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Banco National Park Gets Massive Wall to Protect Ivory Coast Wildlife

Ivory Coast’s commerce metropolis Abidjan is creating a concrete perimeter wall in Banco National Park to protect its unique environment from illegal logging and pollution.

Banco is the second-largest urban park in the world, trailing only Tijuca National Park in Rio de Janeiro by more than 34 square kilometers (13 square miles).

Locals revere its fauna, which includes monkeys, chimps, and 500-year-old trees, and its shaded trails serve as a refuge for walkers and cyclists fleeing the city’s congested streets, which has a population of 5 million.

Banco, on the other hand, is under threat from the rapid development of Abidjan. Officials claim that residents unlawfully cut down trees for the construction of dwellings and dump their waste in the woods.

Those are the hopes of park administrators. A muddy area of land lay between the expressway and the park as scores of workmen piled concrete blocks two and a half meters high.

According to Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves Director General Adama Tondosamas, “in reality it’s 12 km of fence for a perimeter of 24 km, since a chunk of the barrier has already been chipped away here and there to develop urban lots,” he added.

His ambition was that his efforts to safeguard Banco would lead to Banco’s inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.

More than 90,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide are absorbed by Banco’s groundwater table each year.

With the help of local communities, park officials have been striving to prevent any misinformation about the wall and underscore the necessity of conserving forests.

“We cannot allow the forest to be lost. In a sense, we’re the keepers of this place “A village deputy chief on the park’s edge, Mesmin Yapo, made the comment.

Ivory Coast’s wildlife

The animals and plants of Ivory Coast, a country in West Africa, make up the country’s wildlife. Long Atlantic beaches and a wide variety of habitats are found along the Gulf of Guinea coast of the country.

Much of this habitat, which was once covered in tropical rainforest, has been cleared, leaving only exhibition forests as well as grasslands with scattered groups of foliage. As a consequence, the biodiversity of this area has declined.

A total of 671 fish species, 80 amphibian species, 153 reptile species, 666 bird species, as well as 252 mammal species, had been identified in the Ivory Coast as of the end of 2016. For example, the shallows of the Ébrié Lagoon are home to a wide variety of invertebrates, such as polychaetes and nemerteans.

The lake and bordering wetlands are habitat to the dwarf crocodile, West African slender-snouted crocodile, the Nile crocodile, pygmy hippopotamus, as well as the African manatee. There are over a hundred different kinds of fish you’ll cone across here.

Ivory Coast’s animals have become less diverse as a result of rapid urbanization, armed conflicts, degradation, the expansion of farms, trying to hunt for wildlife, and other things.

For this reason, numerous animals are now kept in secured places. The Comoé National Park’s 135 animal species include 11 kinds of monkeys.



Gloucester Getting Rainbow Square Design by Talented Artist

Kelly Taylor



Sometimes a town just needs a little color to bring some life to it or add some new vibe. In this case, it’s a lot of colors but beautifully done.

Read on to learn about how a talented artist is transforming a section of Gloucester, one building at a time, and how it has turned the area into a sea of colors that will leave you in awe.

A resident who is also a businesswoman is creating a rainbow square by painting the houses in the neighborhood.

Tash Frootko has been the driving force behind Gloucester’s Rainbow House. On St Mark Street, you’ll find Rainbow Street situated there and is named for her.

To make a rainbow square, her crew will paint a total of 25 homes on three adjacent streets over the month.

I want to create an environment where people may have the finest possible quality of life and be truly happy, says Tash.

Tash was captivated by Gloucester when she first arrived there over a decade ago and has since made it her home.

When she’s not working on her project, she enjoys spending time with her family. Whether it’s refurbishing an ancient building or changing the aesthetic of a street, she remarked, “I am a tremendous enthusiast of everything colorful.”

It makes perfect sense to me to improve the appearance of the main roads on which I own property. However, now it also makes sense to improve the appearance of the streets surrounding where I have real estate. I love the city.”

Together with Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa and Zoe Power, she’s working on a new project.

Eloisa and Zoe are currently working on two massive murals that will serve as a visual connection between the rows of brightly colored homes.

As Eloisa explained, “We were chatting to the land owner and I sent him a couple of drawings, and originally he was like no, this is a little too much for me. However, we ended up persuading him and he adores it now!”

