Winners and Losers in the African Animal World 2018
More and more animal species are threatened. This year, too, many new endangered species have been added. Why? We humans are threatening the animal world more and more. We are destroying habitats, polluting the environment and the oceans. As if that weren't enough, more and more poachers are hunting rare species. Nearly 27,000 animals are on the list of endangered species at the end of 2018. Here we present some endangered African animals.
The Threatened World of Rhinos
The death of "Sudan" in 2018 was the epitome of Africa's endangered wildlife. Who was Sudan? The last male of the subspecies Northern White Rhino. "Sudan. The last male Northern White Rhino, 1973-2018" is written on a memorial stone in memory of the world-famous pachyderm. The rhinoceros had to be euthanized in Kenya because of its age and its weak condition. There are only two female Northern white rhinos left in the world, and they are infertile. After the sad news of March, hope has returned for the animals with the characteristic broad mouth: researchers from the "Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research" have created embryos of this species in the laboratory. With a lot of luck, they can stop the extinction of rhinos with artificial reproduction and stem cell research. Many hope that the researchers will be able to provide a model for the rescue of other highly endangered species. Until then the Northern white rhino is still the loser in 2018.
Pangoline and the Illegal Trade with Rare Animals
The pangolin lives in the savannas, in the forests and bushland in Africa. Some types live on trees, some are ground-inhabitants and live in self-built or abandoned burrows. On its hind legs, it can move fast, its front-legs are used as digging or climbing tool. The animals are insectivores, they like to plaster termites and ants best. They are perfectly equipped to get into the tunnels of their prey - with a round and sticky tongue up to 70 centimetres long. Why are pangolins so endangered? They are considered a delicacy and their dandruff is used as a medicine in Asia. Trade in pangolins is banned worldwide. Nevertheless, they are among the most traded animals in the world. They are also among the losers in 2018.
The Mangarahara Cichlid, the Rarest Fish in the World
The Mangarahara cichlid lives in the river of the same name in Madagascar. It is considered to be the rarest fish in the world. In its natural habitat, the cichlid was already considered extinct. The reason for this was that the river had dried up due to deforestation and the use of water for rice cultivation. Only three specimens survived in different aquariums. But all were male. In 2013, the "Zoological Society of London" therefore launched a call on the Internet to see if a female could still be found in an aquarium. In this way, at least the species could have been preserved in human hands. The appeal brought no clues. In Madagascar, however, a businessman recognized the fish. He believed to have discovered it only recently in a remote village. An expedition was quickly sent out. This found 18 of the cichlids in a tributary of the Mangarahara and brought them to a specially built breeding station. On these few specimens now rest the hopes of survival. However, their habitat seems to have been destroyed for a long time. The Mangarahara cichlid is one of the winners.
The Colourful Bee-Eater
Have you ever seen such a colourful bird in your surroundings? Never? No wonder, the colorful bee-eater lives in tropical regionen, in Northwest Africa. Sometimes you can also meet it in South Europe. Its habitat is open landscapes with individual trees and bushes. It likes to breed on steep slopes along river banks or lakes. The colourful bird, which originates from the tropics, is slowly becoming native to Germany. Here it was considered extinct. But it has been migrating again since 1990. Why? Because of global warming. A winner, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. Where can you find him? In the area around the Kaiserstuhl, in southern Sachsen-Anhalt near Merseburg or in the district of Viersen on the Lower Rhine.
We wish you a joyful and happy New Year
Angelika and the team of africa-junior
Click here for the fairy tale of the month
Preview: Visit us again next month and find exciting stories about Africa!