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The Okavango Delta is Africa’s last-remaining wetland wilderness, a vast network of channels, floodplains, lagoons and thousands upon thousands of islands.
Steve and Chris Boyes after a two-day struggle to drive from Vundumtiki Island to Maun… Well done to our LandRover Defender!! My home is Hogsback in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, the mountain stronghold of Africa’s most endangered parrot, the Cape parrot.
Cape parrots are endemic to South Africa and with little food left in their natural habitat they are struggling to bring back population levels since a collapse in the 1980s. A shining example of a female Cape Parrot in flight… This is the future of the species and we need to make sure she has a safe place to live and has access to food yearround. Absolutely stunning portrait of a proud, wild Cape parrot sitting in a Cape lilac tree (often erroneous called a syringa tree). Young male Cape parrot that tested positive for Pssitacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) virus and more than likely died a few days later from bad cold weather and snow. Cape parrot (sex unknown) photographed in late April 2011 just before the first severe cold snaps. It is indeed very sad and ironical that economic development is done at the cost of country’s natural resources. About This BlogEvery hour of every day, somewhere on Earth, National Geographic explorers are at work trying to uncover, understand, or help care for some small part of the world around us.
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Each month, National Geographic magazine features breathtaking photographs in Visions of Earth.
Bhutan—Novices at the Dechen Phodrang monastic school in Thimphu hear the dinner bell and come running.
India—Children of the many snake charmers in the village of Padmakesharpur are no strangers to cobras. Norway—Bright beaks and feet signal the breeding season for Atlantic puffins on Hornoya Island. Cerro de Sorte, Venezuela—Surrounded by candles symbolizing regeneration, followers of a cult centered on the local goddess Maria Lionza wait for cleansing during an hour-long ritual. Kiev, Ukraine—Dwarfed by the memory of her nation's past, a woman at the National Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War adjusts her outfit in front of a monument to Soviet soldiers. India—Decorated in pink powder, a bull dives through a crowd of men who hope to hang on to the animal long enough to win a prize. Argentina—Moonlight sets mist aglow on the Patagonian peak of Mount Fitz Roy, known to local people as Cerro Chalten, or "smoking mountain," because its summit is often capped in clouds.
Shodo Shima, Japan—Huddled for warmth, macaques press their bodies into a vast ball of fur.
Qatar—Tour of Qatar cyclists sprint in a quick burst of color past a pipe storage yard outside Umm Said. Gulf of Aqaba—Surrounded by thousands of golden sweepers, photographer Magnus Lundgren spun his camera to capture this shifting school off Elat, Israel.
New York City—Secret prize on the urban game board, a miniature garden brightens a Rockefeller Center rooftop seven stories above midtown traffic. Xinjiang—A column of dunes could provide geologic data for sand-sampling scientists, whose trucks scratch tracks across the wind-scoured Kumtag Desert. United States—A red-clay spray showers spectators at the mud-pit belly flop, highlight of the annual Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin, Georgia. California—More than 3,000 wind turbines bristle across the hills of the Tehachapi-Mojave Wind Resource Area, generating enough electricity to serve a quarter million homes each year. Afghanistan—Good luck and centripetal force help driver Mohammed Jawed keep circling the shuddering wood-plank Wall of Death during his traveling stunt show's stop in Kabul.

Sweden—The facial disk of feathers circling this great gray owl's eyes channel forest-floor sounds back to its ears, helping the bird pounce on a vole and carry it away. Czech Republic—It takes a microscope to make a handful of carrot seeds look like a swarm of bristling space invaders. Azerbaijan—The carcass of an abandoned amusement park ride is a diving platform for teens on a Caspian Sea beach near Baku.
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To remove the photo permanently from the desktop, locate the photo on the hard drive and drag it to the trash. She looks sweet grooming her chick, but don't mess with mom's nest: Ural owls are aggressively territorial. A male (at right) delivers a freshly caught rodent to his mate, and she will bring it back to their nearby nest. Snow can conceal prey like voles, but such protection is no match for the many hunting advantages nature has bestowed on owls.
