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Could Re-Wilding Avert the 6th Great Extinction? [Slide Show]

Biologists and conservationists aim to restore habitat while brokering a peace between people and predators

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DUNG BEETLE

In Tembe Elephant Park—a key region of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area, a transboundary project in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique—dung beetles have the right-of-way. With over 100 species of the iridescent insects in this unique sand forest region, tourist vehicles are required to veer around piles of elephant dung to avoid harming them while they look for some of the other wildlife protected here: the rare Livingstone's suni antelope, a tiny, quivering, rabbit-size deer; the larger but still rare nyala antelope; both the black and white rhino; and the last indigenous southern African elephant population, thought to be the largest on the continent.....[ More ]

ORPHAN ELEPHANTS

Watched over carefully by their adoptive human parents, orphaned elephants play, drink and bathe at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an elephant orphanage just outside the Nairobi National Park, named for a famous Kenyan parks official and run by his widow, Dame Daphne Sheldrick.....[ More ]

CARMINE BEE-EATERS

Southern carmine bee-eaters ( Merops nubicoides ) perch next to a cliff wall housing hundreds of their burrows in Botswana's Okavango Delta. The Delta is a birder's paradise and popular with sports fishermen, who yearn to land a freshwater trophy, the tiger fish ( Hydrocynus vittatus )—the carnivorous "water dog".....[ More ]

STICK INSECT

Botswana offers some of the finest high-end safaris in Africa, but a burgeoning population of elephants are hemmed in by veterinary barriers and border fences. To restore their migratory pathways and protect the incomparable beauty of the Okavango Delta, a wetland that never reaches the sea, conservation organizations are launching the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, designed to increase ecotourism and bring needed jobs to the people of the region.....[ More ]

ONE-HORNED RHINO

A greater one-horned rhino ( Rhinoceros unicornis ) emerges from the dense grassland of Nepal's Chitwan National Park onto a jeep track. This individual has lost its horn, which consists of compressed hair fibers and presents a powerful incentive to poachers who can sell it for export to China for thousands of dollars a kilogram: In Asian traditional medicine the rhino horn is believed to be an effective treatment for fever.....[ More ]

ASIAN ELEPHANT

Outside Tiger Tops Tented Camp, a tourist facility within Chitwan National Park in Nepal, elephant handlers prepare to load a howdah, or platform, onto a domesticated female Asian elephant, the only safe transportation for tourists bent on penetrating the dense grasslands of the park to see its most famous denizens: the Bengal tiger and the greater one-horned rhinoceros.....[ More ]

HUNGRY BEAR

Romania's Carpathian Mountains form one of the largest core wilderness areas in Europe, home to 5,000 bears, 3,000 wolves and 2,000 lynx, which were protected for decades during the brutal reign of Nicolae Ceausescu, an enthusiastic bear hunter who reserved hunting rights for himself and his cronies.....[ More ]

OCELOT

Mariana Furtado, a Brazilian veterinarian, changes the battery in a radio collar worn by one of Emas National Park's ocelots. One of the last surviving pieces of a once-mighty ecosystem, the Brazilian Cerrado, Emas offers biologists the opportunity to study the little-known species of this habitat while they work to restore wildlife corridors between the grasslands and the enormous Pantanal wetland to the west.....[ More ]

MANED WOLF

A maned wolf, one of the unique suite of fauna protected in Brazil's Emas National Park, a scrap of the continent's once-mighty Cerrado (grassland) ecosystem, bolts from a live trap. The radio collar around his neck will ensure that researchers can keep tabs on his movement patterns.....[ More ]

GREVY'S ZEBRA

Over the past few decades, the Grevy's zebra, an important herbivore that ranges throughout the Horn of Africa's savannas, has suffered severe habitat loss and become critically endangered, its numbers dropping from 15,000 to under 3,000.....[ More ]

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