Wildlife and Nature Reserves
Mrs. Gloria Musyoka, spouse of the Ambassador of Kenya, invited the English Conversation group to her Residence on 18 February 2019. The theme Wildlife and Nature Reserves was very well chosen by Gloria as our topic of conversation.
We started our tour in Kenya, home of the safari. There are 54 national parks and reserves in various regions, most amazing of which is the Masai Mara Nature Reserve with the Big 5: rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo. It is also the ideal place to see the breathtaking wildebeest migration happening yearly. Kenya's southern neighbor is Tanzania. One third of the land area is ecologically protected due to its high density of plant and wildlife species and marine life. The annual mass migration of wildebeest takes place in the Tanzanian Serengeti Plains towards Masai Mara in Kenya, and then back again, since a million years!
Situated in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti has 8 mountain ranges and a wonderful underwater world including whale sharks. Lake Assal is a crater lake, 10 times saltier than the sea, and Lac Abbé is dotted with limestone chimneys. The white-striped francolin bird, found only in Djibouti, is an endangered bird species. Tunisia has the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara Desert and a beautiful coastline overlooking the Mediterranean Sea where whales and dolphins swim. In Lake Ichkeul Nature Park, there are about 200 bird species, including storks and flamingos, and 500 flora species.
The Iranian island of Hormuz has amazing colors due to its colorful mountains, multi-colored stones and soils. The Khar-Turan National Park is home to a variety of rare animals such as the Asian cheetah, of which only about 100 live worldwide. Kazakhstan has a rugged landscape of mountains, desert and semi-desert, forests, rivers and lakes. Among the 20 national parks and nature reserves, Korgalzhyn is the largest nature reserve with snow leopards, snow antelopes, Tien Shan dholes, black birds and pink flamingos, just to name a few.
India was home to 6.5 percent of the world’s wildlife species, however, many animals became endangered species, like the Asian tiger. The Wildlife Protection Act was successfully implemented in 1972. The current tiger population has reached 2,000. The island state of Singapore is surprisingly green and clean, despite rapid urbanization and modernization, thanks to the early planning and conservation of its rainforests, natural reservoirs and nature reserves including bird and tropical plant species.
Almost three quarters of Japan is mountainous, with numerous alpine plants growing on the mountaintops. The Japanese people always have special sentiments for nature and wildlife. Mountains and forests have a sacred meaning, and animals that share their islands are treated with respect. Vietnam is a land of natural beauty with stunning limestone caves. Ha Long Bay is a world heritage site. Saola, an endangered animal, was discovered in the dense forest in Vietnam, thus renewing hopes for the recovery of this species.
Argentina has one of the largest ecosystem varieties in the world. Northern Argentina has tropical jungles and waterfalls. Patagonia at the southern tip of Argentina consists of snow-capped mountains, deserts and subantarctic forests. Wild horses, jaguars and flamingos are among the many animal and bird species that can be found here.
Back in Europe, we stopped by Iceland, the land of glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs, volcanoes and lava fields. There are some 20 species of whales in Iceland’s waters. Whale watching is a national pastime and also an important part of Iceland's economy. Our final stop was Germany. Just a two-hour drive from Berlin to Saxony is the wonder of Bastei. These jagged rocks, towering 200 meters above the Elbe River, were formed over a million years by water erosion. Great efforts are being made in some regions to protect wild animals, such as the North Sea seals, and gray wolves that were almost extinct in the 1990s.
It’s an exciting world out there, and we are grateful that we can see so much. In conclusion, we wish to thank Gloria for providing us with the opportunity to engage in personal conversations during the lunch reception.