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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My indispensable grandpa, by Prince Harry: The young royal pays tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh

By Rebecca English

Prince Harry has said he does not believe the Queen can now carry out her public duties without the Duke of Edinburgh by her side.

In an interview to mark her Diamond Jubilee, the prince pays tribute to his 85-year-old grandmother’s stoicism and sense of duty.

But he makes it clear that none of her achievements would have been possible without the unswerving support of her 90-year-old husband.

‘Regardless of whether my grandfather seems to be doing his own thing, sort of wandering off like a fish down the river, the fact that he’s there – personally, I don’t think that she could do it without him, especially when they’re both at this age,’ he says.

Harry’s astute comments on the strength of the couple’s remarkable 64-year marriage are all the more poignant as they were made before 90-year-old Prince Philip’s heart scare over Christmas.

After developing severe chest pains, he was admitted to hospital where a stent was fitted to clear a blocked coronary artery.

He spent four nights under observation and has since been recuperating at Sandringham, his wife’s Norfolk estate, as well as carrying out a limited number of public engagements.

Harry’s remark was made in an interview with broadcaster Andrew Marr for the documentary Diamond Queen, to be shown on BBC1 on Monday, which is the 60th anniversary of the death of George VI and his daughter’s accession to the throne.

Writing about the interview in the latest edition of the Radio Times magazine, Marr also reveals the 27-year-old prince makes clear the sovereign has no intention of slowing down.

He writes: ‘Prince Harry reflects on her ability to turn up, still smiling, at places she might not want to be: ‘These are the things that, at her age, she shouldn’t be doing, yet she’s carrying on and doing them’.”

Family: The Duke of Edinburgh talks to Prince Harry, right, and his brother, the now Duke of Cambridge. The Prince has paid tribute to his 90-year-old grandfather

Unswerving support: In an interview to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Prince Harry paid tribute to the strength of his grandparents' remarkable 64-year marriage

Several other senior royals also offer opinions on the Queen and her reign, including future heir Prince William who revealed that despite being one of the most famous women in the world, the Queen doesn’t ‘care for celebrity’.

‘I think she doesn’t care for celebrity....and she really minds about having privacy in general. And I think it’s very important to be able to retreat inside and be able to collect one’s thoughts and collect your ideas...and then to move forwards.

‘[it is] a very tricky line to draw between private and public and duty and I think she’s carved her own way completely. She’s not had a blueprint.’

Other contributions are more light-hearted including that of Princess Anne who jokes about the fact that she and her mother are still talking after all these years.

Several of the monarch’s former Prime Ministers are also interviewed, including Tony Blair who scotches long-held rumours that his office wrote her famous televised address following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, which began with the immortal line ‘As your Queen and as a grandmother’.

‘Those words and that language were her own.....absolutely not written by New Labour no - and the very personal touch was actually hers,’ he says.

He added: ‘She keeps her ear very much to the ground. ...though conventionally it’s supposed to be prime minutes briefing the Queen, I found it a very genuine exchange....she had a very clear and shrewd sense of where people would be on political issues.

‘There was nobody who has a better idea of a crisis, what it’s like, how it is, and how it also doesn’t go on forever.

‘She was prepared within the context of the audience to be very frank and open and informative.’

David Cameron, the Queen’s 12th Prime Minster, told Mr Marr: ‘She’s seen and heard it all, but I think she wants to be in a position where she knows everything that’s going on… she asks you well-informed and brilliant questions that make you think about the things you’re doing.” So did that make him do his job better?

‘I think you reveal both to her, but also to yourself, your deepest thinking and deepest worries… and sometimes that can really help you reach the answers.’

■ Andrew Marr’s full article is in today’s Radio Times.


Hot-headed stag gets the ultimate cold shower as he plummets down a waterfall protecting his harem of females

Rescuers winch animal to safety after he gets stranded in freezing river

By Kerry Mcqueeney

A rescuer risks his life by lying on the ice as he attaches the winch rope to the stag

When this hot-headed stag tried to protect his harem of females in the Austrian Alps, he didn't bank on getting the ultimate cold shower treatment.

