The con in conservation – South African legislation.

This article reminds me of the issue around delisting the Grizzly bear in the United States. Another sensitive, highly intelligent creature treated as a game animal.

Darwin Primate Group


The con in conservation.

During my seventeen years working with wild primates, one nagging concern remained consistent: our nature conservation authorities appeared to be on the wrong side.The 2015 hunting notice allows for baboons/monkeys to be killed  using various methods once again instilling the chilling reminder that they seem to support the self-serving interests of farmers and hunters at the expense of the environment. If our nature conservation authorities are unable to view the environment as a whole but continue to support legislation that allows so-called “problem species” (as defined by certain sectors of society) to be persecuted, we are given little hope for South Africa’s environmental future.

The vervet monkey and chacma baboon are protected and listed under appendix two of C.I.T.E.S  which warns that trade in these species needs to be monitored to ensure they do not become endangered.

Except for the Cape Peninsula in…

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The day dream of the “Super Laika”

It probaly started with reading “The call of the Wild” as a child. The story of Buck the mongrel pet dog, who was kidnapped to work as a sled dog on the Klondike, and ended up not only being a bad ass sled dog but actually reverting back to the wild and becoming a wolf again…only more bad ass than any wolf. He was larger and more intelligent than any wolf, a master of both the civilized world of man as well as the savage world of the wild.

I became fascinated with the idea of weather or not it would be possible to breed a dog which would be able to revert to becoming wild again.

The story of Buck was interesting to me, partly because he was a random cross breed: half scotch collie and half st. Bernard.That got me thinking about what the right combinations of breeds would be to successfully reconstruct a wild dog. (London may have been more on the right track than I originally thought, more on that later)

Early on I hit upon breeding sight hounds to pit bulls and then crossing the results to a primitive breed such as a siberian husky. Ideally this combination would combine strength, speed and athleticism, with the wolf like qualities of the husky.

Sighthounds as well as pit bulls are still used to hunt game today, much in the same way that pleistocene hunter gatherers used the first dogs, to chase and hold prey. Greyhound crosses known as “stag hounds” are used out West to chase down and kill coyotes, and pit bulls are used in Australia and the Ameri an south to catch feral hogs.

Both greyhounds and pit bulls still retain strong prey drives. Prey drive has been domesticated out of most dog breeds, even so called “hunting dogs” which are used to point, retreive and scent trail, but not to hunt game the way wolves hunt.

Siberian huskies also retain a primitive hunting drive.

I think this combination would work to recreate something akin to a pariah dog or an australian dingo. But then I got to thinking that this recreation would fall short of the essence of what Buck, was, which was not just a dog who went feral, but rather something actually superior and dominant to wolves.

The question then was, would it be possible to create a breed of dog, which is superior in strength, size, athleticism, intelligence, and hunting prowess to a wolf? A creature equally adept in living in the wilds as well as a loyal companion to mankind?

This is the dream of the Super Laika.

The size and strength of a primtive mastiff, such as a Caucasian Ovcharka, or Turkish Kangal

The speed and hunting prowess of a saluki or staghound

The intelligence of a border collie or similar herding breed.

The natural beauty of a West Siberian laika or Japanese Akita.