Connect with us

Culture

Bison Herds are Now Back at Rosebud

Most people who have studied American history in school learned at some point that buffalo used to roam the plains of the Midwest in the millions. Dubbed bison in biological terms, those same animal herds meant a viable resource for multiple migratory indigenous tribes until development arrived, first with the railroad and then with towns and ultimately over-hunting and decimation.

At a rate of 25,000 killed annually, the great bison herds eventually disappeared. And, with wars and containment, the indigenous peoples that survived off the bison disappeared from the plains as well. After that, the Midwest was parceled into state territories and fully developed into the modern U.S. it is today.

The number of surviving bison today is a splinter shade of what used to exist. At 31,000 animals across the entire country, American bison are practically museum relics of their ancestors. Worse, they break up into two types, plains bison at 20,000 and wood bison numbering about 11,000. However, with a recent project, at least 60 bison have been relocated to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, once again creating a presence historically on a land that used to be their primary home in South Dakota.

Ideally, the number of bison expected to be in the region will total some 900 animals by the arrival of winter. And, with calving, that total should bump up to an even 1,000. In total, it will then become the largest herd in the U.S. managed by Native Americans.

For a bit, it was challenging to get the bison to roam. They were quite comfortable just sitting in the fenced-off corrals they had been in for years. However, once a few brave specimens got out and looked around, the rest of the pack started to follow. Now, the feeling of a bison herd on the move has returned to the plains. It’s not quite as thunderous as in the 1800s, but they can still be felt like a memory coming back to the land. For the residents of the Rosebud Reservation, it was a full-circle return of heritage to the area.

Ideally, by 2025, there should be a break off of five different herds, each totaling 1,000 animals. The rapid growth of the animal populations and herds is extremely promising in terms of restoring their presence again on the Dakota plains. Having been missing for almost a century and a half, the return of the bison now in 2022 is both real and spiritual for the Sioux residents and tribal members. The presence and attraction of the bison also provide a conduit for education about Lakota life, as it was historically and now, further generating new life on the Reservation for new generations to come.

Culture

Gardener Brings Plant Music to New Audiences

Kelly Taylor

Published

on

A gardener who created a synthesizer to make music from plants is now taking his unique performances to new live audiences.

Martin Noble-James, a gardener at Felbrigg Hall near Cromer, Norfolk, will be performing music using plants in a technique called bio-sonification.

This process involves attaching electrodes to plants to pick up their electrical impulses and turning those impulses into sound.

“I’m interested in making music where I don’t have control,” he said. “It’s like collaborating with something that doesn’t know it’s making art and sharing it with a live audience.”

Mr. Noble-James, who has been a gardener at Felbrigg Hall for the past 20 years, started exploring bio-sonification during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Bio-sonification works by attaching electrodes to plants to pick up their electrical signals, which are then fed into the synthesizer to create music.

“I really wanted to do it live,” he said. “Just get out there, plug a plant in, and see what happens.”

He explained that making changes to the plant, like tearing off a leaf or watering it, can change the sound it makes because the chemical processes inside the plant are altered.

“The plants are just producing voltage, and you can do all sorts of things with that voltage,” he said.

This summer, Mr. Noble-James will travel around Norfolk, bringing his plant music to audiences at Felbrigg Hall and the Blickling Estate.

Continue Reading

Culture

Flavor Flav Boosts U.S. Women’s Water Polo Team as Official Hype Man

Renee Yates

Published

on

Flavor Flav, the iconic rapper known for his vibrant personality and clock necklace, has taken on a new role as the official hype man for the U.S. women’s water polo team. The team is gearing up for an ambitious run at their fourth consecutive gold medal at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Maggie Steffens, a veteran player, expressed her excitement on social media. “There is no greater honor than representing Team USA on the Olympic stage side by side with strong, talented & driven women who empower you every day,” she wrote. Steffens also encouraged more people to support women’s sports, particularly water polo, which she feels deserves more recognition.

