for the animals. Only when this is succeeded we can judge on the situation and see if we need to support with zoo giraffes.

 

CK: Which further actions can be done from zoos to improve the situation in the wild?

JJ: In the last few years I promoted the cooperation between zoo and giraffe conservation in their natural habitats. Within our giraffe group we created a subgroup, which merely focuses on the topic of giraffe protection within Africa and tries to link it closer to the zoos. For example various research and conservation projects were evaluated with an enormous amount of time to recommend them to zoos as worthy to support. This close collaboration between in-situ and ex-situ protection remains one of the goals of the breeding program.

 

CK: At last, you are the studbook coordinator of the various giraffe subspecies and have worked with baringo giraffes in Gelsenkirchen and now in Kronberg. Does this subspecies automatically become kind of a favorite or would you be open to working with other subspecies in your daily routine?

JJ: It is true, baringo giraffes are accompanying me since taking over the role as studbook keeper. Still, I like the other subspecies as well and am fascinated by them. That way I enjoy it a lot when visiting colleagues who are working with other subspecies. Naturally it happens that I compare the specialties of these animals to “my” baringo giraffes. This does not happen due to being my favorites but rather because I see them every day when working in the zoo.

 

Reticulated Giraffes in Zoos and the Wilderness – Interview with studbook keeper Jörg Jebram

One man is coordinating and deciding, which giraffes are living in which European scientifically led zoos, and which ones are allowed to breed. Jörg Jebram directs the European studbook, until end of 2019 from Gelsenkirchen Zoo, since 2020 out of Opel Zoo Kronberg. He gave the recommendation to support the Reticulated Giraffe Studbook in Kenya’s Samburu Nationalpark, and Charity Kalender talked to him about his activity within the zoos and the situation of the reticulated giraffes in the wild.

 

Charity-Kalender: Mr Jebram, 13 German zoos keep reticulated giraffes, no giraffes subspecies can be seen more. Indeed the number of giraffes is going down, the last offspring was born 2016 – what is the reason for it?

Jörg Jebram: About eight years ago I started coordinating the European studbook for the giraffe subspecies. Back then the populations were too big. There basically was no space to send offspring to other zoos. In 2014 we developed a so called long term management plan for each subspecies. The aimed population size for reticulated giraffes was determined to be 130 animals based on a precise analysis of the genetic data. Right now we have 149 reticulated giraffes in the studbook, so we still have 19 more than we need for maintaining a healthy population. The aim still is to reduced the total number a little.

 

CK: How do you want to reach the reduction aim?

JJ: This mainly happens by reducing the number of births. The lowering of the total number as well as the number of births is intended. The German colleagues supported me a lot in this process and I am very thankful for this. A studbook always depends on the singular participants and never is the work of one person alone.

 

CK: How difficult was it to convince other zoos of the reduction? After all zoos like to present offspring to attract visitors.

JJ: In my opionion the decisive factor was the fact that possible offspring could not be placed in other zoos when reaching the sexual maturity – the offspring would have needed to stay at their place of birth. Back then I communicated this intensively and precisely to the keepers to explain the situation. I think that this open and admittedly very time consuming communication was a key in motivating zoos to help reduce the birth rate.

 

 

CK: In Germany a reformation of the mammal keeping guideline was introduced in 2014, which caused a severe increase in needed size for the enclosure as well as for the giraffe houses. In how far is this a problem for the future of keeping giraffes?

JJ: This has little until no influcence on my work. At least no zoo approached me that they want or need to give up their giraffes. I think the German zoos were and still are having a very high standard. Scientifically led zoos are permanently questioning their enclosures and adjust them if necessary. In my opinion the size of an exhibit does not say a lot about the quality of keeping the animals. Of course the size of each enclosure needs to be adequate for the animal and his behavior, but there are some other factors, which at least are as important. Thus I don’t like to see the mere size being put into attention that much.

 

CK: In the past bulls have been sent to a herd at an young age when reaching the sexual maturity and caused lots off offspring. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the population management if the boys first were sent to a group with young stallions and when breeding bulls are needed they’d be taken out of these groups at an higher age?

JJ: From a genetical point of view it does not matter if the bull is coming to a group of females at an age of 2.5 or of 5 years, the genes are the same. As mentioned, the breeding success is very good with the current way of management. In the nature the old and experienced bulls determined the reproduction until they are chased away from younger bulls. I don’t think that a stay in a bachelor group has any influence on the well being of an animal, in the wild it is a way for the young bulls to survive – rather kind of a necessary community. In the wild the animals fight to reproduce, in zoos they are selected by their genes. I take a look at how often the genetic lines are already represented and which are not as much used. Latter ones usually are preferred for breeding to keep the genes as much spread as possible over many years. The age or the group constellation they were brought up with does not really matter for this choice.

