We wish you the Magic of water, the Rhythm of rivers and the Joy of friends and family on our riverbanks!
“THE RIVER SPEAKS” – Poem by Gene Lindberg
Down from the mountains of eternal snow
The streams come tumbling, joining as they flow
To send a river winding toward the sea.
I listen, and the river speaks to me.
It tells of meadows on a thirsty plain;
Of gardens blooming where there is no rain;
Of mighty cities built upon its banks;
Of living things that owe the river thanks.
The waters speak to me, and hurry on,
Eager to come and eager to be gone.
Almost it seems as if the river knew,
How many things there are for it to do.
Sometimes it pauses,
to lay up a store of liquid wealth in lake and reservoir,
Then leaps a dam and hastens on again,
Turning a wheel to light the homes of men.
The river speaks, and deserts cease to be;
Wide fields grow green, and ships go down to the sea,
I hear the water singing as it goes:
“Let life go on, because the river flows.”
For 30 years NWNL has studied Kenya’s iconic, charismatic jumbos that create water access for so many other species in the Mara River Basin. What can you do to celebrate and help elephants?
(scroll down for a few ideas 🙂 )
Namibia: Chobe River in the Caprivi Strip, elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Kenya: Maasai (aka Masai) Mara National Reserve, Mara Conservancy, Mara Triangle, Silhouette of Elephant (‘Loxodonta africana’) at sunset
East Africa, Kenya, Chyulu Hills, Old Donyo Wuas Lodge, Mbirikani,
Kenya: Amboseli, herd of African elephants (‘Loxodonta africana’) with Mt Kilimanjaro in distance at sunset,
Kenya: Samburu National Reserve, female African elephant (Loxodonta africana) with two young adults and baby drinking from Uaso Nyiro River, seen from rear,
Kenya: Tsavo East National Park, close-up of two young adult orphaned African elephants (‘Loxodonta africana’) intertwining trunks at mud hole,
Kenya: Amboseli National Park, baby elephant (‘Loxodonta africana’) with plant in mouth, herd of females in background.
Kenya: Amboseli National Park, male elephant (‘Loxodonta africana’).
Tanzania: Lake Manyara National Park, matriarchal herd of African elephants (‘Loxodonta africana’) with newborn,
Ironically, just after our blog yesterday, about the remarkable qualities of elephants, more sad statistics were featured in today’s NY Times, p. A9.
Study Details Elephant Deaths
Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa from 2010 to 2012, a huge spike in the continent’s death rate of the world’s largest mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a study published Monday found. Warnings about elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but Monday’s study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent. The study found that the proportion of illegally killed elephants had climbed from 25 percent of all elephant deaths a decade ago to roughly 65 percent of all elephant deaths today, a percentage that, if continued will lead to the extinction of the species. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out by experts from Save the Elephants, the Kenya Wildlife Service, an international group called MIKE responsible for monitoring the illegal killings of elephants, and two universities.
The African savannah elephant is the largest land mammal in the world. In folklore, elephants are known for not forgetting. For the African savannah elephant, memory is a tool for surviving challenges that may come intermittently over decades. Long-term memory tends to be vested in the older females, called matriarchs, without which the herd could die of starvation or dehydration. During the drought of 1993 in Tanzania, elephant matriarchs that remembered a similar drought 35 years before led their herds beyond the borders of Tarangire National Park in search of food and water. Groups with matriarchs that were not old enough to remember the previous drought suffered a 63 percent mortality of their calves that year. (Source: Wildlife Conservation Society)
< Click on thumbnails below for captions and larger view. >
Elephants are not human, of course. They are something much more ancient and primordial, living on a different plane of existence. Long before we arrived on the scene, they worked out a way of being in the world that has not fundamentally changed and is sustainable, and not predatory or destructive.
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Chief’s Island, Mombo Camp, Red lechwe at waterhole with reflection
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Xigera Camp, sunset.
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Xigera Camp.
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Gudigwa Camp, San Bushman, Woman gatherin herbs.
