Dr. Tim Kubacki is a medical mission doctor based in the small isolated village of Cavango in the province of Cuando Cubango in Angola. “Bush medicine is essentially learning to practice among the severely impoverished in a very low-resource setting,” he says.

Mornings, patients and their accompanying family members arrive for the daily morning talk about improving physical and spiritual health.

“We are in the heart of malaria season, treating many cases daily. One great encouragement this year is the small number of life-threatening cases and deaths compared to other years, and the rare number arriving with symptoms lasting longer than three days. This is the fruit of years of public health instruction, and the population recognizing the prompt recovery for those who seek treatment, and the trust that has developed in our care.”

Evenings, many accompanying family members sleep on the ground by an open fire, as do some patients.
This man is 99 years old and sought our help for back pain from working in his field…
This beautiful girl is on her way home after returning with Mission Aviation Fellowship (transport by air) from CEML (a well-equipped mission hospital in Lubango) and life-saving surgery to repair an intestinal perforation secondary to typhoid.

Read Dr. Tim’s recent blog post here about how he confronts the challenges of treating patients in rural Angola. All images courtesy Dr. Tim’s blog.

A team of 45 researchers has brought together all that is known on Angola’s biodiversity in a free book, Biodiversity of Angola – Science & Conservation: A Modern Synthesis (2019, editors: Brian J. Huntley, Vladimir Russo, Fernanda Lages, Nuno Ferrand), an open access multi-authored book that presents a ‘state of the science’ synthesis of knowledge on the biodiversity of Angola. The book identifies Angola as one of the most biologically diverse countries in Africa, but notes that its fauna, flora, habitats and the processes that drive the dynamics of its ecosystems are still very poorly researched and documented.

The above images from the book are an example of woodlands converted by repeated hot fires into shrub lands in Bicuar National Park, Angola. These satellite images from Google Earth were taken between 1984 and 2016. The red line marks the western border of Bicuar National Park. Courtesy Biodiversity of Angola (chapter title: Landscape Changes in Angola).

Click here to download the book (420 page PDF). 


The Hyaena Specialist Group is looking for reliable observations of aardwolf, brown hyaena and spotted hyaena in Angola to determine their current conservation status and distribution. This is an ongoing worldwide data call.


If you have information, please supply your observations in the Excel sheet (download here) so that it is easier to integrate your observations into the project’s overall database, however all information will be accepted in whatever form and format is available for you.

Click here for a grid map of Angola where you can mark in which grid cell you have observed one of these hyaena or aardwolf and when. Any additional information is welcome so as to improve the quality and reliability of the new species distribution maps.

Please send your information or any related questions that you have to Dr. Florian Weise at the Ongava Research Centre in Namibia: fw@ongava.com and follow the Hyaena Specialist Group Facebook page here for updates.

Read Biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Second Semester 2019 Report with photos in English and Portuguese, now on our Giant Sable page.

The amazingly beautiful regrowth of geoxyle suffruttex vegetation in the anharas of Cangandala in August.

“Looking back, we have moved a long way in Cangandala National Park, sixteen years since our first hesitant and quite unsuccessful on-foot survey. By then we weren’t even sure if giant sable had survived the civil war, and it took us a few years to conclude that only a few old cows were left, and all males had been poached in the park. Ten years have now passed since a bull from Luando reserve was flown from Luando to join the surviving nine females in a fenced camp, and nine years completed since the first little calf was born to mark the start of the new era. Being a male, the calf received the name of Mercury, a roman god of communication, travelling and soul-guiding, and also the planet closest to the sun. A lot of hopes and responsibility was laid on Mercury’s shoulders, but over the years he has certainly risen to the occasion, becoming the master bull in Cangandala and making a significant contribution to the breeding success of the local herd.”

Mercury, not the number one anymore but still an imposing specimen.

The remarkable créche enjoying the anhara in Cangandala.

“This crèche comprised at one stage 20 little ones, which may well be the largest concentration of giant sable calves ever recorded. Adding a few off-season births in subsequent months, gives good reason to consider 2019 as a hugely successful year in Cangandala!”

Several males revolving around a receptive cow.

“Very interesting behavior was witnessed during breeding period, some of which was somewhat unexpected or at least not textbook material. We found all males present and cohabiting the same area, including the large master bulls, the younger territorial contenders and even the much younger from bachelor groups. It seems they all converge to the herd and orbit around the breeding cows.”

