Papilio cyproeofila (Common White-Banded Swallowtail)

Walking carefully into Erin camp of Omo forest reserve, one is likely to be welcomed by the Common White-Banded Swallowtail. This is a forest butterfly with some tolerance of habitat degradation and usually fairly common. Both sexes are fond of flowers. The host plant choice of Piper (Piperaceae) is a special character for this butterfly since no other Papilionidae feed on this host plant family. 

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Holiday Edition Quiz – General Ecology

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Euphaedra proserpina (The Splendid Ceres Forester)

Euphaedra are mainly forest butterflies although a few do well in degraded areas with a full canopy. The Splendid Ceres Forester are from southern Nigeria but may penetrate western Cameroun. When next you visit the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos Nigeria, kindly look for The Splendid Ceres Forester especially at the family park where they are attracted to pealed Coconuts.

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Black Rhinoceros

Scientific name:   Diceros bicornis (Linnaeus, 1758)

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered listed by IUCN in 1996 and reassess in 2020 (Emslie and Adcock, 2016). 

Population: Estimated population of 5,495 individual Rhino reported by Emslie et al. (2019) in 2017, and by 2018; as reported by  Knight (2019) there was 5, 630 estimated population (Emslie and Adcock, 2016). 

Distribution:  Extant in Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South –Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. They are extinct in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Togo, Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Ugandan (Emslie and Adcock, 2016). 

Re-Introduced: Botswana, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia (Emslie and Adcock, 2016). 


The Rhino is classified into two families: Black Rhino and White Rhino, native to Africa. The name Dicros was derived from the Greek word: “Di”: means two, “ceros” means horn (Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008)

There are four (4) recognized Black Rhinoceros Sub-species (Moodley et al., 2016: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2020), and they are:

D. bicornis bicornis (South-West Africa Rhino (Moodley et al., (2016)): They are known to roam Namibia, Southern Angola, Western Botswana, and southeastern South Africa. They currently have a growing number in Namibia and unconfirmed report in South Africa (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).  

D. bicornis longipes (West African Rhino (Moodley et al., (2016)): declare Extinct in last know location in Cameroon in 2011, and once range the central- West Africa which includes Nigeria (Emslie and Adcock, 2016). 

D. bicornis michaeli (East Africa Rhino; Moodley et al. 2016): They are known to be distributed from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, North central Tanzania and Rwanda. They have good population in Kenya and Tanzania. They are reported to be the subspecies that was once extinct in Namibia in 1995 by poaching (Moodley et al., 2017). They are reported to be critically endangered with just about 631 individuals in Kenya (species stronghold) reported by Pilgrim and Biddle (2008)

D. bicornis minor (South-central Africa Rhino; Moodley et al. 2016): they are known to occur from Southern Tanzania through Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to South Africa. They have a growing population in South Africa (Emslie and Adcock, 2016).  They are critically endangered (Nhleko et al., 2017)

Black Rhinos are reported to have poor eyesight and may not be able to sight properly object more than 30 m away, but they have a good sense of hearing and smelling (Adcock and Amin, 2006: Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008). The rate of decline of this species in recent times is faster than any large terrestrial mammals.


They are habituated wide range of habitats such as forest, bush, plain, and desert (Ritchie, 1962) and prefer an area that is within 25 km of water ((Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008).


 They are monogastric animals and they have a similar digestive system to horses. Plant fiber (Claus and Hatt, 2006), Legumes, and Acacia (Nowak, 1999) are their favorite diet (Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008).


She has a gestation period between 460- 540 days and usually gives birth to a single Calf (Ritchie, 1962, Pilgrim and Biddle, 2008).


 Black Rhinos are known to be a very aggressive animal, capable of charging easily when threatened (Wikipedia). They are known to be more active during the night time (SaveTheRhino) and display a characteristic urine scent marking to make know their territory (SaveTheRhino). Rhinos are solitary animals and their calf lives with her mother till age three (3) (National Geography). 5,500 species of Black Rhinos are said to be available in the wild, with half of the population in Namibia. Namibia may allow five male rhinos to be killed every year (Rhinos)


Treat to this species includes:

Poaching (Rhino horn cost $65,000 per gram as reported by Moodley et al. (2016)), hence, the huge price on Rhino makes it a target for poachers

Parasite and stress: In a study by Otiende et al. (2015), parasite such as Piroplasm which is transmitted by Thick have long been associated with wildlife animals and Rhino are not left out, however, as reported by (Otiende et al., 2015), stress induce disease, and animal translocation are a major cause of stress affecting Rhino (Otiende et al., 2015).