At 65 years old, Flavor Flav is stepping up not just with his energetic support but also with financial backing. “As a girl dad and supporter of all women’s sports – imma personally sponsor you my girl,,, whatever you need,” he commented on Steffens’ Instagram post. He promised to sponsor the whole team, assuring them, “That’s a FLAVOR FLAV promise.”

Flavor Flav, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., is finalizing a sponsorship deal with USA Water Polo. He’s already actively promoting the team on social media and plans to cheer them on from the stands in Paris. “When I come out and watch this water polo team … ‘USA! USA!’ Yo, I’m going to be the biggest hype man that they ever had in their life,” Flav told the Associated Press.

The rapper, a father to four daughters, emphasized his commitment to supporting women in an interview with PEOPLE magazine. “There’s a lot of women, I’m saying that all they want is just a chance,” he said, expressing his desire to help women achieve their dreams.

The team’s reaction to Flavor Flav’s involvement has been one of shock and excitement. “Is this real, this reality?” Steffens said, amazed at the attention from such a famous figure. She described water polo as not just a passion but her life, and Flav’s support as a significant boost.

The U.S. women’s water polo team has been highly successful since the 2012 Olympics but has struggled to gain the same level of attention as other American teams. Steffens, the last remaining member from the 2012 squad, highlighted the ongoing financial challenges Olympic athletes face and how much this new partnership could help.

With Flavor Flav’s infectious enthusiasm and backing, the U.S. women’s water polo team hopes to capture not only another gold medal but also the hearts of more fans worldwide.

Continue Reading

Culture

Rare Short-Tailed Bats Heard in Wellington for the First Time in Years

Kelly Taylor

Published

on

In an exciting development for wildlife enthusiasts, the endangered short-tailed bats have been heard in Wellington, New Zealand, marking their first recorded presence in the area in seven years. This discovery has brought hope to conservationists who feared that these rare mammals might have vanished from the lower North Island.

Short-tailed bats are among New Zealand’s rarest mammals and play a vital role in the local ecosystem. They are known for their unique flying style and are crucial pollinators and seed dispersers, which helps maintain the health of their natural habitats. These bats are small, with a body size about the length of an adult human’s thumb, and have a distinctive tail that extends beyond their tail membrane, unlike many other bat species.

The recent detection occurred through acoustic monitoring near the Pākuratahi River, just south of the Remutaka Hill Road. This area’s lush environment provides a perfect backdrop for such a significant find. Jo Monk, a lecturer from the University of Otago, highlighted the importance of this discovery, stating, “It’s super exciting to have a known population of short-tailed bats in the lower North Island.”

Protecting these bats is challenging due to predators like rats and stoats, which are common threats to their survival. Effective conservation requires intensive control measures to manage these predators. “Our experience from the South Island is you need really intensive rat control in addition to quite intensive stoat control to protect these populations,” Monk explained.

Ben Paris, a senior conservation advisor from the Auckland Council, and affectionately known as the New Zealand Batman, expressed his surprise and excitement at this finding. “Wellington isn’t very well known for its bat fauna, so to see short-tailed bats, which are one of the more rare bats appear in Wellington, is really exciting,” he said. Paris is optimistic about the future of bat conservation in New Zealand, noting, “I think that it’s really amazing that we are finding these bats in places that we are not expecting, and I feel like we are going to find more of these bats across New Zealand as people get more aware.”

Continue Reading

Culture

India Reigns Supreme in Big Cat Conservation: Celebrating Success and Setting New Goals

Renee Yates

Published

on

India is now recognized as a global leader in the conservation of big cats, boasting control of 75% of the world’s wild tiger population, serving as the sole sanctuary for Asiatic lions, and celebrating the successful reintroduction of cheetahs. Additionally, populations of leopards and snow leopards in the country are witnessing promising growth. This impressive conservation narrative is getting a further boost with the formation of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA), which was officially launched by the Union Cabinet with a funding of Rs 150 crore till 2028. The IBCA secretariat will be headquartered in India, underlining the country’s pivotal role in global big cat conservation efforts.

