Once upon a time in Japan, there was a Sada Abe

About the geisha who killed her lover and became a celebrity

Reading time 7 minutes

In 1905, the seventh child was born into the family of Shigeyoshi and Katsu Abe – a girl named Sada. As the youngest daughter, Sada was surrounded by attention and care from her parents, who indulged her every whim. The girl learned to play the shamisen1 in order to be like her idols – charming geishas.

The main commandment of a geisha is to endlessly please a man without losing dignity.
The main commandment of a geisha is to endlessly please a man without losing dignity.

However, when Sada was 15 years old, she was raped at a friend’s house. It turned her whole life upside down. Sada turned into an uncontrollable teenager: she did not obey her parents, skipped school, she had many sexual relationships. As punishment, the girl was sent to the Yokohama geisha school in 1922. At that time, many Japanese families did this to cleanse themselves of shame and try to guide their daughters on the right path.

Images from the film "Empire of the Senses", based on the biography of Sada Abe
Images from the film “Empire of the Senses”, based on the biography of Sada Abe

At the geisha school, girls are taught from early childhood, so 15-year-old Sada could no longer become a real geisha. Instead, she worked as a matigeisha, that is, a pseudo-geisha who provided sexual services. She was engaged in this activity for five years until she fell ill with syphilis. Then Sada became a licensed prostitute.

Sada Abe made several attempts to escape from the brothel where she was
Sada Abe made several attempts to escape from the brothel where she was

Until 1934, the girl worked in several brothels until she was arrested for lack of a license. Sada lost her when she stole money from a client. In prison, she met a friend of the brothel owner, Kinnosuke Kasahara, who helped to free her. Kinnosuke took a liking to Sada, and they became lovers. Sada lived in a house bought by Kasahara and lived on the money he gave her. However, the man did not want to leave his family and marry Abe. Soon the lovers parted. Sada recalled:

“He didn’t love me and treated me like an animal. He was one of those scum who, after parting, begged me to return.”

After breaking up with Kasahara, Sada moved to Nagoya, where she met Professor Goro Omiya. A romance began between them, and on the advice of her lover, Sada got a job as a waitress at the Yoshida-ya restaurant in order to gain experience and open her own business in the future. The Yoshida-ya restaurant was owned by Kichizo Ishida. Passion broke out between the worker and the boss. The lovers spent whole days together.

“It is even difficult to explain what was so attractive in Isis. But it was absolutely impossible to say anything bad about him, about how he looked, what kind of lover he was, how he expressed his feelings. I have never met such a sexy man before,” Sada said.

However, like Kasahara, Ishide did not want to part with his wife and children. Sade had to part with her beloved, and she fell into a deep depression. At this time, Abe attended one performance in which a geisha threatened her lover with a knife. Sada remembered this episode and performed this trick at the next meeting with Ishida. Kitizo liked it. During the next dates, Sada even strangled Kitizo, as it turned him on.

Sada Abe after her arrest
Sada Abe after her arrest

On May 18, 1936, Sada strangled Kitizo and lay next to his corpse for several hours. She then cut off his genitals, wrapped them in newspaper, and fled.

“I couldn’t take his body or head with me. I wanted to take a piece of his body that aroused the most vivid memories,” Sada will later tell the police.

The windows of the hotel where the murder took place
The windows of the hotel where the murder took place

On May 19, 1936, Sada was arrested by the police, and on November 20 of the same year, the court sentenced her to 6 years in prison. In November 1940, she was released early due to a general amnesty. Sada changed her name, and nothing is known about her further fate. Based on police interrogations and inquiries, they wrote a book that became a bestseller. The story of Sada Abe became a popular subject for books, plays, and films over the following decades and even to this day. In 1946, women in Japan gained the right to vote. The new climate in the country turned Sada into a victim of male exploitation. The fury of the woman and her cruelty were regarded as an attempt to resist the harsh totalitarian regime.

The History of The “Lofi Girl”

How a continuous cult stream appeared on YouTube with an “eternal” student

Reading time 8 minutes

On March 18, 2015 a Paris student Dmitry created a YouTube channel called “Chilled Cow”. About two years later, on February 25, 2017 the channel launched its first live broadcast with music in the Lo-fi genre, the background being an excerpt from the anime “Whisper of the Heart” , in which the main character is studying. The channel was starting to gain popularity and with it came increasing copyright claims due to the use of an animated clip by Studio Ghibli. In 2018 the channel was blocked and with that, the stream stopped.