The herd peacefully resting and ruminating at mid-day.

“We estimate the current numbers in Cangandala to be around 80 animals, all still confined inside the 4,400-hectare sanctuary. All evidence and observations suggest that the herd is doing extremely well, as inferred by physical condition of animals, breeding rate and success, low mortality, and no indications of overgrazing or excess of antagonistic behavior.”

A red-lipped herald, probably one of the commonest snakes in the park.

They usually put on quite an aggressive show but are harmless.

Visit our Giant Sable page to read Pedro Vaz Pinto’s full report.

 

Dr. Tim Kubacki is a medical mission doctor who has been serving rural Angola since 2012. He talks about COVID and how the media sensationalism surrounding it has raised questions and fears even in the small rural community that his clinic and hospital serve in Cavango in the central part of Angola.

Cavango health care facility staff meeting (half of the room only).

People in rural Angola are severely afraid and shouldn’t be. They face far more dangerous killers every day, which, for them, have no treatment (malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, TB, HIV, hepatitis, meningitis, childbirth deaths, measles, heart failure, asthma, etc) and do not fear them. But with these other illnesses, they don’t have the media constantly in their face, as they do with COVID, screaming,“Be afraid!”

Young boy with skin TB treated at the Cavango hospital.

A critical teen with TB, pneumonia and malaria hospitalized.

Young pregnant 23-year-old woman came to clinic suffering from disseminated TB, severe malnourishment and new onset diabetes.

Read Dr. Tim’s blog post about COVID and sensationalism here.

Read Biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Capture Operation 2019 Report with photos of Angola’s Luando Reserve, in English and Portuguese, now on our Giant Sable page.

Flying over one of the five known herds in the Luando Reserve. The bull leads the way.

The Aerial Capture Operation in July 2019 focused exclusively on the Luando Reserve. 

“In brief, the operation was a huge success! In total, we darted 17 sable and deployed all our 15 GPS collars, distributed in nine females and six bulls. No casualties, or incidents affecting the health of local animals as result of our actions, was to be recorded. An updated survey was concluded, plus detailed demographic data and threat assessment.”

Wilbur, the largest bull collared on this operation.

“We collared four mature bulls, presumed territorial, and one of them was accompanying one of the herds. … All these mature bulls were very nice healthy specimens, with average horns that measured between 52 and 56 inches in length.”

Magnificent territorial bull, surely the most impressive seen in 2019, but which we could not dart.

“Regarding the bulls, the biggest surprise, by far, was finding Bruno alive, a bull that had been collared in 2013 and then estimated to be around 12, which would make him today 18 years old! Considering that we had never found a bull older than 15, this was quite a shocker.”

Old Bruno. We removed his 2013 collar and wished him a peaceful ending.

“Always fascinating to report on the bulls, but the females are the crucial component, and we were eager to tackle the herds.”

Cow on the run.

And a little calf.

Another female marked – Henriette.

“…the number of cows has remained stable or even reduced slightly, but in compensation, the average age of females has dropped and the number of yearlings and immatures has increased significantly. These parameters suggest a much healthier population, with a higher potential for growth in the short term, and one that appears to have suffered a lot less pressure from snaring over the last three years.”

An amazing bachelor group with seven beautiful young males of ages 3 and 4 years old – one would be darted later on.

“Although we’ve never done it before, this year we decided to collar two four-year-old bulls from different bachelor groups. They were both very nice powerful young specimens, with horn lengths between 46 and 48 inches… by tracking a four-year-old we hope to detect and document the moment when they settle down and become territorial, a phenomenon that is still poorly understood.

Veterinarian Dr. Pete Morkel administering the antidote on a giant sable bull.

Although possibly less than in previous years, poaching is still a major concern in some areas, where the water holes were often full of traps aiming to catch sable.

Including cable snares and nasty gin traps!

A magnificent sight- the largest sable herd in which we counted 40 individuals!

“Comparing 2016 and 2019 demographic data for the five herds, we estimate a population increase of roughly 15%, which I consider a fairly good result.”

Visit our Giant Sable page to read Pedro Vaz Pinto’s full report.