In one of Tash’s transformed residences, Rushelle Archer lives with her family.

“I’m in love with it,” she said.

We wouldn’t have had the courage to open up to each other had it not been for Tash.

A tourist attraction is something Tash hopes to see happen with the rainbow houses in the city. Already, the project has been receiving a lot of attention and may become a picturesque tourist destination.

After all, many people love uniqueness, and there are certainly some Instagram-worthy areas in this square.

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The Longest Suspension Bridge in the World is Now Open to the Public

Kelly Taylor



Suspension bridges are not a new concept; the engineering concept has been around for centuries and has produced some of the world’s most famous bridges. However, in 2022, the title of the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in existence will now go to the Czech Republic. Stretching some 721 meters in distance, the Sky Bridge 721 covers the length of a chasm. The bridge’s height in the mount at its deepest measures 1,100 meters above the sea. In terms of logistics, the engineering feat connects the edge of two different mountains, and it suspends travelers some 312 feet off the ground.

The new suspension bridge is now the latest tourist marvel for the Kralicky Sneznik mountain range area, adjacent to the Polish border and about 125 miles east from Prague itself. For visitors, the bridge is a scary adventure, and only 500 people are allowed onto the suspension assembly at any given time. That said, because of the newness and to enhance safety, only 250 people are allowed onto the span for its inaugural opening phase and the two weeks following. Essentially, crowd control will keep the span from becoming a problem before it even has a chance to settle in for the neighborhood.

Given the local winds, the Sky Bridge 721 obviously won’t be accessible during blustering days. Any time the local mountain winds get above 84 miles per hour, the bridge is off-limits to the public. Nobody is interested in seeing a sudden fall off a bridge on a bad day becoming the top headline locally or internationally.

The Sky Bridge 721 was a bit of a hit in the bank account as well. The whole construction took about two years to complete, and the cost totaled somewhere over $8.3 million. Not everyone is pleased with the new addition; a number of critics argue that visually the Sky Bridge 721 has become a stain on the landscape. Others argue the added tourism is overwhelming the nearby local town. The latter is probably very true; as soon as it was open opened, international visitors arrived. The first to cross was Theo Scheepens from the Netherlands.

Even on a still day, the Sky Bridge 721 moves as people walk on it, which gives visitors an absolutely eerie feeling of momentarily floating. Prior to the Czech marvel, the longest suspension bridge title was held by Portugal, with its Arouca span stretching some 516 meters end to end.

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Canada’s Biggest Private Conservation Project Just Launched

Kelly Taylor



The business of conservation usually involves land. By securing and protecting specific zones, wilderness or roaming areas for wildlife can be preserved, giving them a sanctuary from development. So, it’s been a common strategy for many conservation groups to get into the real estate business with the intent of securing, owning and protecting wilderness areas with one of the most capitalist of protections, property rights.

However, in 2022, the definition of what a conservation project should be has been redefined entirely by what will turn out to be Canada’s largest conservation effort located in northern Ontario. The National Conservancy of Canada spearheaded the Boreal Wildlands Project, in partnership with Ontario Province as well as Canada’s national government agencies for the environment. The project involved will cover a region including 1,300 kilometers and 100 individual lakes. In between those boundaries, it includes dozens of rivers, shores, creeks, streams, forest, meadows and many other wilderness zones typical of greater Canada. The full boundaries of the project reach 1,500 square kilometers in total, and it easily outsizes the city of Toronto in comparison.

From the National Conservancy’s perspective, much of the area included is under critical stress and, without protection, will likely die off permanently. The property involved was originally forest harvesting land owned by Domtar. The company liquidated the holding at a discount so that it could be afforded by the National Conservancy. To date, $46 million has been covered, and a remaining $13 million remains on the balance due.

The area was for years a resource production zone for wood pulp that would in turn be used to produce paper for the Ontario markets. However, in the last 10 years or so the area has been left untouched. Given the unlikely possibility that harvesting was going to restart any time soon, Domtar decided it was a smarter business move to cash out. Domtar not only gets the goodwill benefits from being involved in the conservation project, it also realizes far strong bonds with government agencies that will likely return dividends later in the future.

