East Africa's priceless rangelands for years have struggled against degradation caused by overgrazing and soil-depleting crop farming. Now ecologists are coming to grips with a third villain: the leleshwa weed, a fast-growing, tough-to-control shrub that is overtaking large sections of grassland.
Six countries in Africa have established the world's first international task force to combat poaching and other wildlife crimes.
The Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia agreed in March to empower the "African Interpol," as many call the task force, to help stop illegal trade in wildlife, the United Nations Environment Program announced recently.
After a month of mourning for the eight tourists and the park warden killed by Rwandan rebels in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, authorities reopened the Ugandan park to visitors Apr. 1.
The Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) declared the area safe after security measures were improved. A spokesman also said the government is committed to conserving the rare mountain gorillas that inhabit Bwindi.
Armed guards protected the 12 foreigners, including three Americans, who were the first tourists to visit Bwindi since the Mar. 1 attack by Rwandan rebels.
Sometimes it takes a big, strong father-figure to get an unruly teenage male to shape up.
And that's not just in humans. Take the situation in South Africa's Pilanesberg National Park, where the matriarchal elephants a few years ago welcomed and nurtured the very young male orphans relocated from Kruger National Park.
But once the orphans became teenagers, the female group spurned them. Like unconstrained adolescents of many species, the males, their hormones ablaze, became seriously aggressive, even killing some rhinos.
The number of elephants in Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks in Kenya continues to grow, but more slowly than in the early 1990s.
A January aerial survey of the two parks plus the Rombo and Galana Ranches and Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania (about 15,400 square miles) yielded a count of 8,100 elephants, up 729 from the 1994 count.
A January aerial survey of the two parks plus the Rombo and Galana Ranches and Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania (about 15,400 square miles) yielded a count of 8,100 elephants, up 729 from the 1994 count helped in the survey.