Biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Third Trimester 2016 Report with photos of Angola’s Cangandala Park and Luando Reserve, in English and Portuguese, now on our Giant Sable page.

Between July and August 2016 an ambitious aerial census and capture operation was carried out in Luando and Cangandala.

“The objective for the 2016 capture operation would be, over the course of three weeks, to make an updated sable population census in Luando Reserve and place up to 16 GPS collars and 5 VHF collars on giant sable, both in Cangandala and Luando. A complementing objective was to survey as many as possible of previously identified (from satellite imagery) sable hotspots in Luando, including water holes, critical anharas, while assessing and acting against poaching whenever justified.”

The Angolan military participated and provided critical support. In Luando Reserve the operation was a huge success. The three known herds were located and then the two “missing” groups were also found, bringing the total of confirmed herds up to five.

The largest giant sable herd finally located in Luando Reserve.

Ngola, “arguably the most powerfully built, strongest and well proportioned bull we ever handled”,  was found escorting the largest herd in Luando.

 

In Cangandala National Park there was no need for counting the sable population as it is regularly well monitored on the ground. Also the poaching situation isn’t brilliant in Cangandala but at least it is fairly under control, besides the fact that with a couple exceptions all giant sables are contained inside the fenced sanctuary. Therefore the flights in Cangandala were done mainly with the purpose of capturing at least a couple young males and put them VHF collars.

A big surprise in Cangandala was coming across a young male forest buffalo which was clearly  seen and photographed.

Another big surprise, Ivan the Terrible was found and darted outside the fence in Cangangdala!

The slide show below shows evidence of snare-type poaching being carried out especially in the Luando Reserve.

“An important aspect of the operation involved some preventive anti-poaching measures, as a joint effort between our team, the Ministry of Environment, the local political Administrations and the Army from the Northern Military Region. An awareness campaign was carried out and the military made it clear that the giant sable antelope is a national symbol that deserves full protection and they are prepared to endorse the efforts and enforce the law if necessary. As result and over the period of a few weeks, it was possible for the local administration to collect dozens of shotguns that were being used for poaching inside the reserve.”

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Visit our Giant Sable page to read Pedro Vaz Pinto’s full report with more photos, and previous reports. 2017 reports to be posted soon.


Hot off the press, a new book published about wild Angola, now available from Protea Publishing and Amazon.

Angola was once one of Africa’s last great wildernesses. Gorillas and chimpanzees shared the pristine rainforests of Cabinda, giant sable antelope roamed the miombo woodlands of Luando, and the enigmatic Welwitschia mirabilis crowded the plains of the Namib. But war, intrigues and arrogance have resulted in the loss and near extinction of most of Angola’s formerly abundant wildlife and the decay and erosion of a once endless Eden.

From 1971 to 1975, author Brian J. Huntley was ecologist for Angola’s five major national parks, surveying the entire country and developing the country’s conservation strategy. Integrating the historical, political, economic and environmental threads that account for Angola’s post-colonial tragedy, Huntley describes in detail the wildlife, wild places and wild personalities that have occupied Angola’s conservation landscape through four decades of war and a decade and a half of peace. Despite the loss of its innocence, Huntley believes that Angola can rebuild its national parks and save much of its wildlife and wilderness.

                         Brian Huntley

Author Brian J. Huntley gave a presentation to the Angola Field Group on December 2011. Following retirement in 2009 as CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, he is currently an independent consultant on conservation research and implementation projects in many African countries for various United Nations agencies. He is also a Research Associate at the Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Cape Town.

 

bush baby

Angolan dwarf galago. Photo from AJPA.

A new species of bush baby has been discovered in the Kumbira Forest in Kwanza Sul. The 6 inch mammal is named the Angolan dwarf galago (galago angolano in Portuguese). Kumbira Forest is home to many endemic species in Angola but it continues to be logged rather than protected. The rate of logging in Angola is one of the fastest known in the world.

Read full details in this article, “A giant among dwarfs: a new species of galago (Primates: Galagidae) from Angola” published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Svensson, Mills et al. 2017). Also see this National Geographic online article.

Biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Second Trimester 2016 Report with photos of Angola’s Cangandala Park and Luando Reserve, in English and Portuguese, now on our Giant Sable page.

In Cangandala it’s all about bulls as work continues building a new fenced sanctuary, which will be destined in the future to contain bulls for tourism visits.

Putting up a new fence

Putting up a new fence

“Inside the sanctuary the most striking records reflect a steep increase in the number of young males.”

Young males

Young males

Young calf

Young calf

Youth

Youth

A yearling male

A yearling male

“The plan eventually is to remove some of these males to the new sanctuary, as soon as it is finished.”

“The next quarter will be crucial as we are preparing for another capture operation, designed to put collars on animals in Cangandala and Luando, but also to make an updated aerial census of herds in Luando Reserve and, with assistance from military, to support anti-poaching activities also in Luando.”

tusk-award

Shepherd Manuel Sacaia who patrols the Luando reserve received the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award from Prince William for his dedicated service to protecting the giant sable.

Biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s First Trimester 2016 Report with photos of Angola’s Cangandala Park and Luando Reserve, in English and Portuguese, now on our Giant Sable page.

Cangandala Park buildings under the starry night

Cangandala Park buildings under the starry night

The new year in Cangandala Park saw heavy rains and flooding, thwarting efforts to access the giant sable inside the sanctuary.

“Without being able to track and monitor the animals on the ground, we had to settle with inferring the dynamics from the trap cameras’ records, keeping me busy for quite a while. As usual we obtained plenty of photos, and even after filtering the data to exclude blanks, we got around 30,000! These included the usual species, such as giant sable, roan, hybrids, bushbuck, duiker and warthogs.”

This slide show is dedicated to the night life in Cangandala. While the majority of photos recorded by the stealth cameras feature giant sable and hybrids, it’s interesting to keep track of the well known other species in the park.

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Visit our Giant Sable page to read Pedro Vaz Pinto’s full report with more photos, and previous reports.

Luanda – a rise in crime and long queues in supermarkets. But in rural Angola the people are as friendly as ever, their level of poverty has changed little, they were always poor. And the countryside is as beautiful as ever. Get out of town and experience the diversity of Angola. Then share what you have discovered with a new Facebook page, Angola Ambiente:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/1045499302182009/
The Angola Ambiente Facebook page was set up to give people the opportunity to post interesting observations on all aspects of Angolan natural history. Contributors are encouraged to post photographs and observations in order to further our knowledge of Angolan fauna and flora.

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Biologist Pedro Vaz Pinto’s Fourth Trimester 2015 Report with photos of Angola’s Cangandala Park and Luando Reserve, in English and Portuguese, now on our Giant Sable page.

Palanca Report_4TRIM2015-12

Small herd of giant sable with the bull in lead in Luando reserve.

Both Cangandala and Luando are the only two locations in the world where the Giant Sable can be found. They are protected areas yet this critically endangered mammal continues to be threatened to extinction by poachers. Here is an update from the final months of 2015.

In Cangandala Park, there’s good news and bad news. First, the bad news:

“…there had been a poaching incident with shooting involved which resulted in one of the rangers being wounded…….. “This is another sad reminder that even in Cangandala, poaching still remains a very real threat…”

The good news:

“Other than this tragic event, things seem to be going well in the sanctuary where at least the sable are breeding well and look healthy.”

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                       Lots of calves and young in Canangdala Park.

In Luando Reserve, also good news and bad news. The bad news again involving poachers:

“…..another mutilated giant sable, tragically a very young female who had been collared in 2013 when two years old, and who should now be attending her second calf. It is another animal lost for breeding, so for the population it is as good as dead.”

Palanca Report_4TRIM2015-3

Angolan air force tracking injured giant sable in Luando Reserve.

The good news:

“On a positive note, the military decided to step up their support to the shepherds in Luando reserve, making a few joint ground anti-poaching operations with ministry rangers, and subsequently deploying a few weapons to the shepherds who from now on will be better equipped to tackle the poachers.”

Palanca Report_4TRIM2015-13
Some more good news, birds and frogs continue to thrive in Cangandala Park and Luando Reserve….

 

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