For the Nature Conservancy, taking on the 1,500 kilometer project will be its biggest venture yet. Two-thirds of the zone is already under active conservation protection, and the remaining third is in negotiation with local municipalities also affected by the change. Ideally, many want to see results from eco-tourism as well as balancing interests with indigenous rights to the region as well, such as the Constance Lake First Nation.

On the government side of things, regulators are watching the deal given that it is technically entirely private side. The government expects to see a continuing partnership with the Conservancy in the matter going forward, and the Province is interested in the creation of parks as well in the future.

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Finding a New Bird is Like Hitting the Lottery

Kelly Taylor



As a biologist, finding a new species is a bit like winning the lottery. Not only is the new animal added to the pantheon of what is known about the animal world, the discoverer essentially become part of that history. In fact, sometimes the new animal is named after the discoverer as well. For one particular bird in the Australian area of the world, it may very well turn out to be the find of the new century.

Nature Can Definitely be a Bit Stubborn

The Zealandornis relictus simply doesn’t want to conform in terms of technical identification. The particular bird doesn’t fit, match or even resemble any of the existing bird families known to habitate the planet. For the expert on the matter, one Dr. Trevor Worthy, who operates out of Flinders University, the Zealandornis relictus is likely a descendent from a bird species that dates back some 16 million years ago at least. It’s part of a greater collection of animals that all made the area now known as Central Otago their home. Unfortunately, figuring out the details of exactly how the bird looked, functioned and what it most likely called a habitat is very much unknown.

The identification of the specific bird in question has followed all the typical identification processes one would have expected from the related scientific approach. This usually finds enough features to classify a bird within a recognized category. However, for the Zealandornis relictus, nothing seems to match, period. The bird itself is small, similar to mousebirds, but it didn’t fall in that category or of wrens either.

Working With Leftovers of Ancient History

The Zealandornis relictus isn’t alive today, basically just existing in the form of remains that Worthy and other researchers have been able to dig up from excavations and field studies in the area. The basis of what is known comes from a particular bone that doesn’t match any other kind of bird. The findings were published in a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Ornithology.

For biologists, the discovery of the Zealandornis relictus is a huge breakthrough that’s been working up to a crescendo for years, at least with regards to the people working on the project directly. To finally release the paper on the details they have known extensively for much of their lifetimes is a huge accomplishment, especially in reaching publication.

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Internment Camp Made Into a National Park for History

Shannon Jackson



While the Nazis became notorious for the atrocities they committed during World War II, they were not the only country that rounded people up because of their heritage and put them in camps during the War. The U.S. infamously did the same with Japanese American citizens and residents who were, for all intents and purposes, regular Americans with homes, jobs and lives. They were packed up at threat of arrest, relocated, and lived in internment camps for years while their property and homes were taken and given to others in their communities.

Since those days more than 80 years ago, local students in Colorado have been dedicated to helping with the preservation of a local camp in their area. That effort is now going to pay off. The U.S. federal National Park Service has designated the Amache Internment Camp as the next national park, which comes with all the protection and preservation authority for the Camp that one would find at Yosemite, for example.

The designation effort is part of the National Park Service’s dedication to helping preserve American history, both the highlights as well as the low points. However, prior to the federal government stepping in, the hard work and elbow grease was managed for years by the local school district, student volunteers and one primary person as manager, John Hopper.

Hopper had been very familiar with internment camp history. With a background in social studies teaching, Hopper at some point in 1993 found himself translating a guest speaking event for students into something bigger. The idea went from an internment camp survivor’s speech into an effort of action and community service, helping preserve a local camp site for future history and consideration. Hopper helped lead the effort to grow a preservation society, and students were brought in to help with the tremendous amount of legwork basic repair and cleaning so often take. This went on for 30 plus years.

It took another 15 years before the Amache Camp was formally identified as a historic landmark, the first step required before a site becomes something bigger in the federal camp system. It then took another 16 years before the location was declared a national park in 2022 by President Biden. The announcement formally retitled the entire camp property from the local jurisdiction of Granada City to the National Park Service.

Hopper himself has gone through changes as well. Today, he is the dean of his school, but he still makes sure students are involved, volunteering and helping with the maintenance of the Camp. It’s a town’s legacy now with generations having worked there to preserve history. The locals even help with archaeology digs on the site run by the University of Denver. The effort is a lifelong dedication, but more importantly, Amache Internment Camp is a reminder of how fragile people’s rights are, particularly in a democracy.

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