Habitat Destruction is another major threat facing Rhinos


Rhinoceroses are ecosystem engineers, making a major impact on the ecosystem and helps the survival of other species. They contribute to species richness in their ecosystem.





Moodley, Y., Russo, I.M., Dalton, D.L., Kotzé, A., Muya, S., Haubensak, P., Bálint, B., Munimanda, G.K., Deimel, C., Setzer, A., Dicks, K., Straschil, B.H., Kalthoff, D., Siegismund, H.R., Robovský, J., Donoghue, P. and Bruford, M. (2016). Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep41417

Otiende, M.Y., Kivata, M.W., Makumi, J.N., Mutinda, M.N., Okun, D., Obanda, V.,  Gakuya, F., Mijele, D., Soriguer, R.C. and Alasaad, S., Kariuki, L. (2015). Epidemiology of Theileria bicornis among black and white rhinoceros metapopulation in Kenya. BMC Veterinary Research. 11:4. DOI 10.1186/s12917-014-0316-2

Claus, M and Hatt, J. M. (2006). The feeding of rhinoceros in captivity’, International Zoo Yearbook 40, pp 197-209.

Emslie, R. H. and Adcock, K. (2016). A conservation assessment of Diceros bicornis. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Everatt, K.T., Andresen, L., Ripple, W. J., Kerley, G. I. (2016). Rhino poaching may cause atypical trophic cascades. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14:65–67

Knight, M.H. (2019). African Rhino Specialist Group report. Pachyderm 60: 14–39.

IUCN. 2020. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020-1. Available at: (Accessed: 19 March 2020).

Nhleko, Z. N., Parker, D. M. and Druce, D.J. (2017).  The reproductive success of black rhinoceroses in the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, KOEDOE – African Protected Area Conservation and Science. ISSN:  2071-0771

Pilgrim, M. and Biddle, R. (2008). EAZA Best Practice Guidelines Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), MBiol Science NEZS Chester Zoo



Big Cats – Quiz Series

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Lilac Beauty – Butterflies of Nigeria

I am happy to present this great example of butterfly camouflage in West Africa. This is Salamis cacta (Lilac beauty). This butterfly is really mistaken for a dried leaf. This is why it has the confidence to perch for long on leaves in disturbed areas of forest. In Omo forest reserve, this butterfly was observed perching at the entrance to the Erin Camp. It only displayed the underside of its wings. Do you know how the upper surface of the wings looked like?

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White-thighed Colobus – Extinction Realities

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Common names: Ursine Colobus or White and black Colobus

Scientific name:  Colobus vellerosus (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1834)

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered listed by IUCN in 2019

Population: less than 1,500 individual (population decreasing) according to Goodwin et al. (2020)

Distribution: Native to Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and western Nigeria


There are two species of black and white Colobus which could be found in West Africa (Gonedelé et al., 2010); Colobus polykomos (Zimmerman, 1780), commonly known as western pied Colobus, and Colobus vellerosus (Gonedelé et al., 2010). Colobus vellerous could be found in the western part of Nigeria.

There were unverified reports of  Colobus vellerous sighting at the old Oyo Park and Opara game reserves in Nigeria by locals and biologist in 2017 as reported by Kazeem (2017) but a survey carried out by Kazeem (2017) in old Oyo Park from December 2015 to January 2016 report no animal, giving rise to the need for a comprehensive survey in this area. The species population is decreasing rapidly, in Cote d’Ivoire, there is a report of the species being extirpated from most protected areas habituated except the Comoe’ national park (Gonedele Bi et al., 2012), Kankam and Sicotte (2013) reported 50% absence of the species in protected areas they once habituated. Togo has small groups of species as reported by Segniagbeto et al. (2017), but the country also faces a decline in the number of species in protected areas, while reports from Benin republic show a total of 21 individuals across the country (Goodwin et al., 2020). The animal used to be protected by locals in some part of Ghana (Boabeng-Fiema and Tafi Atome), and Cote d’Ivoire (Soko, Dinaoudi) for their cultural heritage, unfortunately, locals no longer respect these cultural beliefs (Baker et al., 2009)


They are found in lowland forests, fragmented (Kankam, 1997) swamp forests, and semi-deciduous forests (Goodwin et al., 2020). They spend most of their time on trees but they could travel on the ground (Booth, 1956)


They are mainly folivorous (Saj and Sicotte, 2007), and they also feed on fruits, flowers, seeds, and tree bark (Kankam and Sicotte, 2013 and Djego-Djossou et al. 2015). Moraceae, Leguminosae, and Bombacaceae are the main tree species they feed on, and Albizia coriaria, Aubrevillea kerstingii, Trilepisium madagascariense are the common fruits and seed in their diet (Teichroeb et al., 2003)


They are diurnal and the male is highly territorial, using a roaring call to advertise territory and location (Wikipedia) and they live in troops of 5-10 individuals, which includes a dominant male, several females, and their young ones (Seaworld). They live at the lower branch of the trees (animal diversity) and they help in the dispersal of seeds (sea world).