The Genesis and Goals of the International Big Cat Alliance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the IBCA in April 2023 in Mysuru, marking the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger. The alliance aims to foster international collaboration for the preservation of seven key big cat species: lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, snow leopards, jaguars, and pumas. India houses five of these species, excluding only the jaguar and puma. This alliance encompasses 96 big cat range countries and various conservation and scientific organizations, demonstrating a robust international effort to protect these vulnerable and endangered species.

Asiatic Lion Conservation: A Beacon of Success

The only wild population of Asiatic lions resides in Gujarat’s Gir National Park and its surroundings, with the population reaching 674 in 2020, up from 523, marking an unprecedented growth rate of 28.87%. This species, once on the brink of extinction with numbers as low as 20, has seen remarkable recovery thanks to dedicated conservation efforts beginning well before India’s independence and formally initiated by the Indian Forest Service in 1965. Plans are now underway to relocate some lions to the Badra Wildlife Sanctuary to manage overpopulation risks in Gir.

Project Tiger: A Legacy of Triumph

India celebrates the resounding success of Project Tiger, initiated in 1973 to reverse the dire decline of tigers from around 40,000 at independence to below 2,000 by 1970 due to rampant hunting and poaching. Today, India hosts 3,682 tigers, a nearly 24% increase from 2018, spread across 53 reserves. This success story is a result of stringent anti-poaching laws, habitat conservation, and local community engagement, positioning India as a leader in tiger tourism and conservation compared to other Asian nations.

The Return of the Cheetah

India has reintroduced cheetahs to its fauna, with initial translocations from Namibia and South Africa to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park. This reintroduction project has faced challenges, but the recent birth of cubs and a survival rate meeting the project’s early goals highlight its potential success. The program aims to not only revive the cheetah population but also to foster ecological tourism and local economic development.

Leopard and Snow Leopard: Thriving Against Odds

Leopards, despite being the smallest of the large cats in India, are flourishing with a population increase from 12,852 in 2018 to 13,874 in 2022. This growth is credited to comprehensive conservation efforts across various states. Similarly, the elusive snow leopard, primarily found in high-altitude regions of the Himalayas, has been systematically surveyed, revealing a stable population that underscores India’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage.

India’s proactive and successful conservation initiatives for big cats not only enhance biodiversity but also bolster local communities and economies, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to maintaining the delicate balance between human progress and environmental stewardship.

Continue Reading

Culture

South Africa Plans to Stop Lion Breeding for Hunts

Renee Yates

Published

on

South Africa announced its plan on Wednesday to gradually stop the breeding of lions for hunting. This decision aims to end the business that has been criticized for a long time. This business involves raising big cats so that rich hunters, who pay a lot of money, can hunt them. These hunters often take parts of the lions, like their heads or skins, as trophies to keep.

The South African government had already shown its desire to stop lion breeding for hunts in 2021. A special group has been working on this matter for two years. Environment Minister Barabara Creecy, during a news conference in Cape Town, said that this group suggested shutting down the industry. This includes stopping the breeding of lions, keeping them captive, or selling anything obtained from captive lions.

Lion breeders have two years to stop their activities voluntarily and find a different business to do before this new rule is enforced. Even though this plan has met with resistance from the industry, which makes a lot of money, the government approved it recently. However, it’s not yet an official law.

This step is taken as more people, especially in Western countries, are against trophy hunting. Efforts to stop trophy imports are gaining support in the United States, Australia, and some European countries. Kamalasen Chetty, who leads the special group, mentioned that the lion breeding industry is big and complicated. It has a long history but doesn’t fit with the latest international trends or changes in local conservation policies.

Animal rights organizations estimate that there are between 8,000 and 12,000 lions on around 350 farms in South Africa. These groups often criticize the way these animals are kept. In contrast, there are only about 3,500 wild lions, as reported by the Endangered Wildlife Trust, an organization based in South Africa.

Continue Reading

Trending