The beast was patrolling the banks of a river when he took a tumble and fell down a waterfall.

Stranded and exhausted, the animal was eventually spotted by skiers close to the mountain resort of Dienten am Hochkonig.

Rescue operation: Fire fighters were among those who helped winch the stag from the foot of the waterfall

Trapped: The stag had been protecting his harem when he fell down the waterfall

Freezing temperatures: Mountain rescue experts, firemen, and vets helped winch the stag to safety

A rescue operation was then mounted to get the stag back up to the riverbank - and back to his harem of females.

One rescue worker said: 'He'd been patrolling his territory and became trapped in the river at the top of the waterfall. Then he broke free only to fall to the bottom of the waterfall.

'He was very tired but not badly hurt.'

Mountain rescue experts, firemen, and vets helped winch the stag to safety to prevent him from dying of exposure.

A fire fighter added: 'He was very cold and a bit sorry for himself but will soon be back to his old self.'

Safe and sound: The stag was cold and 'a bit sorry for himself' but is expected to make a full recovery

Precarious: The stag had been patrolling his territory only to fall to the bottom of the waterfall


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Don't hurt my baby! Pregnant orang-utan protectively hugs her daughter as ruthless Borneo bounty hunters move in for the kill

-Pair saved at last minute by Brit-based animal rescue group
-Palm oil firms trying to clear plantations said to be offering £70 for each orang-utan killed on the Borneo palm oil plantations

By Richard Shears

As bounty hunters with bush knives entrapped them in a circle and moved in for the kill, the only thing this mother orang-utan could think to do was to wrap a giant protective arm around her daughter.

The pair seemed to be facing a certain death as a gang of hunters surrounded them in Borneo, keen to cash in on the palm oil plantations' bid to be rideof the animals.

But, happily, a team from the British-based international animal rescue group Four Paws arrived in time to stop the slaughter and saved their lives.

The pregnant mother and daughter were captured and moved to a remote and safe area of the rainforest and released back into the wild - but not before the mother was equipped with a radio device so she and her young can be tracked to ensure they remain safe.

'Our arrival could not have been more timely,' said Dr Signe Preuschoft, a Four Paws primate expert.

Mother and daughter were captured and moved to a remote and safe area of the rainforest and released back into the wild - but not before the mother was equipped with a radio device so she and her young can be tracked to ensure they remain safe.

'Our arrival could not have been more timely,' said Dr Signe Preuschoft, a Four Paws primate expert.

'A few minutes later and the orang-utans could have been dead.

'We discovered a gang of young men surrounding them and both victims were clearly petrified.

'The gang meanwhile were jubilant in anticipation of their rewards for catching and killing the animals. These massacres must not be allowed to continue.'

Saved: 'Our arrival could not have been more timely. A few minutes later and the orang-utans could have been dead' said Dr Signe Preuschoft, a Four Paws primate expert

Rescue: When the animal rescue group found the 'clearly petrified' mother and baby they discovered a gang of young men who were looking to cash in on the palm oil companies' offer of £70 per orang-utan

Before the rescue, a Four Paws team had scoured the area on the Indonesian side of Borneo, which is shared with Malaysia, but found no other orang-utans which had survived an earlier slaughter.

Deforestation has dramatically reduced their habitat and their numbers have dropped from 250,000 a few decades ago to only 50,000 in the wild.

And while the loss of their habitat by logging companies has created a major threat to their existence, a more brutal form of reducing their numbers has emerged in recent years - direct slaughter.

Palm oil is used in hundreds of products from chocolate to oven chips, but the demand for buying it at a low price has resulted in significant deforestation as habitats are being destroyed to make way for plantations.

Some palm oil companies see orang-utans as pests, a threat to their lucrative business, and have placed a bounty on their heads.

