The genomes of Africans and people of recent African descent house a huge amount of diversity that scientists have only begun to explore.
A group of scientists led by Dr Joseph Ogutu say Kenya risks losing 18 animal and bird species due to negligence. They include warthogs, lesser kudu, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, oryx, topi, hartebeest, impala, Grévy’s zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, giraffe, gerenuk, Grant’s gazelle, buffalo, elephant, ostrich and Burchell’s zebra.
The Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem covers about 2,200 square kilometres of Kenya’s Kajiado County, south of Nairobi. It is also home to Nairobi National Park—the world’s only game reserve within a major city. The ecosystem has experienced some dramatic changes since the late 19th century. The accounts of early writers paint a picture of a spectacular ecosystem teeming with diverse resident and migratory wildlife. Records describe abundant wildebeest that migrated seasonally with other wildlife species, livestock and pastoralists. In a recently published study my colleagues and I examined the impact of land fragmentation in the Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem between 1977 and 2014. Our study shows that urbanisation and development has put the ecosystem in distress. It has fragmented the landscape which has reduced the ability of animals to migrate as they used to. The result is that their numbers have plummeted.
There have been disturbing declines in wildlife populations in Kenya in the past three decades, a study released this week revealed.
Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen has created a chicken with genes from different chicken breeds from all over the world. Now he’s bringing it to America to help diversify our poultry.
‘Africa, which imports nearly 83% of the food it consumes, has a real chicken and egg problem. The continent is caught between pressure from imports in some countries and an inability to meet demand in others.’ Article by Calestous Juma republished from The Conversation.
Humans and lions can coexist through the creation of community conservancies—privately protected areas that engage local people in conservation and ecotourism. These conservancies can help stem the unrelenting loss of lions, whose population has been in decline across Africa, and pose a viable solution to an old problem.
Scientists will use funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how genetic information can improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates. The institutions in Scotland and Africa where the researchers are based are also making additional contributions, taking the total funding pot to £20 million over the next five years.
The forage collection maintained by ILRI, for example, contains germplasm from around 19,000 plant populations representing over 1,400 forage species, including grasses, legumes and fodder trees, many of which are under threat in the wild from land use changes and over-grazing. ILRI’s forage collection is providing scientists with the genetic material to develop climate-smart, high yielding and disease tolerant varieties that will have a key role in Africa’s farming future.
Wildlife populations are declining severely in many protected areas and unprotected pastoral areas of Africa, researchers from leading universities and international research institutes said.