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At sunset, a buffalo calf's distressed grunts reverberate through the bush.
But it's a trick.
The grunts are blaring from a loudspeaker, designed to lure lions to a tree and let a South African wildlife reserve carry out a census of its apex predator.
As an added enticement, the carcasses of two impalas are affixed to a tree. The scent promises a fresh meal.
In the headlights of a 4x4, armed rangers with night binoculars and torches watch over the scene.
"We know our lions, but with this process, we verify them," says Ian Nowak, head warden at the Balule Nature Reserve.
A wildlife researcher next to him listens intently, her ears tuned to clues from the nocturnal sounds.
That's how she knows a rumbling is from elephants grazing in the tall grass. And that's how she knows when to raise her camera to photograph lions, looking for distinctive scars or peculiar ears -- anything that identifies them for the count.
This job requires patience. The team once spotted 23 lions ripping into the bait.
"They growl and they fight. Then they lie down and eat," Nowak whispers. "It can be quite a frenzy on the bait. They smack each other and then settle down."
A lion approaches an impala used to attract predators during a census at the Balule Nature Reserve in northern Limpopo, Aug. 30, 2021 Image source: voavoa
Don't fence them in
At 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres), Balule is huge -- yet it connects with an even bigger ecosystem that, all told, is almost the size of Belgium.
Balule and other nearby game farms have transitioned into nature reserves, joining up with the Kruger National Park to create a vast territory without internal fences, covering 2.5 million hectares, that extends to Mozambique.
To create such enormous space for wildlife is a rare success story these days.
Conservationists meeting in Marseille, southern France, are deeply worried for Africa's "big cats", facing loss of habitat and human encroachment as well as poaching.
Balule is so big that its census-takers have to criss-cross the terrain to make the count as thorough as possible.
"Sometimes they've eaten. If they're full, they don't come," Nowak said. "Especially the males, they're lazy as hell."
Twenty years ago, Balule was mostly farmland and lions were few.
Last year, the census found 156 of the lordly beasts.
"Lions are doing incredibly well, mainly because there's a large enough space to operate," Nowak says.
Overall, the news is good for lions in South Africa, thanks to government conservation efforts -- helped by the inducement of tourists who are willing pay to see the animals. Private investors have also stepped in.
A years-long drought has also been a boost. Antelopes and buffalo did not have enough to eat, making them easier prey for large carnivores.
A ranger stands next to a vehicle during the annual census at the Balule Reserve, in northern Limpopo. Aug. 31, 2021 Image source: voavoa
'Lions don't share'
The loudspeaker rumbles again with the recording of the injured buffalo calf. This time, a small jackal appears, hoping for a nibble. At the slightest sound, it dashes away.
The wildlife researcher detects another movement in her thermal binoculars. The headlights flash back on, illuminating the majestic mane of a lion approaching stealthily, careful but calm.
"He's initially cautious," says Nick Leuenberger, one of the regional wardens. "He doesn't know if he'll be walking in on another pride."
"Lions defend their food, they don't share," he adds.
"Here the lion tolerates the jackal. He knows he's not a major threat to his food source."
Suddenly, the lion leaps up to one of the suspended impalas, biting into its belly. After his meal, he lies at the foot of the tree.
Now the team can move on. No other animals will dare approach.
The next night, seven hyenas take turns snipping at the fresh impala, without a lion in sight.
But on the way back, the 4x4 slams the brakes. To the left, a hippo roars furiously, its mouth wide open.
To the right, seven lionesses raise their heads above the grassline. A magical sight, but no danger to the hippo. Nowak says it would take at least twice as many lions to threaten the hippo.
The tension eases. A lion emerges from the brush and walks along the trail. A lioness joins him, and the 4x4 follows them slowly until they disappear into the night. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Lions, South Africa, Fenceless Parks
By Prerana Agarwal Saxena
In all the wedding excitement, it's easy to overlook the impact a wedding has on the environment. While everyone is making their big fat Indian wedding dreams come true, they are also adding their carbon footprint and undue energy consumption. Modern couples are now looking for ways to have a wedding with a sustainably conscious mindset. It's become about incorporating less waste, locally sourced and seasonal food, natural materials over the use of plastic. Mindful wedding planning and decor includes the use of recycled paper and goods along with eco-friendly venue needs. Check out this quick guide to achieve a sustainably conscious wedding without compromising on luxury:
Choose locally sourced material to uplift artisans
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. With the use of locally sourced materials and local artisans coming into play, the wedding instantly becomes sustainable. Include the work of local vendors ensure minimal packaging requirements, thus saving on unnecessary plastic and lamination. It also decreases the need for transporting elements from other cities and hence lowers the carbon footprint. For instance, at one of our weddings, we made use of sand art for a setup in Jodhpur. This helped promote local work while also being environmentally friendly with zero wastage of other materials. In another instance from Rajasthan, the traditional glass-blown technique was used to build decor items while giving a cultural touch to the destination wedding.
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. | Photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash
Say yes to recycling
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. It can be a small step such as making a conscious switch from plastic water bottles to copper jugs or glass bottles. Also use artificial floral decor thus minimising the wastage produced from real flowers. This recyclable decor is then donated to various NGOs, further ensuring sustainable use of resources. Such steps, however small they might be, keep the environment free from the release of any additional carbon footprint.
One should be mindful and avoid the use of plastic and other non-recyclable materials in decor wherever possible. | Photo by Ravin Rau on Unsplash
Go for zero-waste wedding decor
Make use of fabric as it enhances the elegance of the wedding while being sustainable. Include vibrant colours apt to the theme of the wedding and bring in bright sprightliness with breathable fabrics. Ensure to include LED lights for lighting. They can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. They also help conserve energy and bring in soulful energy for nighttime decor. Choose virtual invitations, keeping up with the digital times. Make a conscious choice of plated dinner menus rather than a buffet as they allow less wastage of food and ensure enough food for guests in attendance.