Fresh start: The apes were released back to rapidly decreasing wilderness elsewhere in Indonesia by the charity group

Everything must go: The plantations, which are carving great swathes through south-east asia as they cut down trees to farm palm oil for the West, view the orang-utans as a pest

Company executives are reported to be offering up to £70 to employees for each orang-utan killed on the palm oil plantations.

While such stories were at first denied, proof of the slaughter emerged last September when graves and bones were found by investigators.

'Killing of orang-utans is illegal in Indonesia but the law is lacking enforcement,' said a British Four Paws spokesman.

'Before November last year only two low-level arrests had ever been made.

'But in the last two months 10 more arrests have taken place including the arrest of the senior manager of the plantation where the worst graves have been found.'

In an equally tragic scenario, babies left alive after adult orang-utans have been slaughtered have been put up for sale in the pet trade by hunters.

When traumatised babies are found by Four Paws and other animal rescue teams they are taken to a sanctuary and taught skills they will need in order to return to the wild.


Pregnant young woman suffers horrific injuries as leopard attacks her in middle of bustling city

Third such incident in Guwahati, western India, in recent weeks


A pregnant woman suffered serious injuries after being badly mauled by a leopard in India - the third such attack there in as many weeks.

The big cat clamped its jaws around Akila Bibi's head and arms, leaving her with deep wounds to her scalp, after it when it strayed into the largest city the country's north-east Assam state.

The woman, who is in her early twenties, is currently recovering in hospital. Her unborn child, due in three months, was unharmed by the ordeal.

Savaged: Akila Bibi, who is in her 20s, is being treated for serious injuries after being attacked by a leopard in Guwahati

Her husband, labourer Abid Ali, said his wife lost a lot of blood and was unconscious.

He said: ‘The back of her scalp was badly mauled.’

The leopard caused panic when it wandered into a densely populated residential neighbourhood in Guwahati.

Caged: The fully grown leopard is now kept safely at Assam state Zoo following capture after it had mauled two people in Lalunggaon in Lakhara area of Guwahati.

The wild cat also pounced on a 20-year-old man during the same attack.
Moziz Haq suffered head injuries.

Speaking from his hospital bed, he told AFP news agency: ‘It was a thumping, slap-like feeling and I fell on the ground with blood splattered all over me’.

The animal was later tranquilised by forest officials and taken to a city zoo.

Mauled: Mafij Ali, 21, sustained deep wounds during the third attack in Guwahati, western India, this month

It was the third leopard attack in Guwahati this month.

In a gruesome incident captured on camera, three people were injured and one killed by a leopard on January 7. Three people were hurt in another attack last week.

Thousands of people are attacked by wild animals in India each year, with tigers, leopards, elephants and snakes the most dangerous.

Conservationists say an increasing number of wild animals are appearing in towns and cities because of urban and industrial encroachment on their natural habitat.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Call of the wild: How a Co-op security guard left Manchester, slipped on a loincloth and became Tarzan, King of the Jungle

He used to be a security guard at a Co-op food store in Manchester but now DeWet Du Toit IS Tarzan.

The 24-year-old hung up his uniform and slipped into a leopardskin loin cloth to swing through the trees just like the jungle hero he idolises.

Obsessed by the celluloid wildman, DeWet spends his days swinging through the African jungle.


Wildman: Tarzan fan DeWet Du Toit spends his days swinging through the African jungle and sleeping in the wild at night.

He can talk to the animals? Unemployed DeWet Du Toit strokes a cheetah as he lives the dream of being just like his hero Tarzan

And just like the fictional character the 24-year-old uses vines and tree branches to propel himself through the undergrowth while bellowing Tarzan’s famous jungle cry.

Currently single, he is looking for his perfect Jane to keep him company on those long nights in the bush.

The jobless bodybuilder first became captivated by the fictional jungle warrior who lived with his monkey friend Cheetah in the original movies, when he lived in Namibia and his father was a Tarzan comic and book collector.

