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Science
THE STATE OF AFRICA
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Wildlife, the environment and human health in Africa.
Mondays 9.00-9.30pm 24 March to 7 April 2003

Julian Pettifer presents a three part series addressing the environmental and human health issues of Africa and their relationship with the continent's fauna and flora.

African village


Africa is so large you can put the whole of Europe and North America in it and still have room left over.

Africa’s bird species are going extinct50x faster thanbirds in Europe.

In 2050 Africa’s human population will be 3x that of Europe.

Cairo has 9.2 million people in it Lake Victoria is the worlds second largest lake at 27,000 sq miles.

The Sarara is expanding southwards at ½ a mile per month.

The rift Valley, the largest valley in the world, is over 3000 miles long.

Lake Malawi has the largest number of species of fish anywhere on earth (1000 recorded)

4 of the 5 fastest animals live in Africa: Cheetah, Wildebeest, Lion, Thompsons gazelle (all about 50mph)

Over 1000 different languages are spoken in Africa - South Africa has 11

18 of the 23 countries in the world which find it difficult to feed their people are African.

700,000 children die from Malaria, 400,000 from unsanitary birth practices, 2,000,000 from diarrhoea.

Women work on average for 16 hours a day.

AIDS kills 6000 people a day - 30,000,000 people in Africa have HIV -12,000,000 children have lost their parents to AIDS.

The worlds largest hospital is in Soweto
.

Programme 1: Wildlife and Rural Poverty

All the experts say that the only way to deal with the big conservation issues of Africa is to first tackle the massive problem of rural poverty - Africa needs money. In this programme we hear about this absolute need of the African people. Julian visits South Africa, Kenya and Morocco. In South Africa he visits a game lodge in Natal that charges over $1000 per night to stay. For this you get 5 star service and wonderful encounters with iconic African wildlife – and much of the money get’s channelled into the local community to help them build their villages, businesses, schools and hospitals. Julian also sees how a botanist in Morocco has established the first ever botanic garden in North Africa to conserve their most precious wild plants from extinction – a blood bank for the plants whilst the huge environmental issues are tackled by governments.

Listen again  Listen again to Programme 1
.


Programme 2: Wildlife and Community

Julian hears personally from the legendary Richard Leakey that if ivory trading resumes in Kenya the government will direct financial resources away from 'soft' conservation programmes (community building) into arming para-militaries and providing armoured vehicles to protect elephants. Richard Leakey argues that 95% of the tourist revenue in Kenya is from tourists coming to the national parks - and it’s the national parks where poachers hunt down the elephants. In South Africa Julian meets a group of people who legally harvest the SA national flower – the protea family – from the fynbos and sell them to Europe. Much of the money goes into community building and the management of the unique fynbos. Conservation tends to focus on African communities and the threats to elephants and gorillas – but one expert tells Julian that the Lion is in dire straits in Kenya and most probably across the whole continent. The lion is revered by the west but hated by local communities.

Listen again  Listen again to Programme 2
.


Programme 3: Wildlife and Health

Julian hears about the plants of Africa that have true healing properties. One such plant – the cancer bush – seems to help the symptoms of HIV, full blown AIDS and cancer. The cancer bush, like many wild African plants, is being driven to extinction by the threat of aliens from Australia. The Black Wattle, in particular, seems to be taking over the African bush. Julian meets people, all with HIV/AIDS, who use the plants to ease their condition and who have united as a group across South Africa to rid the country of aliens. Julian travels to Malawi and sees how Bilharzia – a hideous parasitic infection – is on the increase because of over fishing in Lake Malawi. This is a disease that afflicts millions. Finally, Julian visits the slums of Nairobi and asks the poor inhabitants what they would like the most – the answer – a job that pays.

Listen again  Listen again to Programme 3
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