 

In the next days you can read part 2 of this interview, which mainly is about the situation of the animals in the wild.

Drill keeping in zoos – the current situation

Most people who know about drill monkey will have met them in a zoo. The chances for this are not too good though, there are only 18 drill keeping zoo worldwide – nearly all of them in Europa. Germany is offering the best chance for it with five zoos (Munich, Hanover, Osnabruck, Wuppertal and Saarbrucken).

 

The 16 European zoos reached a smaller milestone in 2019 when the number of kept species reached 100. At the end of the year an exact number of 103 drills was reached – a positive development considering that the number of 50 animals was not reached before 2005.

 

The current tendency goes to keeping drills together with other species such a forest buffalos in Osnabruck, brazza monkeys in Hanover or pygmy hippos and sitatunga in Valencia. Also it is tried to keep several males together in one group.

 

What is so special about working with drills? The best people to evaluate it are the zoo keepers who deal with them in their daily life. They are especially impressed by the character of the animals. Herbert Harder of Zoo Wuppertal considers the work with them as challenging as you need lots of empathy and diplomacy to gain the trust of the animals, which forces you to keep learning constantly. Also Kathrin Paulsen of Zoo Hanover uses a similar description when she says that all drills have an individual character, which has to be considered as well as their relationship and friendships – with the special challenge that their relations can change during the course of the time.

 

Maybe gain a personal impression about it when you have a chance to visit a drill keeping zoo nearby.

 

Calendar Pictures 2021

Here you can view all pictures of “Wildlife of Kenya 2021”. Needless to say that the pink sign on the ostrich-pictures has been edited for the print version.

 

Reticulated Giraffes

Many people know reticulated giraffes from zoos where this species can be found relatively often. Yet scientifically a lot is not known yet. Already the question whether it is a species or “only” a subspecies is not fully agreed upon. Traditionally giraffes are considered to be one species with nine subspecies with the reticulated giraffe being one of them. An extensive genetic analysis of the Senckenberg Institute delivered the result that giraffes have to be evaluated anew. Four different species were recognized, of which one is the reticulated giraffe.

 

For the reticulated giraffe this means that she is not one of about 100.000 giraffes but an own species with only about 8.700 animals left in the wild, which is listed as critically endangered. Their habitat is Northern Kenya, Southern Ethiopia and Somalia – even this is not correct anymore as we will realize in the next time.

 

Among the giraffes the reticulated giraffe optically differs more from the others than other kinds. The fur is also rather crème-colored but due to the large brown spots it appears as if they were brown with a white net as frame, while other giraffes seem to be light with dark spots. Any attentive zoo visitor can recognize that all giraffes have an individual pattern and no animal is equal to another one.

 

Male reticulated giraffes can grow up to six meters height and weigh 900 kg – and this as mere vegetarians. One giraffe requires about 50-60 kg food per day, which is the reason why giraffes are wandering around that much. Giraffes spend about half of their day with eating. Also in relation to other large animals giraffes have a very large heart that weighs 12 kg alone.

 

A widely known fact is that the long neck is held by seven vertebrae, the same number as humans have. Interesting are the ossicones. The males in the wild often have them blank and not covered with fur as they use them for fights against rivals. In contrast to females who merge together with other females and their offspring, bulls are roaming the savannah alone and do not accept other males near them. Only younger bulls who just left their moms join other juvenile bulls for a bachelor group.

 

Offspring is not a big problem for reticulated giraffes. The cow gives birth to a baby after gestation period of fifteen months. It does not take long until she is ready to mate again, so that the time between two births is about one and a half years. Grown up giraffes can defend themselves very well. Lions are the biggest threat but they put their own lives at risk when attacking a giraffe due to their long and powerful legs. The juveniles are much more endangered and can be killed by mid-size carnivores like cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs as well. Only every second giraffe reaches the maturity age. Much more dangerous for the species are human beings though by restricting the habitat of the animals and hunting them.

The Drill

Due to supporting Rettet den Drill (Save the Drill) he is in the focus of Charity Kalender again this year. But what kind of a monkey is the drill anyway? We put an eye on the animal, his situation in his countries of origin and his situation in the zoological gardens over the next weeks.

 

The Drill is at home in Nigeria, Cameroon and the island of Bioko, which belongs to Equatorial Guinea, and thus belong to the old world primates. Together with the mandrill he is summarized to the genus Mandrillus. While the mandrills are pretty famous due to the showy colorful face of the males, only few people have heard about the drills. The females of both species are even pretty similar, but the males mainly differ by the drills having a black face. The back of the male is very colorful though and shines in a variation of blue and purple – the more shining the higher is the rank of the animal. At a length of about 60 cm the males weigh about 30 kg, the females only a bit more than a third of it.