Jungle friends: The 24-year-old gave up his job as a security guard in Manchester to live like Tarzan

Hold tight: The bodybuilder gets to grip with a slippery customer on one of his three days a week as Tarzan

DeWet now spends all his time training his body and senses to adapt to the call of the wild.

And he spends three days a week swinging on vines, swimming across rivers and running up mountains near his home in George, South Africa, where when he is not in character he lives with his parents Ludolf and Ida, both 53, and his twin brother Rudolph.

His training also includes dodging snakes and sleeping trees.

Spot the difference: DeWet has modelled himself on the original movie Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, right.

The farmer's son said: 'I’m like Tarzan in so many ways. My best friend is an elephant called Shaka, and I spend more time with monkeys, zebras and crocodiles than I do with people.

'People might say I’m crazy, but I know this is what I was born to do.'

He explained: 'I make a platform in a tree to keep away from prowling leopards and snakes on the ground.

'It does get lonely - I would love to find a Jane to help me pass the time.'

Blademan: DeWet strikes a survival pose as he lives out his dream of becoming Tarzan in South Africa

But he added: 'I’m not the kind of guy who loves partying, I certainly never get drunk.

'I prefer to eat the fruits and berries that I find in the jungle. I also know what insects to eat.

'It would take a special kind of girl that could join me in the jungle.'

Help at hand: The would-be Tarzan is filmed getting on to an elephant. In the movies Johhny Weissmuller leapt easily onto Tantor, his trusted elephant companion, in the original movies.

Hitching a ride: DeWet sits atop an elephant as he recreates the role of Tarzan made famous by the original Hollywood star, Johhny Weissmuller

When he is not running through the undergrowth DeWet helps his dad Ludolf put up fences on his ranch.

In 2006 DeWet and his twin travelled to the UK where he worked as a security guard and delivery driver for one year.

But for now DeWet has his sights set on being the star of the next Hollywood Tarzan movie

Looking for Jane: Unemployed DeWet spends three days a week in the jungle when he is not living with his parents and brother and says he is looking for the right girl to share long nights in the wild

He said: 'I started training in 2007 and since then I have made big strides.

'Recently I was in contact with some guys from the USA about going over to a Tarzan convention.

'Everyone round here is talking about it. People are very excited - they didn’t think I was going to make it.'

Animal magic: A cheetah stands quietly as DeWet strokes the animal


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The grandma who's a mum again at 53... despite the fact she was still taking the Pill just in case

-'I love looking after my granddaughters - I never thought that I would be looking after another baby of my own'
-Odds of conceiving naturally and giving birth to healthy baby at 53 same as winning the lottery

By James Tozer and Lucy Laing

At the age of 53, Debbie Hughes imagined the only babies she would be looking after would be her granddaughters.

Instead, despite taking the contraceptive Pill, she has become one of Britain's oldest ever naturally conceiving mothers – giving birth to a healthy baby boy named Kyle.

Surprise delivery: Debbie Hughes with her new son Kyle who came despite his mother taking the pill

Miss Hughes took a pregnancy test after her family teased her about putting on weight, expecting the notion that she was having another child to be swiftly ruled out. But after putting on her reading glasses to decipher the result, the astonishing news began to sink in.

Now she is nursing the unexpected addition to her family, who is 26 years younger than his elder brother.

As fertility experts described her achievement as 'remarkable', Miss Hughes was yesterday relearning the ropes of motherhood.

'I'd already given birth to three children, and thought that those days were definitely over,' she said. 'I was on the contraceptive Pill just to make sure, but I never imagined I could ever have fallen pregnant at my age.

'I'm a grandmother and I love looking after my granddaughters – I never thought that I would be looking after another baby of my own.'

Miss Hughes, a jewellery assistant, who lives with her partner Paul Clarke, 45, a heavy goods vehicle driver, wasn't planning any additions to her family.