Luanda is Celebrating its 444th Birthday! Here are two special events you can attend – a free photo exhibition and a music concert that will take you back to the roots of popular Angolan instrumental music. Alliance Francaise invites you…

Exposição “Boda no meu Kubiko” de Ngoi Salucombo: O fotógrafo angolano Ngoi Salucombo apresenta no dia 24 de Janeiro de 2020 as 18:30 na Casa Rede a exposição BODA NO MEU KUBIKO. É uma exposição fotográfica que apresentar-se como uma mostra em live performance, com a finalidade de expor uma visão o mais próximo da realidade, a vivencia de uma família num prédio situado no centro de Luanda. A exposição ficará aberta ao público de 24 de Janeiro a 24 de Fevereiro de 2020, na Casa Rede, Avenida Hoji Ya Henda (antiga Avenida Brasil), nº47, 6º andar. Entrada grátis.


1º Concerto de Música Popular Urbana Angolana Instrumental – O evento terá lugar no dia 25 de Janeiro de 2020, pelas 18h00, no palco do Clube Naval de Luanda, e contará com a participação de uma «elite» de artistas de uma geração vanguardista da música popular urbana angolana de raiz, entre os quais se destacam os solistas, que vão revisitar o grande legado de exímios executantes da música instrumental de Angola.

A DISCO DE VINIL,LDA, mentora e conceptora do Projecto Memória Patrimonial do Cancioneiro Angolano — no âmbito do qual se irá realizar o I.º Concerto de Música Popular Urbana Angolana Instrumental —, é uma editora em fase de construção que vai dedicar todo o seu esforço na pesquisa, promoção e produção da música angolana de raiz, com maior incidência para o Semba, género musical do qual a DISCO DE VINIL, LDA será a sua porta-bandeira. Ingresso : 10.000 Kz. Venda de ingressos no Chá de Caxinde. Tel : 927 75 75 35 / 990 75 75 35.

Dr. Tim Kubacki writes about the drought he sees in SE Angola while working in the province of Cuando Cubango. He’s a medical mission doctor who has been serving rural Angola since 2012, we wrote about him here.

Patients in line waiting to see Dr. Tim.

“We were dropped off by MAF [Mission Aviation Fellowship] pilot Marijn, who has been making food flights for the past months to this region to try to make a dent in the famine. He was accompanied by a man from National Geographic who had just driven up to this part of Angola through Botswana, from South Africa. He’s been traveling this region of Africa since he was a kid, some 40 years ago, and he said he has never seen a drought this bad in Botswana, Namibia and Angola. He passed carcasses of elephants, Oryx, Kudu, Hippos and much more. He said every time he stopped and stepped outside of his car, he smelled death on the wind. He said the Oryx are so hardy and he has never seen one starve to death and on this trip he saw many Oryx carcasses.”

Sacks of corn and medical boxes off-loaded in Jamba, Cuando Cubango.

“I’ve seen many patients (perhaps the majority) with heart rates over 100 with complaints of generalized weakness and pain. I’ve smelled ketosis on the breath of so many. Virtually everyone is markedly dehydrated. I gave a talk on nutrition during famine one morning before clinic and one woman spoke up while virtually everyone nodded in agreement when she said, “We just don’t have food.” Almost everyone I saw this week in Rivungo [a town in Cuando Cubango] is in a state of mild to severe starvation.”

After the sacks of corn are loaded from plane to car, every kernel is picked up.

See Dr. Tim’s blog with photos at: kubackisinangola.com

Download the 2018 Annual Report of the Angolan Association for Birds and Nature (Associação Angolana Para Aves e Natureza), in English with a brief summary in Portuguese, compiled by Michael Mills, on bird conservation and research activities in Angola. Click here to download the six-page PDF.


Visit this website’s Birds page here to read more materials about birds in Angola, including past annual reports by the Angolan Association for Birds and Nature.


Now available online, South West Angola: a portrait of land and life, click here to download a PDF of the book. This is the most informative book published to date about southwest Angola, covering the provinces of Namibe, Cunene and Huíla, written in both English and Portuguese, by the Namibian father-daughter team of John and Stephie Mendelsohn.

This comprehensive book brims with images, maps, graphs and charts that capture the faces, spaces and places of the great open landscapes that makes up Southwest Angola, like this magnificent tree, purported to be the world’s largest baobab, which grows north of Xangongo.