LEDs can be incorporated as string lights or be used on passageways with innovative decor items. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Include Sustainable Gifting
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. Offering a plant or a succulent, is a great idea. One can also gift recycled organic fabrics and cutlery or zero-waste kitchen and bathroom essentials to use in their homes as some distinct gifting options.
Gift sustainable wedding favours -- gifts that grow. | Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
Acting in the best interest of the environment and the society, Theme Weavers Designs has started a social cause, Weaving Hope, where a part of their earnings along with food and decor are donated to social communities. Royal Rendezvous, is an event started by us to put India on the Global Map, inviting international wedding planners to India to experience the rich culture and heritage, also employing and displaying the work of local artisans to this international audience.
By applying the values of sustainability, you can reduce the energy consumed and the resources used as much as possible. Go ahead and have a luxurious zero-waste wedding and navigate into the world of green living! (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Luxurious , Gift, sustainable, wedding favours, gifts that grow. Gifting, recycling, locally sourced, material. zero-waste
The Tamil Nadu health department has administered 16,43,879 lakh doses of vaccine in the second mega vaccination camp organised by it. The state public health department in a statement on Sunday said that this has taken the total vaccination to one crore since the beginning of September till date. The vaccination was administered from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. and the compiled data was made available late at night.
The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. Regular vaccination will resume after the vaccine supplies arrive from New Delhi, officials said. The state health department had expected to vaccinate 15 lakh people on Sunday in 18,824 centres spread across primary health centres, anganwadis, noon meal centres, government hospitals, schools and some auditoriums.
The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. | Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash
Of the 16,43,879 people who were inoculated, a total of 10,85,097 received their first dose and 5,58,782 their second dose of vaccine, the statement said, A total of 9,66,568 people in the age group of 18-44 were vaccinated on Sunday and vaccines were administered on 5,02,578 people aged between 45- 59 in the mega vaccine camps.
State health minister Ma Subramanian, who inaugurated the vaccination at Pollachi, also visited the centres in six districts -- Coimbatore, Erode, Namakkal, Tiruppur, Dharmapuri and Salem. The state government, according to the health minister, is to receive the next allotment of vaccines on September 21. Minister while speaking to IANS said, "We will be receiving the next allotment of vaccines on September 21 itself and we will resume vaccinations immediately. The state has already touched one crore vaccine-mark in the month of September till date." (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: COVID, vaccine, vaccination camp, Tamil Nadu, India, vaccinated, mega camp
Festivals are just around the corner and while you brainstorm about OOTDs (outfit of the day), don't forget the right makeup. Hanisha Kapoor, COO, ArchiesBeauty.com shares makeup trends experimented by these Bollywood divas throughout 2021 for inspiration. While some stuck to the classics, others mixed it up... take a look:
The Classic Red Lip
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. The right way to achieve this celebrity look is to focus on accentuating your lips and keeping the rest of the face minimal. Give your lips a good scrub to plump them, moisturize and follow it up with a red lip liner to define the shape of your lips. Now go on with the perfect shade of red and finish your look with a slick of eyeliner, minimal concealer, and foundation.
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. | Photo by Ina Garbé on Unsplash
No Makeup Look
Deepika Padukon is the perfect example of a no-makeup look. This natural beauty does a wonderful job of achieving the minimal soft look by softly cover any dark spots or blemishes and highlighting features she's most proud of. To achieve this start with concealer and use small dots to brighten your darker areas like under eye, corner of the nose or upper lip, and any visible spots, and set it up with loose powder. Apply a soft pink lipstick, light blush, and mascara.
Deepika Padukon is the perfect example of a no-makeup look | Wikimedia Commons
This look shouts pink. When it comes to rosy looks, Janhavi Kapoor does a phenomenal job. Everyone should try a rosy look once in a while. As we are focusing on only one shade, this look is pretty easy to achieve. Bring out your favourite pink lipstick, favourite pink blush, and a matching shade of eye shadow. Start with the base - concealer, and foundation and set it up with loose powder. Follow it up with eyeshadow, lipstick, and blush. Remember to draw a line by not using any pink mascara, eyeliner, or a bold shade of lipstick, as this is meant to be soft on the eyes.
When it comes to rosy looks, Janhavi Kapoor does a phenomenal job. | Wikimedia Commons
Glass Skin Makeup
The glass skin makeup is inspired by Korean skincare. This look is slightly complex with an equal focus on skin before makeup, so slather on those moisturizing serums and creams to prep your skin first. Start with a highlighting primer, keep your foundation and concealer minimal to avoid looking cakey. Follow it up with soft blush & nude lips and lots and lots of highlighter. Use the highlighter on the main points of your face, like upper cheekbones, the centre of the forehead, the tip of the nose, cupid bone, and chin. If you are feeling a bit extra, don't hesitate to put some on your shoulders and collar bones. This celebrity makeup look makes your skin glow without the need for a spotlight.
The glass skin makeup is inspired by Korean skincare. | Photo by 邱 严 on Unsplash
Pop It Up
Put a zing to your party look with the pop of funky colour. This look is meant to get you in the mood of partying all night. This works with your eye makeup while keeping the rest of the face minimal. Start with the base - concealer, apply a bit extra on your eyelids to make the colour pop. Don't mind going the extra mile and colour blocking your eyes with complementary colours on eyelids and under the eye. Apply nude lipstick and a soft blush to balance your look.
This look is meant to get you in the mood of partying all night. | Pixabay
(Article originally published by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Celebrity, makeup, Deepika, Jhanavi, Korean, Red Lipstick, Glass Makeup, Pop makeup