Debbie and her daughter, Hayley, in 1980 (above) and in 1997 (below). Hayley tragically died a week before her 18th birthday

She already has two sons Mark, 26, and Brandon, 11. Her daughter Hayley died tragically just a week before her 18th birthday. She is also grandmother to Mark's daughters – Lydia, two, and Nicole, three.

Her suspicions began last March, by which time she was already five months' pregnant.

'Mark noticed my stomach was slightly protruding and he started teasing me that I was putting on a bit of weight,' she said. 'He joked that I could be pregnant, which seemed impossible, as I was still having my periods.

'I thought I was throwing my money away doing a test as I couldn't possibly be pregnant, but when it showed positive I couldn't believe it.

'I'd had to put my reading glasses on to read the result, and I was so incredibly shocked. I went out and bought another three tests to make sure.'

A decade apart: Debbie Hughes with son Kyle today (left) and son Brandon in 2001 (right)

After informing her GP – who 'nearly fell off his chair' – she was booked to see a midwife. Despite being worried about her age, Miss Hughes, of Daventry in Northamptonshire, had a textbook pregnancy, with only a small amount of morning sickness in the first few months.

She said: 'I had been so worried because of my age about whether I was even going to be able to carry the pregnancy to full term because I knew there was a high chance of me losing the baby or giving birth prematurely. But I felt incredibly healthy all the way through.'

She went into labour last June and gave birth naturally to Kyle at Northampton General Hospital, weighing 7lb 11lb.

Pictured with her partner, Paul Clarke, she said her GP 'nearly fell of his chair' when he found out she was pregnant

Despite more than a decade's gap, the magic of motherhood didn't take long to rediscover. She said: 'It was amazing to hold him in my arms afterwards, and I felt the same rush of love that I had felt with my other children.

'I do get more tired than I did before, especially getting up to do the night feeds. But I do love being a mum again.'

Dawn Brooke, from Guernsey, became the world's oldest mother through natural conception at the age of 59, in 1997.

Mark Sedler, a consultant gynaecologist at CARE Fertility, said: 'Falling pregnant at this age without any form of fertility treatment and for the baby to be born healthy and well is remarkable.

'The odds are about the same as winning the lottery.'


He wants a box at Man United, she wants a new carpet for the landing! Builder and his wife who won £41MILLION Euro lotto

-Gareth and Catherine Bull HAVEN'T told their two sons, aged nine and 10
-Mr Bull bought winning ticket on a whim when rain stopped him working
-They vow to support breast cancer charities after Mrs Bull's mother was struck down by the disease five years ago

By Rob Cooper

Lottery joy: Gareth and Catherine Bull revealed today they haven't yet told their two sons that they scooped almost £41million on the Euromillions last Friday

A self-employed builder and his wife were celebrating today after scooping a bank account-busting £41m EuroMillions win - and they revealed while he plans to buy a box at Manchester United she will be happy splashing out on a new landing carpet.

Gareth and Catherine Bull, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, told how they bought the ticket on a whim before last Friday's draw - when rain stopped him from working.

Mrs Bull, 35, said she discovered they were multi-millionaires when her husband walked into the bedroom 'white as a sheet' with the ticket 'shaking in his hand' on Saturday morning.

But the couple then calmly put the win to the back of their minds and took their two sons, aged nine and 10, to their football matches as normal.

They said they have not yet told their sons about the win but would do later after they finish school.

They were presented with a winning cheque for £40,627,241 at a press conference in Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, today.

The £41million win makes them as wealthy as Kylie Minogue, Mick Hucknall and Pete Townshend, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

Huge win: Gareth and Catherine Bull scooped almost £41million on the EuroMillions last Friday

Sealed with a kiss: Mr and Mrs Bull, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, are presented with their winner's cheque today

However, their huge prize is only the seventh-biggest lottery prize given out in Britain.

Mr Bull, 40, said: 'All of this has happened at a crazy fast speed since Saturday and it is hard to keep up. We have our dream home which we built from scratch and it is impossible to think about what we are going to do next yet.

