Africa Odyssey Walking Safari Guide
Outreach campaign for Africa Odyssey
One of the most exciting ways to see Africa and its ecology up close is on foot, so we wanted to promote their walking safaris with fun graphics that illustrate the many properties of different types of African animal dung.
Each animal was personified according to the ecological role their dung plays.
African elephant – the Deliveroo of the savannah – An elephant may deposit as many as 3,200 seeds a day in their dung, sometimes as much as 65 kilometres away from where they were first eaten. As well as food for other animals, this process is crucial for plant life. Research has shown that the chances of some seeds germinating rises from around 12% if simply dropped on the floor to approximately 80% if first digested by an elephant.
White rhino – the social media junkie – rhino build middens (dedicated poo spots) which they use to leave each other messages about their health and status. Subordinate males can tell if the boss is in town, helping to avoid unnecessary aggressive encounters. Their dung contains chemical markers that change the odour depending on the message and it is the smell that rhino use to translate.
Hippo – the over-sharer – hippos use their fan-shaped tail as a propeller when going about their business in a process known as ‘dung showering’. This is particularly useful for a dominant male looking to remind others in his herd that this is his territory. Research shows that the importance of the dung grows when water levels are low, since less organic matter is diluted and washed away.
Dung beetle – the waste removal specialist – dung beetles break up a midden’s waste material and reduce the available habitat for parasites such as fleas and ticks. By moving the dung balls around, these beetles help to recycle nutrients and aerate soil. They also have a symbiotic relationship with mites that live on them and eat fly larvae.
Termites – Africa’s engineers – in the termite world, poo is literally the glue that helps them build their homes. Studies suggest that the mounds may even function as oases, helping plants to survive drought. And they can be havens for wildlife in Mozambique antelope are often found congregating near a healthy termite mound.
Words by Curious Writer.