Addo’s lion cubs leave home

first_img21 May 2015The famous three lion cubs at Addo Elephant National Park have started the next step towards their rehabilitation back into the wild.Towards the end of 2014, the cubs were orphaned when their mother, Gina, died. Now nine months old, the male and two females have been moved from a holding boma in the park’s main game viewing area to a much larger, 200ha camp within the Kuzuko contractual area in the north of the park, about 100 kilometres away by road.Now estimated to weigh about 80kg each, Shireen, Lara and Robin have the freedom to explore and start hunting small animals for themselves. “They will be closely monitored by Kuzuko management on a daily basis as it may be necessary to supplement their diet until such time that they are able to hunt on their own,” says Addo’s conservation manager, John Adendorff.“It is estimated that they could spend between one and two years in the camp before being released into the larger Kuzuko section.”The trio became a national news item in December 2014 when the park made a desperate plea for visitors to report any sightings of them after Gina died of a suspected snake bite. They were seen and photographed by a guest in mid- December – looking exceptionally thin and withered before not being sighted again for six weeks.Posted on Facebook, the photographs garnered widespread interest and concern, and people visited the park specifically to look for them and offer their services in the search. Local and national print and broadcast media also closely followed the story, appealing to visitors and prospective visitors to report any sightings to the park’s conservation staff.It was believed that in the six weeks or so that they weren’t seen, they were initially cared for by another female, Josie, which later had a litter of her own. They somehow survived on their own after Josie had its cubs.Long after park staff had given up hope after finding them alive following aerial searches, ranger patrols, follow-ups on numerous leads and eventually calling off the search, a guide from one of the concessions said he may have spotted them on 10 January.Although sceptical, they still went out and found the three – albeit severely malnourished and lethargic. News of their survival travelled fast, as good news does, and turned what was a bleak start to the new year into one with renewed hope.The cubs were darted and placed in a boma where they received immediate medical attention. They have spent the past four months here, being regularly fed and bulking up for the next leg of their adventure, which now starts at Kuzuko.Source: Sanparkslast_img read more

Making the Most of Meal Times

first_imgBy Dora Doss, M.S., SLP-CCCImage from Photospin.com by Angel Nieto, CC0As a speech and language pathologist (SLP) and mother of three children ages 14, 11, and 3, I enjoy family mealtimes for the social, language, and bonding opportunities they provide.  Yet when my boys were 3 and 1, I worked full time while my spouse was deployed and dinnertime was our most challenging time of day. Often, one child wanted to play and the other cried while I cooked and served dinner – certainly not the most conducive setting for quality mealtime interactions.  As an early childhood professional, I was keenly aware of the value of family mealtimes and I wanted to capitalize on this after being away from my kids all day, and yet it was still very difficult.So, I decided to try something a little different.  Instead of trying to force quality time at the end of a long day, I turned my attention towards making our weekend breakfast meals the quality family mealtime I had tried so hard to foster during the week.  In order to achieve this, I did two things. First, I let go of the pressure to have a sit-down meal with my boys; often I served, ate, and cleaned up simultaneously.  Even though I was up and moving during meal time, I was still able to engage in meaningful ways with them.  Second, I had a friend who was experiencing the same challenge with her children.  Collaboratively we had meals together once a week (sometimes more) when our husbands were away due to work obligations. These somewhat simple changes made a big difference in the quality of my family’s meal time interactions during this stressful period of raising children as a military spouse.Interestingly, research has found that more complex language structures occur during family mealtimes[i] than during play time and book reading.[ii]  Simple things such as labeling “apple,” requesting “more apples,” and commenting “my apple” all promote the use of a variety of communicative functions. Caregivers may expand on the child’s utterances by using self-talk, such as, “I’m taking a bite of my apple,” and parallel talk such as, “You took a bite of your green apple,” which provide exposure to meaningful language without the need for the child to imitate or respond.  Mealtimes are also rich with narratives and turn taking, not to mention the cultural and social connections that are fostered.Sometimes families or professionals may wonder if mealtimes can be equally beneficial for a child with a more severe communication deficit or a child who does not receive nutrition orally.  I would suggest that, yes, family meals are just as important, if not more so.  A child who does not receive nutrition orally can benefit from the sensory aspect of smells and also from the sharing of language, cultural, and social experiences with family members surrounding food.  A child who has a severe communication deficit can be exposed to the language rich environment of mealtime while communication opportunities can be modified to meet their needs.  All children, regardless of communication ability, benefit from the structure and routine of a shared mealtime.Providers should consider a family’s unique schedule to optimize suggestions for family mealtimes, that would promote a positive atmosphere[iii] and caregivers who are warm and engaged.  As I mentioned earlier, in my own personal experience, this was more likely to occur around our family breakfast table on Saturdays and Sundays than on our rushed weeknights.  Be creative to help each family determine what mealtimes might work best for them and their unique circumstances.  Additionally, Luther and Lantendresse (2005) found positive outcomes for mealtime interactions with only one caregiver present.[iv]   The connection established during a shared meal or snack[v] between the caregiver and the child is what is most important.Communicative mealtime interactions lay the foundation for continued family meals[i] later which can foster growth and development throughout childhood.  Therefore, establishing this routine early in life is important.  Now that my children are older, I’m glad I persevered to establish a mealtime routine when they were young.  Having added a third child to our family in the last few years, we have dinner 4-5 times a week together, and these family meals have become a cherished routine for us.  It is fun to see my 3-year-old daughter’s language grow to keep pace with her big brothers, and we all enjoy the humor in the many wonderful things she chooses to discuss with us.[i] Anderson, J., & Trumbull, D. (2014). The benefits of the family table [Blog Post]. [ii] Snow, C. E., & Beals, D. E. (2006). Mealtime talk that supports literacy development. New directions for child and adolescent development, 2006(111), 51-66.[iii] Fishel, A. (2015, January 12) The most important thing you can do you’re your kids? Eat dinner with them. {Blog Post].[iv] Luthar, S. S., & Latendresse, S. J. (2005). Children of the affluent: Challenges to well-being. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(1), 49-53. DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00333.x[v] Story, M., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). A perspective on family meals: do they matter?. Nutrition Today, 40(6), 261-266.This post was edited by Robyn DiPietro-Wells & Michaelene Ostrosky, Ph.D., members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube.last_img read more

Punjab govt. has failed to check stray cattle menace: Akali Dal

first_imgAmid the increasing stray cattle menace in the State, the Shiromani Akali Dal has hit out at the Congress government, accusing it of failing to address the issue. SAD leader and former Minister Bikram Majithia on Saturday said the State government had failed to find a solution to stray animals, which are not just destroying crops but have also been the cause of several deaths in the State.‘Cow cess’“The government collects ‘cow cess’ and other taxes in the name of taking care of stray animals, but the problem continues to grow. All concrete steps taken by the previous SAD-BJP government to create and maintain gaushalas and cattle pounds have been withdrawn by this government,” he alleged.Mr. Majithia said that incidents of deaths due to stray animals were on the rise in the State in the last few months. ‘Farmers affected’ “Farmers are also at the receiving end with their fields being laid to waste across the State. Towns and cities are facing an acute crisis with the cattle roaming free and spoiling green belts, besides causing traffic hazards on the State highways,” he said.Asking the Congress government to wake up from its slumber, the Akali leader demanded development of stray cattle pounds, free power to gaushalas on the pattern of the previous SAD-BJP government and judicious use of ‘cow cess’ to tackle the problem.last_img read more