I bet you love elephants, hey? They are one of my favourites to visit at the zoo. Well, in some parts of Africa, elephants make humans angry because they eat all their food and the plants they are trying to grow for food. The humans sometimes shoot the elephants if they come too close to their village’s crops and farms. Taronga wanted to help some people in Mozambique, in Africa, who were having this very problem because it would also help the elephants, so they gave them some money to build a bee-hive fence! What could that be, I wondered? Have you ever been stung by a bee? It hurts, doesn’t it and I bet you didn’t like it? Well, elephants don’t like bees either! And so, the people at Niassa, a village who faced the problems with the elephants, thought of a plan! They thought, if they can build a fence around their crops, and build bee hives along it, they could get bees to live there and scare away the elephants! So that’s what they did – and it is working…slowly but surely the elephants had found out where all the bees live around the farms and have decided to stay away because they don’t like being stung! I thought it was a very clever idea when Mum told me. The humans get to keep their food crops and can even eat and sell the bees honey, the elephants don’t get shot by angry farmers and the bees have nice hives to live in. It’s a pity my homework is not scared of bees!
Bongos are a beautiful species of antelope found in Kenya. They live only in high mountain forests and they are in big danger from hunters, there are only about 100 living in the wild! The Bongo Surveillance Project has been set up to watch out for and protect Kenya’s Bongo. They find out information about the bongo, like what they eat and where they go, and then have used that information to make things like cameras better for filming the bongos and any poachers or hunters that want to catch or kill them. If the hunters are on film - they get in trouble! I think the best thing the people running this project have done is to start 19 Bongo Wildlife Clubs for kids in the villages and towns closest the bongo habitat. Kids love getting involved and it will mean they might care about the animals even when they have grown up. Good on Kenya’s kids!
Fergus is a Yellow-bellied Glider joey which was born in the Nocturnal House at the Zoo. He was given the name Fergus after a species of gum tree called the Eucalyptus fergusonii. He was chosen to be an ambassador for his species, because in the wild these special little gliders are in trouble! They like to nest in tree hollows and live in several trees over a large range. But when humans knock down the trees or build lots of houses and roads, they get in trouble trying to cross roads to get to nest sites. Many are hit by cars and attacked by cats and dogs! The Education and Australian Mammals Teams at Taronga hope that if more people see Fergus’ amazing cute face, they will want to learn about these special marsupials, and to learn how they can help them in the wild! I think an easy thing we can do is keep my dog, Flea, on a leash!
The biggest problem for Supayang Reserve is mining and illegal hunters and poachers, so continued protection of the area is really important. Increasing the size of Supayang Reserve will improve the health of the ecosystem which will help maintain the beautiful habitat of the area, especially for species in the region like clouded leopards and the critically endangered Sumatran tiger. More room for more animals can’t be a bad thing, hey? Wildlife Asia is a great group that raises money in Australia to help increase conservation awareness and make real differences in saving animals in the wild, in Asian countries like Cambodia and Vietnam. It aims to protect and add to the natural habitat of Asian wildlife including orang-utans, gibbons, Asian rhinos and bears. Taronga will work with Wildlife Asia to raise some money so hopefully they can expand the land for these wonderful creatures.