Heightened vision and specialized feathers let owls fly under a cloak of darkness and silence.
This shot of a gathering of herring, lesser, and greater black-backed gulls was taken on the beautiful island of Skokholm off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Roads and railways are being built into remote wilderness areas to enable economic development through resource use. Upon entering the river the front of the mokoro was swept downstream, making passage upstream to get above the exit point on the other side of the river all that more difficult. A couple of Lechwe spar in the early morning as the sun rises, the dust from the rest of the herd as they move back towards the marsh adding some great mood and drama to the image.
Wherever possible we try to cut corners and use open floodplains to avoid the deep water in the channels. From our base on a small farm we work everyday to stimulate positive change for the parrots and other threatened forest endemics.
These yellow fruits are thought to be poison, but the parrots have been recorded eating them for over 50 years. Forests are cut , flora and fauna are destroyed and serious ecological imbalances are created which are often irreversible.
Africa would not be same without you and your constant effort to make it a good place for everyone to live.
Though this snake is a pet in Pretoria, the species is native to northern Australia and New Guinea. A nearby glacier births a steady supply of bergs that jostle off the settlement's shores year-round.
Highly charged particles of pumice roar upward in spreading clouds of gas and smoke, generating crackling tangles of lightning. The sport, jallikattu, is part of harvest celebrations in the Tamil Nadu town of Alanganallur.
The monkeys' relaxed social hierarchy allows high- and low-ranking individuals to share the same tight space. St-Laurent pause in their work pushing the Canadian vessel through frozen waters—allowing a diver to venture near.
Since unattended chicks could be vulnerable to hawks and other hungry birds, the male does most of the hunting during the breeding season.
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Gold, oil, timber, rare earth minerals, iron, coal, gas and much else has been extracted at an alarming rate over the last 50 years. Every year we are able to access more remote areas to witness the nature of a true wilderness area.
In 2011, we launched the iziKhwenene Project, a community-based conservation project that aims to establish local communities as the stewards and custodians of South Africa’s last-remaining Afromontane yellowwood forests.
These amazing aviators fly up to 250km per day to take advantage of distant feeding grounds.
A regional food shortage due to drought may have contributed to the 100% infection rates we recorded at four locations.
Puffins in summer and winter coloration look so different they were once thought separate species. These forests were over-exploited for hundreds of years and are now unable to support parrots and most other species. Four arrived dead, four died overnight, and four were released back into the wild after 6 months in quarantine. Mining and natural resource use is booming in the new millennium as rapid urbanization degrades rural communities that have custodial rights to our last-remaining wilderness areas.
We have now planted the first 25,000 out of 1 million indigenous trees in and around these forests. Rhino and elephant are being eradicated by poachers to supply lucrative markets in the Far East. They have tutored us on how to navigate the maze of channels that branch out from the main channels that are too dangerous for us to use.
Restoring these forests is a multi-generational effort that will require the commitment of local communities. Lion are being persecuted by livestock farmers and predators like wild dog and cheetah are on the brink of extinction. The baYei have also shown us the importance of a calm, balanced mind that is spring-loaded for action should the need arise. Our Cape Parrot Sanctuary is visited by almost 300 (25-30% of the global population) Cape parrots everyday for 5 months of the year. In the next 15-20 years we are going to lose our last wilderness areas to poor land management, pollution, poaching, wildlife trade, logging, agriculture, conflict, and the devastation of large-scale mining across the continent.
In addition, our research has demonstrated that the primary threat to their persistence in the wild is Pssitacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) and the outbreak since 2009 is supported by starvation and malnutrition due to poor rainfall and the degraded condition of the indigenous forests.
The impacts are clear and Africa is just about to change forever. The great beating heart of this ancient continent, the birthplace of humankind, is dying. Next week we are departing on our fourth crossing of the Okavango Delta – 300km over 18 days. A vaccine has now been developed and we have managed to develop a successful rehabilitation protocol for Cape parrots with advanced symptoms of PBFD infection. We are making a difference, but need your help to save South Africa’s national parrot.

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