Fragment from the anime "Whisper of the Heart" used in the broadcast
Fragment from the anime “Whisper of the Heart” used in the broadcast

It seems to be a short history of an unremarkable channel. The live broadcast option appeared on YouTube in 2011 and by 2017 there were several dozen channels broadcasting music of different genres. The Chilled Cow is likely to be just one example of a media failure.

However, the key word here is indeed “seems”. Now the channel has more than 11 million subscribers and 1.3 billion views: its name is heard by almost all pupils and students. Let’s remember together how “Chilled Cow” turned into a cultural phenomenon called “Lofi Girl” and where the girl with endless homework came from.

In 2018, the channel was blocked for copyright infringement. Not wanting to give up the idea of ​​a musical line, channel creator Dmitry decided to create his own heroine in a similar classic anime style and began to look for an artist. In September 2018, Dmitry’s announcement to the Emil Kohl School of Animation was responded to by Colombian artist Juan Pablo Machado. He was in his senior year when he received an offer to draw a new character for a musical genre.

Among Machado’s many sketches, one is particularly notable. This is how Jade came about (yes, lo-fi student with a name). She sat at her desk, flipping through the pages of her notebook and occasionally glancing out the window as soft lo-fi music played in the background. Notably, the Jade room window overlooks the historic center of Lyon, the city in France where Juan Machado spent five years studying the art of animation. A small nod to Alma Mater, thanks in large part to the famous student appearing online. And every few hours, the broadcast changes the time of day, which creates a sense of immersion for channel viewers. Especially those who live in the European time zone.

Machado himself has more than once admitted that he did not expect the 80-second animated film to be so successful. In early 2020, he was even contacted by a representative of a museum in Seoul who wanted to make the illustration part of a permanent exhibition.

Not only the Korean museum recognizes the cultural significance of “Lofi Girl”. From a background character for music programs, Jade has become a virtual icon of the digital space. Several dozen channels with a similar musical orientation began to feature their own characters, and fans of the original heroine kept coming up with drawings with a rethink of Jade’s image. Thereby, for instance, in 2020 artists from all over the world decided to paint the eternal student in the reality of their country.

"Lofi Girl" from Brazil / credits: @LeticiaEfing
“Lofi Girl” from Brazil / credits: @LeticiaEfing
"Lofi Girl" from Greece / credits: @arjunks
“Lofi Girl” from Greece / credits: @arjunks



References to “Lofi Girl” can even be found in popular culture. In the Steven Universe animated series: Future, one of the heroines – Connie – is depicted sitting in the identical “Lofi Girl” pose. And the game’s official YouTube channel World of Warcraft published a Jade-themed parody as part of a campaign promoting the Shadowlands add-on.

The heroine of the cartoon "Steven Universe" - above, Jade - below
The heroine of the cartoon “Steven Universe” – above, Jade – below

Jade has become a loyal companion and role model for those who are drawn to the flow while working or studying. She is concentrated, undistracted and constantly immersed in her studies. The stream goes on around the clock and is uninterrupted, so that anyone can connect to the “study session” with a student who never looks up from her notes. Many users admitted that the virtual girl helped them a lot to survive lonely evenings spent studying textbooks and even motivated them to spend more time on homework.

On February 22, 2020, an unexpected and shocking event happened to Lofi Girl fans: YouTube moderators blocked the channel with the broadcast for “violating the rules of the service.” And although after a couple of hours the platform apologized and restored the channel, the broadcast had to be restarted. The abrupt end of the stream was recorded, creating the longest video in YouTube history at 13,165 hours, or 548 days of non-stop streaming. Users calculated that during all this time of continuous study, Jade would have already managed to get several higher educations and learn seven of the most difficult languages ​​​​of the world (on average, it takes 1750 hours to reach the level of fluent communication).

Many users have grown and learned with the anime girl, the audience has changed with each other, and Jade has always remained the same, opening up more and more new notes. Maybe one day she’ll be able to relax, like all those chilled out on her cozy lo-fi playlist.


Turnips instead of heads

How did vegetables become the main attribute of Halloween?

