Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New viper snake species found in Tanzania!

The newly discovered snake, named Matilda's horned viper, has been described in the journal Zootaxa.
The exact location of the new species is being kept a secret, because it could be of interest to the illegal pet trade.
Campaign group the Wildlife Conservation Society said the snake's habitat, estimated at only a several square km, is already severely degraded from logging and charcoal manufacture.
See the whole story at BBC

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Birding in Tanzania?

Bring with you a checklist containing 1105 species found in this magnificent birding location!
You find it here as PDF
Roughwing, Kilimanjaro South Photo: Stein Ø. Nilsen

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Levant Sparrowhawk - observed in Ngorongoro,Tanzania

The 22nd November 2011 me and my family was heading for Ndutu lodge via the Ngorongoro crater. Due to heavy rain the days before the road conditions were so and so, and we were quite alone in the crater. Doing our way over the bottom of the crater we stopped for a lone elephant bull, and there to the left of us we observed a slimlooking young hawk perched in a thorn bush. 6-7 quick photos and the bird was gone, no views of the front and just knowing this was something we never saw before.

On our return to Northern Norway a quick look at the photos I was still uncertain of the ID and sent 2 photos to Ron Eggert and he sent it further to africanraptors and Rob Davies.
They concluded this is a fine young Levant Sparrowhawk A. brevipes. Thanks to Ron and Rob for the help with checking this out!

Checking Britton 1980 I soon found out this is a mega finding for Tanzania, 1-one historic record in W Tanzania only, and only four for Kenya! Only a handful records for Tanzania the last years (one Jan 2010, Neil and Liz Baker) and East-Africa makes this a very nice bird to see.
Observers: Stein Ø. Nilsen, Tone Malm and Stine Malm Nilsen
See all the photos at 
Copyright: Stein Ø. Nilsen 2011

Monday, January 2, 2012

Great news for TZ Wildlife!

Natural Resources and Tourism minister Ezekiel Maige (September 2011)
The government has banned the capture, importation and exportation of wild animals with effect from this month, specifying that the order does not cover insects.
A December 9, 2011 Government Notice, copies of which were distributed to the media yesterday by the Natural Resources and Tourism ministry, requires all licensed traders whose permits were still valid by August 18 this year to make sure that they exported their animals within three months from the date of the notice.
A press statement issued by the ministry in Dar es Salaam yesterday said the move is in partial implementation of The Wildlife Conservation (Capture of Animals) (Prohibition) Order, 2011.
It however said Tanzanians remain at liberty to use wild animals and related products for non-business activities including research in the national interest.
According to the statement, the timeframe provided to businesspersons to sell wildlife animals they legally own was in accordance with the Wild animals Capture Regulations of 2010 as published in issue No. 244 (July 2, 2010) of the Government Gazette.
It said sections 12 (4) and (5) of the regulations state that all captured animals ought to be sold within a period not exceeding 90 days since their capture.
Meanwhile, the ministry said it is still investigating the circumstances of late last year’s illegal shipping of 116 wild animals to foreign countries.
The saga over the scandal, which revolves around the controversial transportation of four giraffes and 16 wild birds worth some 170.57m/- aboard a Qatari military plane, unfolded on November 24 last year.
The government subsequently suspended Wildlife Division Director Obeid Mbangwa to pave the way for investigations into the scandal.
Natural Resources and Tourism minister Ezekiel Maige was later quoted as telling the National Assembly that two other senior officials in the division were sent on paid leave pending investigations into their alleged involvement in the scam.
He said the ministry intervened after failing to get satisfactory explanation on the manner in which the shady shipment of the wild animals was handled.
Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda later told the National Assembly that the government had slapped a ban on the export of live wild animals.
He said that was meant to allow the government time to devise new procedures and conditions governing export trade in live animals export trade, including a thorough review of the relevant fees.
The PM explained the move was necessary because it was apparent that dishonest animal dealers were routinely short-changing the government and ending up with windfall profits.
He said the government would also draw up a list of wild animals which could be exported.
The clandestine export of live wild animals was the subject of heated debate as Members of Parliament deliberated on the 2011/2012 Budget estimates of the Natural Resources and Tourism ministry, with the parliamentary Lands, Natural Resources and Environment committee saying the government was shielding those behind the illegal business.
Grey-breasted Spurfowl is endemic to Tanzania, maybe it now is safe for beeing traded?
Photo: Stein Ø. Nilsen