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A baobab in Tanzania. Yoky / GNU Free Documentation License

Africa’s Iconic Baobabs Are Dying, Including World's OIdest Flowering Tree

When researchers set out to investigate the structure, growth and age of Africa's iconic baobab trees—the largest and longest-living flowering trees in the world—they received a devastating surprise. Many of the oldest, largest baobabs were dead or dying.

The final study, published in Nature Plants Monday, reported that nine of the 13 oldest and five of the six largest African baobabs had entirely or partly died during the research period from 2005 to 2017. The oldest was 2,500 years old.

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Animals
Pexels

Can We Protect Elephants by Eavesdropping on Their Underground Messages?

By Jason Bittel

In the late 1990s, scientists discovered that elephants had a secret way of communicating, a vocalization so low in frequency it is imperceptible to the human ear. It's called infrasound. The ponderous pachyderms transmit these secret messages at least partly through the ground. When an elephant really lets loose, its infrasound can reverberate almost four miles through the rocks and sands of the savanna.

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Energy

Train Carrying 250,000 Liters of Fuel Derails on Kenyan Coast

A cargo train carrying 250,000 liters (66,000 gallons) of super petroleum, or unleaded gasoline, derailed off its tracks after taking a sharp turn along Kenya's eastern coast, forcing the closure of a major highway over the weekend, according to local reports.

The accident occurred early Sunday in Kibarani in Mombasa County, and prompted authorities to completely close off Makupa Causeway, the main link between the mainland and Mombasa Island, fearing a fire would break out after spillage of the highly flammable liquid, The Star, Kenya reported.

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Climate
Tadrart Acacus desert in western Libya, part of the Sahara. Luca Galuzzi - www.galuzzi.it / Wikimedia Commons

World's Largest Desert Growing Even Larger, Partly Due to Climate Change

The Sahara Desert—which takes up about 3.6 million square miles of northern Africa—is growing ever larger, signaling daunting news for people living in the Sahel border region who stand to lose valuable arable land to the expanding desert.

The boundaries of the world's largest hot desert, already around the size of China or the continental U.S, have grown roughly 10 percent since 1920 due to natural climate cycles as well as man-made climate change, according to a new study by National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientists at the University of Maryland.

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Climate
United Nations Development Programme

Climate Change, Conflict Leave 224 Million Undernourished in Africa

An official with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns that climate change and conflict are leading to food insecurity for millions of people living in Africa.

"Undernourishment appears to have risen from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said Monday at a conference in Sudan.

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Animals

Suspected Poacher Eaten by Lions in South Africa

A suspected poacher was mauled to death and eaten by a pride of lions outside of South Africa's famed Kruger National Park, according to media reports.

The victim's remains were found over the weekend at a private game park near Hoedspruit in the province of Limpopo. The lions ate most of the body but left the head behind. A loaded hunting rifle was also found nearby.

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Climate
A team from Greenpeace Africa has been studying tropical peatland near Lokolama. Kevin McElvaney / Greenpeace

Climate Change and Deforestation Threaten World’s Largest Tropical Peatland

By Daisy Dunne

Just over a year ago, scientists announced the discovery of the world's largest intact tropical peatland in a remote part of the Congo's vast swampy basin.

The Cuvette Centrale peatlands stretch across an area of central Africa that is larger than the size of England and stores as much as 30 billion tonnes of carbon.

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An anti-poaching unit patrols in Kenya's Chyulu Hills. Charlie Shoemaker

The Most Valued Anti-Poaching Equipment May Surprise You

By Heartie Look

In recent years, the battle against wildlife poaching in Africa has taken a high-tech turn. Night-vision goggles, body armor and unmanned aerial vehicles have all become part of the modern ranger armament. But for rangers on the ground, their actual requests are often more everyday—starting with a good pair of socks.

"It is not always the fancy kit that rangers need," said Keith Roberts, executive director for wildlife trafficking at Conservation International (CI). "It is rather the basics that can make all the difference."

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Popular

Chocolate Makers Agree to Stop Cutting Down Forests in West Africa for Cocoa

By Mike Gaworecki

At COP23, the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany that wrapped up last week, top cocoa-producing countries in West Africa announced new commitments to end the massive deforestation for cocoa that is occurring within their borders.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are the number one and number two cocoa-producing nations on Earth, respectively. Together, they produce about two-thirds of the world's cocoa, but that production has been tied to high rates of deforestation as well as child labor and other human rights abuses.

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