Baobab – The Trees of The Spirits

Interesting Read.

Nara - La Saheliènne

A Legend from Africa

In the mystical land Africa grew a beautiful tree called Baobab. Although tall and mighty, the Baobab was not satisfied with what it was and it complained to the Great Spirit who ruled the land, the wild open plains and the animals. The Baobab still wanted to be taller, have blossoms and fruits. At first the Great Spirit ignored the tree, but when the complaining continued the Great Spirit got tired, reached down from the heavens, yanked the tree out of the earth and stuffed it back into the ground with force upside down. All the animals on the great plains noticed this and were reminded of the power and omnipresence of the Great Spirit. After that the Baobab grew only leaves once a year. For nine months of the year it stayed leafless and it seemed like as if its roots are growing into the…

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Livestock-wildlife coexistence tested in Laikipia, Kenya, with on-going drought and conflicts

ILRI Clippings

Masai tending his cattle, wildlife guard monitoring his White rhinoceros

Masai tending his cattle, wildlife guard monitoring his White rhinoceros (photo via Flickr/Alan Harper).

Cooperation is critical for coexistence in Laikipia, but achieving it will require the participation of cattle herders, landowners and the government.

‘The broad plains of Mugie, a huge estate on a high plateau northwest of Mount Kenya, are crisscrossed with cattle trails and the wildlife is mostly gone.

‘The knee-high grass remains, but not for long, manager Josh Perrett said.

‘Tensions between semi-nomadic pastoralists and settled landowners are nothing new, nor is competition between livestock and wildlife, but in Kenya’s central Laikipia highlands they are taking a destructive, sometimes violent turn.

‘Last month, about 30,000 livestock arrived on Mugie, displacing wildlife. The illegal herders—some armed with spears, others with AK-47s—cut through fences, making off with wire and posts. . . .

‘At the 17,600 hectare Suyian ranch, south of Mugie, thatched huts for tourists were burned…

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Kenyan herding families that vaccinate their cattle against disease send more daughters to school—New study

ILRI Clippings


A Maasai woman holds her calf that has just been immunized against East Coast fever (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

‘Could vaccinating cattle get more girls into high school?

‘That’s the intriguing prospect suggested by a new study of Kenyan cattle herding families in the journal Science Advances. But even more significant than the actual results of the study is the fact the researchers would even think to investigate whether there’s a link between cattle vaccination rates and girls’ high school attendance.

‘That kind of thinking is not typical, says study co-author Thomas Marsh, a professor of economics at Washington State University. . . .

‘Raising cattle and other livestock is the primary source of income for millions of poor people across eastern and southern Africa. And prior research has established that when herders vaccinate their cows against, for instance, the tick-borne disease East Coast Fever—the leading killer of…

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Mali workshop trains veterinarians to manage endemic livestock diseases


CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish

Feed the Future Mali Livestock Technology Scaling (MLST) Project: livestock disease management workshopFeedback exercise after a MLTS program training on livestock disease management in Mali (photo credit:ILRI/Michel Dione).

Twenty-seven veterinary officers and animal health workers in Sikasso, Mopti and Timbuktu in Mali have acquired new skills in managing endemic livestock diseases after taking part in a training of trainers workshop led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other partners in the country.

The workshop, a Feed the Future Mali Livestock Technology Scaling (MLTS) program activity, was held 21-30 November 2016 in Koutiala, Mopti. It focused on the management, through vaccination, of livestock diseases such as contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, peste des petits ruminants and bovine and ovine pasteurellosis.

Participants were also trained on the management of internal and external parasites and use of veterinary drugs and laws governing veterinary practice in Mali. Other topics covered in the workshop included hygiene and best practices in milk handling at the farm, and best…

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Livestock opportunities for responsible, inclusive and sustainable business-for-development partnerships

ILRI news

Jimmy Smith says livestock matters are big opportunities for public-private partnerships

Jimmy Smith led an ILRI delegation to the Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (HLM2 GPEDC), which was held in Nairobi, Kenya 28 Nov–2 Dec 2016 (photo credit for this and all pictures in this article: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

This week, Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), led a delegation from ILRI to the Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC HLM2), held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 Nov to 2 Dec 2016. On 30 Nov, Smith participated in a panel discussion highlighting the essential role of business in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and providing guidance for how governments and development partners can support responsible, inclusive and sustainable business.

The following are among Smith’s messages and interventions at the meeting highlighting the big opportunities small-scale livestock enterprises offer the business…

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Integrating gender analysis to understand dual-purpose cattle breeding practices in Nicaragua

CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish

Dual purpose cattle production in mixed farming systems of Nicaragua is predominantly based on permanent grazing of naturalized grasslands, introduced pastures and crop residues. Milk production and animal offtake rates are low.

Information to guide gender responsive interventions to improve livestock production is being generated through a collaborative project by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the National Agrarian University of Nicaragua (UNA), and the University of Natural Resources and life Sciences in Austria (BOKU).

This poster, produced for the Tropentag 2016 conference, shares findings from an evaluation of the impacts of intra-household gender influences on breed choice, productivity and the adoption of breeding technologies in central Nicaragua.

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Badass Chinese sheep quickly evolved adaptations to extreme plateau and desert environments—New study

ILRI news

TibetanSheep_CrienglishNative Chinese sheep breeds, one of which is seen here grazing on the Tibetan Plateau, are serving as a climate change bellwether (photo credit:

To paraphrase Luigi Guarino in his new and lively Science Blog series for the Crop Trust, with food demand estimated to increase by anywhere from 50–70% by 2050 (read Guarino for why the great spread in estimations), and with climate change bearing down upon us, manifested in more unpredictable and extreme climates, crop breeders will have to work faster and smarter, using all the tools at their disposal, to keep the world fed. And they will need all the diversity they can get their hands on. That’s the raw material of crop improvement, Guarino reminds us.

The same goes for livestock improvement, only, unlike the case for crop varieties, we have no similar genebanks storing the diversity of animals that would allow us…

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