But is technology the weapon that will ultimately eradicate animal poaching and save various species from eradication? It’s not a silver bullet, but it certainly has potential. That’s why Vulcan – a company started by the late Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft – has produced a tech platform called EarthRanger to monitor protected wildlife areas by drawing in big data from cameras, animal collars and vehicle sensors.Read More
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By Brett M Bennett, Associate Professor of History, University of Johannesburg. First published on The Conversation Africa.
Botanical gardens play an important role in shaping national attitudes and encouraging better human connectedness to nature.
Londolozi is one of South Africa’s original private game reserves, considered to be a pillar of global ecotourism. The word Londolozi comes from the Zulu word meaning ‘Protector Of All Living Things’.
Londolozi has also opened its first spa, the Healing House, and London-based Syz describes it as potentially “the most forward-thinking wellness offering in Africa.” In a story that spans generations Dave and Shan Varty have been replaced by their children Bronwyn and Boyd, who are the newest visionaries behind Londolozi.
Trained by Oprah’s life coach Martha Beck, the duo is heavily impacted by Beck’s belief “that the senses are deadened by desk jobs and smartphones and that you need to learn to listen to your body, the ultimate navigational tool, to tap into your innate wisdom”. Beck struck a deep cord in the modern0day hearts of Bronwyn and Boyd.
Impacted by their studies with Navaho medicine men and Peruvian shamans, sound — long considered to an original healing fix — is at the center of their rituals. These practices render Londolozi’s new spa as a fusion experience of ancient global practices that now harness the energy of the African wilderness.
By Andrew Barron, Associate Professor, Macquarie University. . First published on The Convervsation
We’ve known for a while that honey bees are smart cookies. They have excellent navigation skills, they communicate symbolically through dance, and they’re the only insects that have been shown to learn abstract concepts.
Honey bees might also add the title of art connoisseur to their box of tricks. In part one of ABC Catalyst’s The Great Australian Bee Challenge, we see honey bees learning to tell the difference between European and Australian Indigenous art in just one afternoon.
Does this mean honey bees are more cultured than we are?
Perhaps not, but the experiment certainly shows just how quickly honey bees can learn to process very complex information.
How the experiment worked
Bees were shown four different paintings by the French impressionist artist Claude Monet, and four paintings by Australian Indigenous artist Noŋgirrŋa Marawili.
At the centre of each of the paintings was placed a small blue dot. To make the difference between the artists meaningful to the honey bees, every time they landed on the blue dot on a Marawili painting they found a minute drop of sugar water. Every time they visited the blue dot on a Monet painting, however, they found a drop of dilute quinine. The quinine isn’t harmful, but it does taste bitter.
Having experienced each of the Monet and Marawili paintings the bees were given a test. They were shown paintings by the two artists that they had never seen before. Could they tell the difference between a Marawili and a Monet?
All the trained bees clearly directed their attention to the Marawili paintings.
This experiment was a recreation of a study first conducted by Dr Judith Reinhard’s team at the University of Queensland. In the original study, Reinhard was able to train bees to tell the difference between paintings by Monet and Picasso.
Bees are quick to learn
Dark days ahead for coffee
All major commercial coffee growing countries have been badly affected by the fungal disease “coffee leaf rust”, which spread across Africa and into Asia during the early 20th century, then to South America, becoming entrenched globally by the turn of the millennium.
The Central American coffee rust outbreak that began in the 2011-2012 harvest season affected 70% of farms in the region, resulting in over 1.7m lost jobs and US$3.2 billion in damage and lost income.
Robusta varieties used for the instant blends have been key to developing resistance to coffee leaf rust in Arabica varieties through cross breeding. As climate change and disease risks escalate, wild coffee species offer a crucial resource for maintaining the world’s coffee supply. Arabica has tightly limited geographic ranges in which it grows well and Robusta, while resistant to leaf rust, is vulnerable to other diseases.