Reading time 5 minutes

Saints’ Day Eve, better known as Halloween, is celebrated on the night of October 31 to November 1 in many countries around the world. Originally a pagan Celtic end-of-summer holiday, it became part of popular culture in the late 19th century when it spread across America. In Russia Halloween came in the 90’s, and although according to surveys only 3% of Russians celebrate it, many people have heard of Halloween in one form or another and are familiar with the traditions that accompany the holiday. In October, specialized decorations appear in shops and themed movies are in theaters.

A mask made for Halloween (Source: museum.ie)
A mask made for Halloween (Source: museum.ie)

One of the symbols of Halloween is the so-called «Jack lanterns» – lanterns carved from a pumpkin that resemble heads with scary faces. According to Irish legend, where the tradition originated, Miserly Jack was able to trick the devil twice by taking his word not to claim his soul after his death. But when Jack died, Heaven refused to accept him, and the Devil, because of his grudge and the promise he made, kept him from Hell, sending Jack wandering the earth with a smoldering fire that he had put into a carved gourd.

Turnip lantern (Source: fatherly.com)
Turnip lantern (Source: fatherly.com)

The legend served not only as an educational tale, but also helped explain the «wandering lights», a rare natural phenomenon observed on marshes and cemeteries at night. The flickering light, produced by the inflammation of gases from decomposing organic matter, often led travelers astray – if they started to follow it, they might fall into the mire and drown. The inhabitants of the time believed it to be the work of Stingy Jack, a lost soul trapped between two worlds.

Wandering lights (Source: lensculture)
Wandering lights (Source: lensculture)

To ward off Jack and other evil spirits entering the land on Halloween night, people began carving their own lanterns, and more often used large turnips, potatoes, radishes and beetroot instead of pumpkins. «Metal lanterns were quite expensive, so people carved root vegetables, – explains Nathan Mannion, senior curator at the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin. – Over time, people began to carve faces and drawings so that light could pass through the holes without extinguishing the charcoal».

Although the tradition became widely known thanks to Halloween, Celts from northern Europe have been using round vegetables and fruit to represent human faces since pre-Christian times. There is speculation that this symbolized the severed heads of enemies appearing as spoils of war.

An exhibition of Halloween memorabilia at the National Museum of Ireland (Source: catholicphilly.com)
An exhibition of Halloween memorabilia at the National Museum of Ireland (Source: catholicphilly.com)

The carving of lanterns from root crops is only one aspect of the All Saints’ Eve celebrations which date back to ancient times, but many customs have been lost. Celtic priests built huge bonfires, practiced divination rituals and performed rites to keep evil spirits at bay – but because they kept no written records, little is known about these practices.


«Берлинский пациент» умер от рака

История первого в мире человека, победившего ВИЧ

Reading time 2 minutes

Тимоти Рэй Браун, известный как «Берлинский пациент», умер 29 сентября после продолжительной борьбы с лейкозом. Ему было 54. Об этом сообщил его партнер на странице в Фейсбуке.

Тимоти Браун учился в университете Берлина, когда врачи поставили мужчине диагноз ВИЧ. Отсюда и пошло прозвище «Берлинский пациент». Затем у Брауна обнаружили лейкоз — заболевание кроветворной системы. Геро Хюттер, лечащий врач Тимоти, предложил пересадить пациенту костный мозг донора с иммунитетом к ВИЧ-инфекции. Иммунитет возникает, когда у человека отсутствует поверхностный лимфоцитарный белок CCR5.

Геро Хюттер и Тимоти Браун
Геро Хюттер и Тимоти Браун

При попадании в организм вирус старается проникнуть в лимфоциты — иммунные кровяные клетки. Для этого белок вируса должен связаться с двумя белковыми рецепторами лимфоцитов, один из которых — CCR5. Некоторые люди обладают с рождения генной мутацией. Она останавливает синтез CCR5.

В 2007 врачи первый раз провели пациенту трансплантацию костного мозга. Она не была полностью успешной: ВИЧ не определялся в организме, но рак продолжал развиваться. Вскоре процедуру повторили, и на этот раз наступила ремиссия. Оба раза биологический материал брали у одного донора.