 

A drill group with about 25 individuals consists of a dominant male, a harem group of females and their offspring. Various group can merge together to a big squad of more than 100 individuals. At an age of 5 to 7 years the young males leave their birth group, while the females remain.

 

Drills live in the tropical rain forest. They are not tree residents though but mainly can be found on the ground. The forest offers protection for the animals and serves as food source. Drills are omnivorous and do not reject meat. Destruction of the rain forest for tropical wood and agriculture is the biggest threat for the primates, which are listed as endangered by IUCN. Drills play an important role for the ecosystem. By eating fruits they spread the seed in the forest and help trees and plants to grow. Probably about 5.000 animals are left in the wild, a massive loss of 50% over the last 30 years. Next to the loss of habitat they are hunted for their meat, or killed for planting banana, coconut or manioc plantations.

Calendar Cover 2021: Southern White Rhino at the Solio Ranch

Actually the cover picture has a sad background. It shows the Southern white rhino, a subspecies, which originally did not exist in Kenya. Thus, it is an invasive species but in this case it was intentionally imported. The picture was taken at the Solio Ranch – the place that imported Southern white rhinos to Kenya in 1980.

 

Why was it done? Kenya originally is home to the East African black rhino and the Northern white rhino. Black and white rhinos do not have a common territory – the version with the wide mouth uses it as lawn mower on the ground and eats grass, while the version with the peaky mouth uses it to eat from the bushes. Since 1966 the Solio Ranch was in ownership of a man, whose separated parts of his property – 55 km² – for wildlife as his wife asked him to. Rhinos were not home to this territory although the territory would have fitted both species. This was realized by the Kenyan government in 1970 when they suspected that despite of 20.000 black rhinos in the country they would not be able to protect the species from poachers. So they asked Solio Ranch to place some animals on their ground. During the next decade a total of 27 black rhinos were sent to Solio Ranch – during the same time the number of free living black rhinos in Kenya reduced by more than 90% to only 1.500 animals.

 

At Solio they recognized that the territory was also good for the white rhino. However, the Northern white rhinos were so few that the fight was basically already lost – in 2008 the last specimen died in the wild, only two females are living in custody today. So Solio imported 16 Southern white rhinos from South Africa in 1980. This story is an amazing success. All Southern white rhinos in Kenya stem from these 16 imports, such as mother and calf on the cover picture.

 

East African black rhinos are roaming here as well. The rhino offspring was not only sent to Kenyan national parks and other wildlife sanctuaries, but also to other countries like Malawi or Uganda. How fragile everything still is shows that also on Solio 30 rhinos were poached within five years at the beginning of this century – this however marked the beginning for more intense protection and monitoring.

Donations made for BOS and Pandrillus

The first Charity Calendar was a solid success. A bit more than 500 Euro were donated to both, Rettet den Drill (Pandrillus), and Borneo Orangutan Survival. Both organziations received their donations in spring 2018.

Borneo Orangutan Survival

Orangutans as great apes are probably known by everyone. Not as much known is that the “wood man” (translation of the term orangutan) is listed as critically endangered by IUCN. As endemic species, orangutans only live on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia – two islands, which are known for massively producing palm oil that destroys the habitat of the animals. The oil palm is very fruitful and thus a cheap product, which makes it an attractive product for the industries. 85% of the worldwide palm oil production is gained in Malaysia and Indonesia, the rain forest has to vanish for it. In nearly every household you can find products containing palm oil, e.g. in cosmetics, detergent, sweets, chocolate bars, fast food, frozen products or margarine – watch out for the list of content in your products and avoild palm oil! Yet also fuel is a problem these days. Seemingly eco-friendly fuel as Biodiesel and E10 massively contain palm oil: about 45% of the entire palm oil production in the EU is used for fuel!

 

Also other factors are endangering orangutans. Babies are still captured and sold on the Asian market. The capture happens by shooting the moms. Orangutans are similar to human beings and thus they can suffer similar diseases, which are brought in by human beings. All this, in combination with a slow reproduction rate leads to a decrease of about 2.000 animals each year. Given that there only are about 50.000 Bornean orangutans and 15.000 Sumatran orangutans left, this is a drastic quota.

 

Borneo Orangutan Survival fights against the extinction of a first kind of great apes. In Borneo BOS operates two rescue and rehabilitation centres, which host about 800 animals. Aim is to release all orangutans back to the wilderness who are able to survive on their own. With the help of an affiliate, BOS purchased woodlands, in which the apes can live.

