The UCT prof who helped save the bluefin tuna

Later this month, Professor Doug Butterworth will be formally honoured by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun for contributing to the sustainable management of the very lucrative bluefin tuna fishery. In 2008, Butterworth received a similar national order from the South African president, after he helped to set the benchmark…

Legs gets an extra (3D printed) leg

A secretary bird called Legs is the first raptor in South Africa to sport a 3D-printed prosthesis. It was designed by some of the South African team members involved in the recent development of the world’s first 3D-printed middle ear bones. Scibraai visited Eagle Encounters Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre  at Spier Wine Estate near Stellenbosch…

Explainer: What’s behind the rabies outbreak in SA?

In the last four months five cases of rabies in humans have been reported in South Africa, and an additional two cases are probable. The country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases warns that steps need to be taken to curb the trend. The Conversation Africa’s health and medicine editor Candice Bailey spoke to the institute’s Jacqueline Weyer…

Whiskers tell what’s on a lion’s menu

World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3 March. This year the spotlight falls on the world’s big cats. New research by South African researchers have shown that the details trapped in a lion’s whiskers provide minute detail about the type of animal that has been on its menu. They were also able to tell at what…

Picking a rhino’s brain

Is a black rhino’s brain similar to that of a white rhino? Not quite, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. They say that the subtle differences seem to be because of the animals’ diet and the size of their respective home ranges. The research was conducted by Adhil Bhagwandin and Paul Manger…

The Case of the Drinking Aardvark

Scientists do not always get their aha moments when they implicitly set out to find one. Serendipity often comes into play, which then warrants further investigation and eventual discovery. Sometimes these discoveries put pay to hearsay, and provide much clearer facts. Such is the Case of the Drinking Aardvark. Prof Graham Kerley of the Centre…

New puff adder behaviour uncovered: it uses two ways to entice its prey

Puff adders display diverse predatory strategies. This shows they have higher cognitive abilities than previously though. This is according to University of the Witwatersrand researchers Xavier Glaudas and Graham Alexander, via The Conversation Africa. Predators use a variety of strategies to increase the odds of capturing prey. An amazing example involves the use of luring behaviours, which are…