Браун со своей собакой по имени Джек
Браун со своей собакой по имени Джек

В 2008 на Международной конференции по борьбе со СПИДом о выздоровлении Тимоти узнали все. История Брауна вызвала скептицизм в научном сообществе. Некоторые исследователи хотели самостоятельно протестировать кровь на наличие инфекции, так как не доверяли результатам. Были и те, кто считал полное выздоровление невозможным: у пациента мог случиться рецидив. Несмотря на громкие заявления прессы о лекарстве от ВИЧ, трансплантация стволовых клеток не используется для борьбы с вирусом. Операции сложные и рискованные: доноры с иммунитетом встречаются очень редко, а сама процедура опасна из-за возможных осложнений и летального исхода.

Незадолго до смерти в интервью изданию Associated Press Браун рассказал, что лейкоз вернулся. Он лечился при помощи химиотерапии, но рак победил. До конца жизни у Тимоти сохранился иммунитет к инфекции.

Тимоти никогда не жалел, что решился на операцию
Тимоти никогда не жалел, что решился на операцию

На данный момент лекарства от вируса иммунодефицита не существует. Ученые много лет работают над вакциной, но результатов нет: вирус встраивается в геном клетки, поэтому его сложно изучить. ВИЧ-положительные люди принимают специальные антиретровирусные препараты, которые задерживают развитие СПИДа и сопутствующих заболеваний. Инфицированные при успешном лечении могут дожить до старости.

Заведующая центра по профилактике СПИДа Наталья Сизова отмечает, что после случая «Берлинского пациента» исследователи не исключают факт разработки мутации рецепторов CCR5. Это значит, что появится возможность искусственно создавать иммунитет к ВИЧ у заболевших.

Coronavirus is a new trend of the year

How the disease has incluenced on the fashion industry

Reading time 5 minutes

When you enter the subway, citizens with masks on their faces surround you. When you scroll through social networks, you notice numerous memes about the coronavirus and the end of the world. We follow the covenant of Joan Rowling: “Fear of a name only enhances the fear of one who wears it.” Masked people went outside, but they won’t save your lives.

Coronavirus is a serious disease, a cure from which will be found in the near future. We hope. In the meantime, it not only affects the body, but also influences on various areas of life. For example, coronavirus is ruthless to the fashion industry. Shanghai Fashion Week has been postponed due to concern of the organizers. It was supposed to start on March, 26th. New dates have not yet been announced, but it is already mid-February. We remind you that Fashion Week is a large-scale event and it takes time to prepare for one: you need to book locations, arrange with coordinators and look for venues for an after-party. A month before the start, a lot of people have already been involved and the  designers take care of their health.

Marine Serre show 19/20

The economic component is an equally important indicator for the organizers. According to Kommersant, a relatively small number of Chinese buyers were recognized at London Fashion Week. This fact worries brand founders a lot. Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Nike, Capri fashion house, which owns brands Michael Kors, Versace, Jimmy Choo and others, have closed many of their outlets in China, as well as they reduced the opening hours of the remaining ones. The ProFashion portal claims that Ralph Lauren sales will fall to $ 55-70 million because of the epidemic during the fourth quarter of 2020. While looking for a way to survive possible losses, two large conglomerates LVMH and Kering, as well as other fashion companies donated over $ 2.88 billion for the vaccine’s research.

Marine Serre Ready To Wear Fall Winter 18/19

Despite the financial torubles, coronavirus made another problem visible – the popularity of various things that hide faces. Robbers have never been so in vogue. Lots of magazines, for example, Fashion United, call medical masks a new trend of the season. A curious fact is that fashionistas or sincerely frightened individuals buy rolls of masks from Aliexpress, a web-site which supplies goods from China. The Blueprint mentions that the virus cannot exist outside of biological objects. So, you can safely purchase cheap goods from Chinese retailers. But it can be doubted that they will be delivered quickly, as the work process is intermittent. The workers might get sick because the factories are located near the outbreak.

Balaclava IknitHandmade 19/20

Many clothing brands, in obedience to protests, demonstrated masked models, balaclavas and respirators (Gucci, Rick Owens, Moncler and even Calvin Klein) on the catwalk in past seasons. They seemed to foresee that at the beginning of 2020, these accessories would become the most popular. Fashionistas buy specific medical accessories or knitted balaclavas, not only because of the fear of infection, but because of the atmosphere of general concern. While others are afraid of going out, they show their awareness, firstly, in terms of news, and secondly, in terms of fashion trends.