'We have only told a few people so far so it will be exciting to sit down together as a family and work out plans for the future.'

Mr Bull said top of his shopping list was a box at Old Trafford so he could watch Manchester United - and he also wants to buy a Range Rover Sport, a villa somewhere and pay for a trip to Disney in Florida for the children.

Where they live now: Mrs Bull said she already has her dream home and her ambitions only stretch as far as buying a new carpet after they scooped almost £41million

Joy: Mr and Mrs Bull have pledged to support breast cancer charities with their winnings after her mother was hit by the disease five years ago

Toasting their success: The first thing Mr and Mrs Bull bought was an iPad - but said they have been so busy they have not even switched it on

Mrs Bull, who works in health insurance, said her ambitions only stretched as far as buying a new landing carpet and getting her hair done more than twice a year.

Together they have vowed to support breast cancer charities after Mrs Bull's mother was hit by the disease five years ago. She has since made a full recovery.

Mr Bull bought the Lucky Dip ticket last week from a shop near where he was working when rain stopped him doing a building job.

When he checked his lottery ticket last Saturday morning he said it took a while to dawn on him that they had won the jackpot.

Mrs Bull said: 'He came into the bedroom as white as a sheet, the ticket was shaking in his hand and I knew that something wasn't right. When he tried to explain that he thought we'd won I thought he was pulling my leg.

'I was in the middle of straightening my hair and told him I wasn't very happy with being teased.'

Mrs Bull said that even though their winning numbers were shown on TV she had to go online to double check.

She added: 'My head was in bits and I thought from the numbers matched we had won £4,000, then I thought it was £40,000 - but the zeros and commas were all in the wrong place and we couldn't work it out.

'At one point we thought it was as much as £4million but we couldn't see straight and it didn't seem real.'

Asked if they thought the win would change them, Mrs Bull said: 'I hope not. It can't. Everything has to change then so no, it can't.'

They said they simply hoped the win would help them continue being healthy and happy.
The first thing they bought was an iPad - but said they have been so busy they have not even switched it on.

Winners: Mr Bull, 40, bought the ticket because he couldn't carry out a building job because it was raining


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We'll never forget you: Elephants say a sad farewell to baby who died of a heart defect

By Daily Mail Reporter

A herd of grieving elephants gathers round the lifeless body of a little calf after she died of a heart defect.

Three-month-old Lola was due to receive groundbreaking surgery for her condition but passed away during a preliminary scan.

Keepers at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo decided to return her body to the enclosure so mother Panang, 22, could say her goodbyes in peace.

Scroll down to see a video of Lola playing in the zoo...

Goodbye little one: An adult elephant tenderly nuzzles the lifeless body of baby Lola at Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany. The three-months-old calf was due for an operation on her defective heart but sadly died during a preliminary scan

Afterwards the rest of the herd gently nuzzled Lola's body with their trunks before taking their leave of her.

Zoo director and veterinarian Dr Andreas Knieriem explained how baby Lola died after three days of treatment by experts.

'Considering the pathology, it has to be said it's a miracle that she lived as long as she did," said Dr. Knieriem.

'Her arteries were so blocked that blood couldn't flow through her lungs anymore.'

Condition: Lola was due to undergo surgery at the Grosshadern Clinic, but died during a preliminary scan

Heartbreaking: Lola's arteries were so blocked that blood couldn't flow through her lungs

Elephants are widely believed to mourn the deaths of members of their herd, and even pay homage to long-dead elephants.

A 2005 study in the UK found the creatures displayed traits similar to humans and, coming across the remains of an elephant, would gently touch the skull and tusks with their trunks and feet.

They are also believed to display a ritual around death, with several elephants travelling to visit a dead body and touching the corpse with their trunks.

Some elephants have been seen to weep and others make sounds associated with grief as they cover the body with leaves and branches before keeping a silent vigil.

