Africa

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Study Finds Bad News for Aardvarks

Drought kills 5 of 6 that were being monitored

(Newser) - Little is known about Africa's elusive aardvarks, but new research says they are vulnerable to climate change like many other species, the AP reports. Hotter temperatures are taking their toll on the aardvark, whose diet of ants and termites is becoming scarcer in some areas because of reduced rainfall,... More »

Lost Islamic City Held Riches From a World Away

It was a trade center in Ethiopia beginning in the 10th century

(Newser) - Residents of the small town of Harlaa in eastern Ethiopia have long suspected that ancient coins and pottery fragments uncovered there represented a trail to undiscovered riches. They weren't far off, reports Quartz . After two years of digging in Harlaa, archaeologists have found ancient beads in almost every color... More »

Police Issue Warning to Bald Men in African Nation

They may be targeted for ritual attacks in Mozambique

(Newser) - Police have issued a warning to bald men in Mozambique: They could be targeted for ritual attacks. Five men were recently murdered for their body parts, the BBC reports. "The belief is that the head of a bald man contains gold," a police commander explains. "[Suspects']... More »

American Abducted in Democratic Republic of Congo

Michael Sharp was working for the UN when he was taken Sunday

(Newser) - A 34-year-old American UN worker was abducted Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is currently missing, Al Jazeera reports. According to NBC News , Michael Sharp was traveling through the African nation on motorcycle with a group that included another UN worker, three local drivers, and a translator. All... More »

There Are Just 25 'Big Tuskers' Left in the World. One Was Just Killed

Poachers suspected to have poisoned Satao II

(Newser) - One of the last "big tusker" elephants in Africa has been killed by poachers. Satao II, one of the oldest and biggest elephants on the continent, is believed to have been struck by a poisoned arrow; he was found dead Monday, before poachers could take his ivory. The elephant,... More »

Tiny Invader Threatens Food Staple in Africa

Fall armyworm is wiping out maize crops

(Newser) - Still reeling from a severe drought, Zimbabwe is now on the brink of going hungry as an invasive pest wreaks havoc on the staple crop maize. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that seven of the country's eight provinces have been hit by the fall armyworm, and as... More »

Stunning Sight in Sahara: Snow

Algerian town just got its first major snowfall in 37 years

(Newser) - Perhaps Mother Nature drank a bit too much eggnog on Monday because she delivered a blanket of snow on one of the hottest and driest spots on the planet. The town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on the northern tip of the Sahara desert—where temperatures can reach 122 degrees—was... More »

A Surprise 'Silent Extinction': Giraffes

IUCN report reveals 'devastating' decline of nearly 40% over past 30 years

(Newser) - No one used to pay much mind to the giraffes that roamed Africa. But new numbers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature show a significant decline in their population over the past three decades and have conservationists worried that the elegant creature is falling victim to what... More »

3 Countries to Quit International Criminal Court

Gambia says it unfairly targets Africans

(Newser) - A third African country says it will leave the International Criminal Court as fears grow of a mass pullout from the body that pursues some of the world's worst atrocities. Gambia announced the decision on TV Tuesday, accusing the court of unfairly targeting Africa and calling it the "... More »

Trophy Hunting Could Actually Help Lions

Only under the right conditions

(Newser) - It may be a tough one for animal lovers to swallow, but a study out of the University of Kent suggests trophy hunting of lions might actually be good for the species. Specifically, researchers say trophy hunting facilitates the maintenance of large areas of lion habitat—but only under certain... More »

We All Come From Single Wave of African Migrants

Humans that populated the world left Africa 50K to 80K years ago

(Newser) - While all modern humans originated in Africa around 200,000 years ago, scientists have long debated on exactly when and how we spread across the globe. A trio of studies published this week posits that, with one tiny exception, all people living today are descended from the same wave of... More »

The Great Elephant Census Returns Jarring News

Census finds numbers fell by a third in just 7 years

(Newser) - A century ago, there were more elephants in Africa than there were people in New York City. Now there are probably more people in Anchorage than elephants in Africa, with the pachyderm population down by a third just between 2007 and 2014, according to the biggest-ever study of elephant populations.... More »

500 Elephants Are Getting Loaded Onto Trucks Via Cranes

The goal: to get them somewhere safer

(Newser) - Half a dozen African elephants lay strewn on a riverside plain in Malawi, immobilized by darts fired from a helicopter in a massive project to move 500 elephants, by truck and crane, to a sanctuary for the threatened species. As development squeezes Africa's wildlife areas, this kind of man-made... More »

Only African Country Not in African Union Wants Back In

Morocco's return depends on AU vote

(Newser) - Morocco left the African Union in 1984 in protest of the organization recognizing Western Sahara's independence, though Morocco viewed the territory as its "southern provinces." Now it wants back in—but it's not about to give up the fight, reports the BBC . "For a long... More »

Zambians Outraged at Woman's Tale of Gap Year in Their Country

They say Louise Linton's book is filled with stereotypes and inaccuracies

(Newser) - Louise Linton is an aspiring actress living in California, but the Scottish woman's recently published book about her gap year in Zambia in the late '90s is what's catching everyone's attention, the Guardian reports. In Congo's Shadow was published in April and excerpted in the... More »

Human Albinos in Malawi Hunted Like 'Animals'

Increase in murders by 'hunters' seeking 'magical' body parts has made situation dire

(Newser) - There are more cases of albinism in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else on Earth, per the Washington Post , and in Malawi, a violent sidebar to this phenomenon has emerged over the past year and a half. People there with the hereditary condition —marked by a reduction or faulty distribution... More »

Monkey See, Monkey Fall, Monkey Cause National Blackout

Primate that fell on transformer is lucky to be alive

(Newser) - A "rogue" operative caused a nearly four-hour power outage across Kenya on Tuesday, the BBC reports. That agent of blackout chaos: a monkey that fell onto a transformer of the country's leading electric power-generating company, per the AP . In a statement on its Facebook page , accompanied by a... More »

Mysterious, Abandoned Oil Tanker Washes Up on Beach

No one knows where its crew is

(Newser) - A 210-foot-long oil tanker washed up on the shores of Africa this week; its crew was nowhere to be found. The Guardian reports the abandoned ship, the Tamaya 1, is now the subject of an investigation to find out what happened. The tanker, registered in Panama, was supposed to be... More »

High School Basketball Star Is Probably a 30-Year-Old Man

Sudanese immigrant always seemed much bigger than other boys on his team

(Newser) - No one disputed Jonathon Nicola was a big kid: The 11th-grader at Catholic Central High School in Windsor, Canada, stood 6 feet 9 inches, weighed 202 pounds, and wore a size 16 shoe, the Windsor Star reports. And no one initially disputed the Sudanese immigrant's age of 17—until... More »

Boko Haram Used 44 Kids as Suicide Bombers Last Year

They're brainwashed, sexually abused, and threatened

(Newser) - Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group terrorizing Nigeria and surrounding countries, is drastically increasing its use of children as suicide bombers, according to a UNICEF report released Tuesday. The Los Angeles Times reports Boko Haram used four children as suicide bombers in 2014. Last year, they used 44—33 of... More »

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