Botswana: Okavanga Delta, aerial of elephant, (loxodonta africanus)
Botswana: Okavango Delta
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Xugana mocorro trip, lily pads in wetlands
Botswana: Okavango Delta, aerial view of channels in wetlands
A place as extraordinary as the Okavango Delta certainly deserves to be designated as a World Heritage Site – and finally it is! As #1000 on that list, it’s one of NWNL’s favorite natural landscapes and wetlands ecosystem. You can see why in the photos. It’s literally an oasis in an arid country with no access to the sea. The Okavango River swells to three times its size during seasonal flooding, attracting one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife, including many endangered species. No Water – No Life!
Kuki Gallmann, the first Ambassador for Migratory Species, has staged many celebrations of World Migratory Bird Day at her home in Kenya. NWNL Director was proud to attend the first of these joyful events. This year Kuki Gallmann released a video to mark World Migratory Bird Day. Her words (transcribed below by NWNL) apply equally to birds, fish and all migratory species.
KUKI GALLMANN: Back in 2006, when all over the world, migratory birds were killed, being accused of spreading the deadly avian flu. And they became a symbol of disease and death. I was proud to host the first ever World Migratory Bird Day on the Great Rift Valley of Kenya along the migratory route. At that time, artists from all over the world came to celebrate the beauty and magic, the mystery and freedom of the migratory birds.
On this very day, we’re far and wide. We spread the message of the importance of preserving these bridges amongst continents. I’m proud to add my voice as the first Ambassador for Migratory Species to the ones of my colleagues and friends, to children, to teachers, to conservationists across the globe. It is a time in which we have lost the link.
I recently received a message from a neighbor who asked me, “Where are the birds gone that used to travel to our lakes and watercourses?” We have interrupted their routes. We have crisscrossed the skies with wires. We have threatened them by polluting the watercourses where they come after their long journeys.
We are killing the elephants – they’re also migratory. We are polluting the oceans. We have come to our senses before it is too late. At a time in which the world is divided, wars and many problems destroy peace on the planet. The migratory animals can be seen as ambassadors to peace. They don’t know about politics. They don’t know about religions. They don’t know about the small, short-time scheme of man. They’re a symbol of the superiority of nature over the menial things that destroy and pollute our own lives. I exhort the children particularly today, and my friends and colleagues across the Plant Earth to look again up at the sky at those amazing creatures flying over with endurance, with determination, guided by an ancient instinct stronger than we can explain and reestablish their evidence to respect and protect their habitat. All is connected.”
Thank you, Kuki, again for your eloquent and passionate support of migratory species.
US: Washington, Columbia River Basin, fish ladder at Rocky Reach Dam on the Columbia River, wild salmon(note adipose fin has not been clipped)
US: Oregon, Columbia River Basin, Columbia Gorge, Bonneville Dam, Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata) stuck to the viewing window for the fish ladder
Tomorrow is World Fish Migration Day (WFMD). The ancient migration story of fish ascending rivers from oceans to breed is miraculous. Such fish – called anadromous, from the Greek word “anadramein” meaning “running upward” – include salmon, steelhead, shad, sturgeon, lamprey in the Pacific Northwest; and shad, sturgeon, alewives and herring along the US East Coast.
Anadromous fish swim from the sea inland via open rivers to spawn in small headwater tributaries. In so doing, they bring with them marine nutrients that enrich riverine flora, fauna and forests. After their long journeys back to where they were born, the adult fish release their eggs in cool, forested waters and then die. Thus, some hail anadromous fish as the greatest parents of all, because the nutrients of their remains nourish the flies and insects that are eaten by newly-hatched smolt.
This month, our NWNL Snake River Expedition is documenting the dynamics of anadromous fish in the Pacific Northwest and the studies of local fish biologists, fishermen, watershed managers and the Nez Perce tribal nation. Today, NWNL joins them and the world in honoring the ecosystem services and sustenance values provided by anadromous fish.