Nazarbayev has left. What will be with the Kazakh Internet?

Kazakhstan was blocking up to nine thousand sites per year

Reading time 4 minutes

The first and the only president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, announced his resignation. Over 28 years of his reign many sites were blocked in the country. Among them are «Medusa», Ozon, «Pikabu», Reddit, Giphy.

Nursultan Nazarbayev in the office of IT-company Chocofamily

Terrorism, extremism, propaganda of suicide and violence – this are reasons why the authorities banned sites. The history of blocking sites began in the mid-2000s. Opposition editions which criticized the government were immediately blocked. However, the problem could easily be solved with a VPN.

In July 2009, the law was passed in Kazakhstan, according to which all Internet resources are equal to the media. After that, courts could prohibit any sites if they contained information inconvenient to the authorities.

In the following years, the largest social networks and instant messengers were disconnected periodically in the country. Among them were YouTube and Facebook. In June 2016, there was a terrorist attack in the city of Aktobe. Then the Internet and mobile communications stopped working at the same time. A panic arose in the city: Aktobe residents could not contact their relatives to find out about their condition.

Information about the permanent blocking of YouTube on the ping-admin site

Popular Russian Internet resources also came under the distribution. The first banned platform in Kazakhstan was LiveJournal. In 2011, the site was accused of propaganda of terrorism and religious extremism. In 2014, due to the material about local separatists, the online edition «Medusa» which was just launched, was also blocked.

2017 was the most memorable year in the history of the kaznet. Then Pikabu, Ozon. Book24 and Labirint were blocked. Resources posted books which were banned in Kazakhstan. Among them are the «Strike of the Russian Gods», «Islamic Akida», «Al-Fawaid».

In the same year about nine thousand sites were banned. Resources, according to the authorities, engaged in the propaganda of terrorism, extremism, violence and suicide. There is no official list of blocked sites in Kazakhstan, but the Kazbt project is existing. On this platform, you can check whether the site is available in the country.

In the United States found amazing concrete fortifications

Concrete under the prison yard in Alcatraz was found when cement in America was not created

Reading time 4 minutes

Researchers have discovered tunnels and buildings from the time of the American Civil War, buried under the famous prison of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California.

под тюремным двором Алькатраса ученые обнаружили крепость, которая долго считалась разрушенной
Under the prison court of Alcatraz, scientists discovered a fortress that was long considered ruined.

Historians have long suspected that a federal prison was erected on the site of military fortifications built in the 1800s. The publication of the journal Near Surface Geophysics, describes the complex, found under the prison yard.


The study of the territory of the national park was conducted using ground penetrating radar and ground scanning. Under the recreation yard of the prison, researchers found traces of completely buried buildings, ammunition depots and tunnels. “These ruins are well preserved and are located close to the surface,” said Timothy de Smet, an archaeologist at Binghamton University. He added that these artifacts are right under their feet. Armed with new evidence, researchers plan to continue to study the remnants of old structures.

Учёные записывают подземные показания на Алькатрасе
Scientists are recording underground testimony on Alcatraz

Archaeologists began exploring most of the 19th century fortress buried under existing prison buildings in 2014. During work on the territory of Alcatraz, scientists were surprised by the concrete reinforcement of some earthen tunnels, despite the fact that concrete was not used in construction at that time.

“It is interesting that at that time they did not even produce cement in the United States,” said Tanya Vattenburg Comas from California State University Chico. “It was probably cement brought in barrels from Europe. Finding it on a mid-19th century battery was a big surprise.”

1868 году
Fort Alcatraz (1868)

During the American Civil War, Alcatraz Island served as a military base that backed supporters of the West Coast Confederation. The defenses were built in the mid-1850s and included barracks and gun batteries. While most of the country was drawn into a bloody battle, Alcatraz’s fortress remained calm.

In addition, Fort Alcatraz was used as the official military prison of the west coast. The first prisoners from the federal penitentiary system began arriving in the 1930s, and the last were evicted in 1963. On an island with a high level of security, famous prisoners were serving sentences: Al Capone, George “machine gunner” Kelly, Whitey Bulger.

