Deep in the dense tropical rainforests of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, there lurks a very curious creature. With its long legs and predominantly dark brown coat of short fur, it looks, at first glance, a bit like a horse, though a second look will reveal a somewhat deer-like face atop a relatively long, flexible neck, and, most strikingly, horizontal white stripes on its upper legs and rump.
The Congo African grey is an understated beauty sporting ash-grey plumage, which partially conceals the flash of red in its short tail (it is not to be confused with the smaller, darker Timneh grey parrot). This species is found, as its name would suggest, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), along with Kenya, Tanzania and parts of Angola. Already globally threatened, it is more important than ever to understand how the political environment in the DRC is exacerbating the numerous and varied problems facing this gorgeous parrot.
The rarest rhino in the world can be found wallowing in the mud at the Ol Pejeta Nature Conservancy in Kenya. Constantly guarded by vigilant rifle-clad guards, these two animals have no idea that they are the last members of their kind. They are northern white rhinos – the very last northern white rhinos anywhere on Earth. They have been poached to the very edge of extinction, with virtually no hope for recovery.
South Africa is in the midst of a rhino poaching epidemic. The statistics concerning this illegal practice over the past decade or so make for very grim reading. Between 1990 and 2007, there were relatively few rhino poaching incidents in South Africa. Five in 1991, nine in 2001, and thirteen in 2007, to give just a few figures. Poaching was increasing every year – but only slightly.