 

 

Sumatra Orang Utan – Sumatran orangutan – Pongo abelii – Zoom Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen

 

Borneo Orang Utan – Bornean Orangutan – Pongo pygmaeus – Zoo Osnabrück

Pandrillus Foundation
(German affiliate)

Drills are relatively unknown apes. Zoo visitors often confuse hem with baboons or their next relatives, the mandrills. The drills are mainly living on the ground, and only exist in Cameroon, Nigeria and the island Bioko

About this Project

My name is Olaf Goldbecker, I was born in 1976 in Germany. Neither am I a professional photographer, nor am I a zoologist. Yet how do you get the idea for such a project, how does a German relate to primates, and why do you offer a calendar whose profit is going to species conservation projects?

 

Well, I have been travelling pretty much in the recent years. My main job is a merchant, on the side I am running a small sports service company. To get new and maintain old contacts it is a good idea to travel – to the USA, within Europe or within Germany. Between appointments there often is time to be filled, and I use to spend it in zoos. Animals have always interested and fascinated me. Since some years I gained a deeper insight into the work of a scientifically led zoo, which increased my interest. While visiting I do what many visitors do: I take photographs. In the course of the time there is quite an amount of photos, and alos the quality of the pictures grew, so that at some point I asked myself the question “is there anything useful you can do with these pictures?!?”

 

 

Last Christmas I donated a small calendar to family and friends, to see how the quality looks like on print. The result convinced me and so the decision grew to start an attempt establshing and marketing such a project. It was clear to me that the profit of this project has to go to the free living relatives of the models – the species living in the wild. I will document the result of this campaign here on this website.

 

Yet why of all animals did you opt on primates? Well, I did not want a simple animal collection, but a firm motto. Of course there would have been other options – and who knows, if this is turning to be a success it can happen that a next edition shows predators, hoofed animals or sea animals. Yet the current choice are primates. About half of all primate species are listed as endangered by IUCN, more than 10% are threatened by extinction. Next to collecting money for some of these species, it is an aim to further the knowledge on the problems these animals have, which partially could be improved by our consuming in the everyday life.

 

I wish everyone lots of fun with the calendar and the pictures. If you like calendar and this project I would be happy if you told other people about it and spread the word.

 

Olaf Goldbecker – Mensch – Human being – Homo sapiens – Sometimes here, sometimes there

 

Goldstirnklammeraffe – White bellied Spider Monkey – Ateles belzebuth – Zoo Barcelona

Primates

When people think about primates most people remember lively apes playing and toying around. Yet primates are a complex generic group, starting with the 30 grams light tarsier up to the 200 kg heavy gorilla. Naturally our next relatives, the great apes, fascinate us. With the image of these lively animals in mind you can easily forget how serious their situation is in the nature. This is a core reason why we opted on this topic for the first edition of Charity-Kalender.

 

In total there are 496 primates species, of which more than half of them are endangered in the meantime. Alone on the island of Madagascar 101 there are species and nearly 90% of those are in a critical state. Among Asia’s 119 species there are worries regarding about two thirds of the kinds. Origin of the primates merely are in Middle and South America (new-world monkeys), in Africa and Asia (old-world monkeys).

 

Tourists who have been to Southern Europe may protest now and say that they have seen primates in Gibraltar. This is absolutely correct. These are Barbary macaques or also called magots, which with a high probability were imported from Northern Africa. The 230 animals who live there today can be tracked back to Winston Churchill. A legend says that Gibraltar remains under British governing as long as magots live there, so Churchill imported Barbary macaques from their origin Morocco and Algeria to liven up the population that declined to only a few animals. Even though they are no real European monkeys they have a geographical specialy as they are Africa’s only primates living north of Sahara. A further unique feature: they are the only macaques, which are not home in Asia.

 

You might think that a monkey, which is tough enough to survive in Europe and even is a bit annoying as in Gibraltar cannot have worries, but the opposite is the case: Barbary macaques are engangered, the population decreased by more than fifty percent within the last thirty years. About 6.000 to 8.000 animals live worldwide, yet at least two thirds in Morocoo. There are two main problems for the population: one is that annually 200-300 babies are caught and illegally sold as pets. The other is the aggricultural growth, which results in lesser connected areas and separates the singular groups.

 

In Zoos Barabary macaques are widely spread though and form a solid reserve pool. Nice walk through enclosures can be found at NaturZoo Rheine and at Apenheul Apeldoorn. Furthermore magots are on exhibit at Arche Noah Zoo Braunschweig, Opel Zoo Kronberg, Tiergarten Nuremberg or Zoo Barcelona.

 

 

In the course of this primates campaign we will inform about further specialties of various primate species.

 

Berberaffe – Barbary macaque – Macaca sylvanus – NaturZoo Rheine

Berberaffe – Barbary macaque – Macaca sylvanus – Apenheul Apeldoorn