White and black colobus monkey was rumor to lack thumb, but Zooatlanta report this as false, noting that, the species have thumb but they are really small and provide limited role, while AWF ascribe this as the reason the animal is being referred to as “Colobus”, derived from the Greek word meaning “mutilated” according to AWF


They exhibit a polygynous mating system (animal diversity) and the male reached sexual maturity at the age of 6 and the female at the age of 4, with a gestation period of about 6 months, giving birth to a young one every 20 months (animal diversity). Sexual behavior is usually initiated by the female using tongue smacking (animal diversity)


Treat to this species includes: hunting and habitat loss (McGraw, 2005)


White-thighed Colobus are part of the food chain, that supports the healthy growth of the environment, and helps in seed dispersal of seed. With the abundance of the species, we could be sure of having several plant species in the wild, that Human could not possibly plant, and potentially serving a habitat for biodiversity, conservation of some species of tree that may be vulnerable due to deforestation and illegal or indiscriminate cutting of trees.

A loss of the species will reduce the chance of Trees Sprouting randomly, and if we do nothing to conserve this spp, we are contributing to felling and desertification


Kazeem, A.O. (2017). Conservation Status of Black And White Colobus Monkey (Colobus vellerosus) Geoffrey 1834 in Upper Ogun Region, Southwest Nigeria. Federal University of Technology.

McGraw, W.S. (2005). Update on the search for Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey. International Journal of Primatology 26: 605-619.

Gonedele Bi, S., Koffi, B.J.C., Bitty, E.A., Kone, I., Akpatou, B. and Zinner, D. (2012). Distribution and conservation status of primates in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa). Folia Primatologica 83: 11-23.

Kankam, B.O. and Sicotte, P. (2013). The effect of forest fragment characteristics on abundance of Colobus vellerosus in the forest-savanna transition zone of Ghana. Folia Primatologica 84(2): 74-86

Kankam BO (1997). The Population of Black-and-White Colobus (Colobus polykomos) and the Mona Monkeys (Cercopithecus mona) at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary and Surrounding Villages. BSc Thesis, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Segniagbeto, H.G., Assoua, D., Koudzo, D., Koda, K.D., Agbessi, E.K.G., Atsri, K.H., Dendid, D.,Luiselli, L., Decher, J. and Mittermeier, R.A. 2017. Survey of the status and distribution of primates in Togo (West Africa). Biodiversity 18(4): 137-150.

Matsuda Goodwin, R., Gonedele Bi, S., Nobime, G., Kone, I., Osei, D., Segniagbeto, G. & Oates, J.F. (2020). Colobus vellerosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T5146A169472127. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T5146A169472127.en

Gonedelé, S.B., Bitty, A.F., Gnangbé, J.C., Bené, I.K., and Zinner, D. (2010). Conservation Status of Geoffroy’s Pied Colobus Monkey Colobus vellerosus Geoffroy 1834 has Dramatically Declined in Côte D’Ivoire, African Primates.7 (1): 19-26

Saj TL, Sicotte P (2007). Predicting the competitive regime of female Colobus vellerosus from the distribution of food resources. International Journal of Primatology 28: 315–336.

Baker, L.R., Adebowale, A.T., Oluseun, S.O. and David, G. (2009). Distribution and abundance of sacred monkeys in igboland, southern Nigeria, American Journal of Primatology. 71:574–586.  

Teichroeb, J.A., Tania, L.S., James, D.P. and Pascale, S. (2003). Effect of Group Size on Activity Budgets of Colobus vellerosus in Ghana, International Journal of Primatology. Vol. 24, No. 4. Booth, C.P (1956). The colobus monkeys of Ghana. African Wildlife 12: 313–318


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It was a good one with a take-home note to all sea turtles researchers, that Fishermen should rather be your friend than enemy regardless of the fact that they hunt sea turtles. You have to strategically win them over because they are useful. The good week ended with the release of hatchlings and a juvenile Green turtle to the sea. Many thanks to IUCN, RASTOMA, PPI, and AGBOSEGE.

Waste Management Quiz

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The accumulation of plastic products in the environment adversely affecting wildlife, wildlife habitat, and human is referred to as

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The long-term heating of Earth’s climate system due to anthropogenics factor is referred to as

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Upcycling, cascading and recycling are all effective means of controlling and reducing plastics in the environment, TRUE OR FALSE??

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