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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.

 

Cavango clinic/hospital.

Dr. Tim Kubacki is a medical mission doctor who has been serving rural Angola since 2012.

He is based in Cavango, “a small, rural village of about 500 people that was a mission village before 1976, especially housing and treating people with Leprosy. In 1976, all 250 Lepers were slaughtered during the civil war and the villagers scattered, many walking with a group of more than 5000 people on a pilgrimage to a refugee camp in Zambia (a nine month trek through the wilderness) until the war ended in 2002. The people of Cavango and those in the surrounding villages have since begun to repopulate the area and continue to live simply, in simple stick and mud homes with grass roofs, without electricity and running water, via subsistence living, farming by hand and raising animals for food. Many in the village have never been to the city as transportation is mainly by foot (about a week’s walk to the closest city).”

Dr. Tim regularly travels by air with Mission Aviation Fellowship Angola (MAF) to remote communities that have no access to health care. Around Cavango his clinic has placed motorbike trailers in villages to bring in unconscious patients.

Village ambulance with patient inside arriving at the clinic.

See his blog with photos at kubackisinangola.com

The International Crane Foundation conducted an aerial survey of Cameia National Park in Moxico and the surrounding Bulozi Plain of Angola, a massive fresh water floodplain, and discovered three new breeding grounds for Wattled Cranes.

Wattled Crane families, one of the newly discovered populations.

Wattled Crane habitat on the Bulozi Plain.

Click here to download a PDF version of the August 2018 issue of the Foundation’s publication, The Bugle.

Angolan reed frog, endemic to Angola

The Angolan Escarpment is the least known and studied part of the African Great Escarpment. Urgent research is required to protect and conserve Angola’s threatened biodiversity. Several observatories have been implemented throughout Angola including one in the southern escarpment in Tundavala.

A recent study states that despite this area’s stunning landscape that is home to several endemics, Tundavala “lacks official national protected status and is threatened by increasing human activities, especially logging and burning for charcoal production and the harvesting of natural resources such as medicinal plants and rocks for building purposes. Increasing numbers of villagers inhabit the region with their livestock (cows and goats) and plant crops. Other threats include man-made fires and the dumping of rubble and domestic, commercial, and even medical waste.”

As part of this study on Biodiversity and Ecology by Hamburg University, you can now download a special report titled Amphibians and reptiles of the Tundavala region of the Angolan Escarpment, by researchers Ninda Baptista, Telmo António, and William R. Branch. Click here for the PDF.

(Baptista, N., António, T. & Branch, W.R. (2018) Amphibians and reptiles of the Tundavala region of the Angolan Escarpment. In: Climate change and adaptive land management in southern Africa – assessments, changes, challenges, and solutions (ed. by Revermann, R., Krewenka, K.M., Schmiedel, U., Olwoch, J.M., Helmschrot, J. & Jürgens, N.), pp. 397-403, Biodiversity & Ecology, 6, Klaus Hess Publishers, Göttingen & Windhoek. doi:10.7809/b-e.00351). Photos taken from the article.

Ansorge’s whip snake, endemic to Angola

Available now, The Special Birds of Angola, a guide to birds of Angola by Michael Mills. Click on the book cover to download a sneak-peek of the book:


This book can be purchased directly from the author: www.goawaybirding.com or via the BirdLife South Africa bookshop at www.birdlife.org.za.

The Red-crested Turaco is the national bird of Angola. Image taken from The Special Birds of Angola. 

“Angola is endowed with the richest diversity of eco-regions of any African country. Its habitats range from the mobile dunes of the Namib Desert to the equatorial rainforests of Cabinda, from arid savannas of the Cunene Basin to the moist miombo woodlands of the Bie planalto, and from the floodplains of the Cuando-Cubango to the montane grasslands and forests of the Benguela highlands. It is thus not surprising that Angola has a remarkably rich birdlife, one of the richest on the continent.

Despite all the natural treasures of Angola, it remains one of the most poorly researched regions of the globe. Fortunately, this situation is rapidly changing. Increasing numbers of young Angolan biologists are joining expeditions led by international experts in the study of Angola’s biodiversity. For more than a decade, Michael Mills has been working with Angolan colleagues in exploring the far corners of the country, discovering and documenting the incredibly rich diversity of birds. Most importantly, he has been working with the local communities of Morro Moco to protect the critically threatened forests of Angola’s highest mountain, where many bird species known nowhere else, are found.

This book is a unique and major contribution to bringing the diversity and beauty, but also the rarity and vulnerability, of Angola’s avifaunal treasures to the attention of the Angolan people. By highlighting the birds of special interest to ornithologists, to conservationists, and to the general public, Michael and his collaborators have set a benchmark for promoting awareness of the importance of Angola’s avifauna and the habitats they occupy to the world at large. Without knowledge, there can be no appreciation, and without awareness there can be no conservation. As Angola’s critically important bird areas come under increasing threat, time is not on the side of the birds and their habitats. This book can help reverse the trend.” – From the Foreword by Brian Huntley to the newly published book, The Special Birds of Angola.

 

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