Loss: Lola, pictured enjoying some carrots in her enclosure at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, was three months old when she died


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is this really fun for all the family? The giraffe hunters who pay £10,000 to shoot the gentle giants with guns and bows for sport

By Pamela Owen

The gentle giants are tracked down and killed so tourists can take home pictures showing they have killed the animals

Tourist trophy hunters are paying thousands of pounds to go and shoot giraffes with high-powered guns and bows.

The gentle giants are loved around the world for their comical appearance and gentle nature.

Just like character 'Melman' played by Friend's-star David Schwimmer in Disney's Madagascar, they are a hit with kids who love their long necks and eyelashes.

But shocking images show how scores of big-spending men and women - and even families - travel from across the globe, some even from Britain, to kill them for sport.

Entire families go on the hunts and appear to relish having their pictures taken with the dead giraffe

Hunters pay up to a whopping £10,000 for the the chance to slay them - preferring bulls because they are the biggest.

Safari clubs and game reserves ask for a £1,500 trophy fee, and then add on rates for guides and trackers costing around £1,000 per day.

The hunts typically last three-to-five days and see tourists using .458 Winchester Magnum rifles to kill the animals.

With most hunters flying to Africa from their homes in Europe or America, the costs stretch into five figures.

The hunting continues even though numbers of the animals are plummeting.

But the world's leading giraffe expert said populations in the countries where it is legal - South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe - can cope with the killings.

The latest statistic show the number of giraffes in the world have nearly halved since 1988 from over 140,000 to less than 80,000.

Dr. Julian Fennessy produced the report for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Another recent IUCN report suggests the giraffe may already need to be listed as a threatened species - because some populations are being decimated in places like West Africa and DR Congo.

They are already thought to be extinct in Angola, Mali and Nigeria.

The animals are near extinction and are no longer found in countries like Nigeria, Mali and Angola

Tourist hunters often take the skin home or get taxidermists to mount the heads so they can be taken home as trophies

Dr. Fennessy also founded Giraffe Conservation Foundation - the only dedicated giraffe conservation group in the world.

He said: 'I'm not interested in hunting giraffe, but hunters obviously get a kick out of it like others enjoy a game of squash or cooking. It's a complicated argument. There are lots of factors.

'The loss of habitat and breaking up of populations by man-made constructions are the main factors threatening their numbers.

'In the countries where you can hunt legally, the populations are increasing but across Africa the overall numbers are dropping alarmingly.

'It shows that if properly managed with proper policy and controls, the hunting can be sustainable.'

In some African countries legal hunting can actually help local communities by bringing in money and making meat available to them.

'Many hunting staff like guides, trackers and skinners who assist the tourists are paid in meat from the kills,' added Dr. Fennessy.

'If the tourist has paid the fee for the trophy, the carcass is theirs. Some just like to have photo taken next to the dead giraffe, but others pay taxidermists to mount the head a neck so they can take them home as a souvenir.

'Or they might want to take the skin home.'

The hunts typically last three-to-five days and sees tourists using .458 Winchester Magnum rifles to kill the animals

It is legal to hunt the giraffes in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia - where they have greater numbers of giraffes

He added: 'Some hunters come from Britain but the big majority are from North America, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia.

'The worst part of trophy hunting is the fact that the hunters can miss their target and fail to kill the giraffe quickly.

'If they don't hit the right spot then it can lead to suffering for the animal.

'They might have a 'second gun' in the party whose job it is to take the animal down quickly if the tourist misses.

'But hunting guides need to asses the ability of the hunter and stop the hunt if they do not have the skills to do it humanely.'

Another factors decimating the giraffe population is poaching.

'Poaching is illegal and is not licensed,' said Dr. Fennessy.

'They set wire snares at giraffe-height in the trees to snare their necks, or to trap their feet and kill them when they return.

'It leads to huge suffering for the animals, sometimes for days.'

To help the Giraffe Conservation Foundation click here visit http://www.giraffeconservation.org/


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