The world’s largest coral reef can turn into a trash

Australia approved dumping of sludge near the Great Barrier Reef

Reading time 4 minutes

Australia plans to dump a million tons of sludge on the Great Barrier Reef. Despite strict waste disposal laws, the administration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMPA) approved this. It was found a loophole: the ban does not apply to materials obtained during port works. Industrial waste raises from the seabed near the port of Hay Point, one of the country’s main sources of income and the world’s largest exporter of coal.

Угольный терминал Хэй-Пойнт к югу от Маккая
Coal Terminal Hay Point South of Mackay

Due to environmental concerns, in 2015, the federal government banned waste disposal near the reef. But the ban concerned only dredging. Maintenance work in ports intended to clear shipping lanes is not prohibited.

Larisa Waters, a Queensland senator and deputy leader of the Green Party, called on the marine park administration to revoke the license to work. “The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,” said The Guardian. The senator added that dumping one million tons of sludge into the waters of a World Heritage site will turn the reef into a garbage dump.

Грязная вода угрожает Большому Барьерному рифу
Dirty water threatens Great Barrier Reef

According to Dr. Simon Boksoll from the National Oceanographic Center of Southampton, this is “another nail in the coffin” for the Great Barrier Reef listed as a World Heritage Site. Climate change affects this reef. The doctor thinks: “If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect.”

The sediment is dangerous because it envelops the corals. Coral lives in symbiosis with algae. Thanks to algae, the corals normally feed and retain their color. Without this symbiosis, coral can die.

The North Queensland Bulk Harbor Corporation said the release of sludge would have a negligible impact on the environment. In a statement published on the Internet, the corporation claims that a catastrophe will not happen. The company’s reports show that risks will be predominantly low with some temporary short-term consequences.

Риф уже потерял 30% кораллов из-за глобального потепления
Reef has already lost 30% of corals due to global warming

Dr. Boxall explains that exposure can be reduced by throwing sludge far from shore. But despite this, the sediment will still contain a large amount of harmful substances. “If it is thrown into shallow water, the sludge will strangle marine life,” he said. According to Boxall, it is important that the procedure is correct. “It will cost more money, but this is not an environmental problem, it is a problem of the port authorities.”

Last year, Australia pledged $ 500 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which has already lost 30% of its coral. Corals began to discolor. One of the reasons is the global rise in ocean temperature.

British scientists sound the alarm: coffee can disappear

Arabica and other popular sorts are at risk

Reading time 4 minutes

Mankind faces a caffeine deficiency, as 60% of coffee plantations are at risk and may disappear forever. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew have shown that more than a half of the coffee types can be destroyed if deforestation and global warming are continuing. The problem of diseases of coffee trees will also exacerbate.

Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia

One of the most disturbing news for coffee lovers is the threat of the Arabica disappearance. Grown in Ethiopia, this species currently provides more than a half of the world’s coffee supply.

Coffee plants are demanding to the environment, and only a certain combination of temperature and precipitation allows the beans to mature, maintaining their taste and aroma. Yet farmers are increasingly complaining that changing weather conditions, as well as new types of pests and diseases, are affecting their crops.

«Given the importance of Arabica to the world community, we have to put a lot of effort into determining the amount of risk on which the further existence of coffee in the wild depends on,»- said Dr. Theddeus Woldemariam Gol, a representative of the environment and coffee forests in Addis Ababa.

The farmer checks the quality of the coffee tree

The problem of the coffee disappearance makes professionals look for ways to minimize risks. Scientists from the «World Coffee Research»organization have created several projects that, in their opinion, can save coffee trees from extinction. For example, there is a project to create a gene bank for conservation the genetic diversity of coffee. Another strategy is to create a database with information on the resistance, yield and coffee beans resistance of various varieties to pests and diseases while growing in different conditions. The third is the creation of a «tastes catalog» in which new coffees, developed by manufacturers, are being evaluated. But even on the organization’s website, experts admit that «there are serious gaps in our knowledge of how to aid coffee growers to adapt to changes».

Ethiopian children are sorting through the coffee beans on the coffee plantation

Molly Harriss Olson, an executive director of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, said that she was particularly concerned about the situation of producers of coffee and the effect of warming temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions on the crop.


«Coffee supports the activity of 125 million people around the world, including the poor in developing countries», – she said, referring to the report of the International Coffee Organization. «If we don’t do anything about this in the near future, the consequences for people will be absolutely destructive».

Rescue of a rare giraffe species in Africa

Eight West African giraffes have been transferred to the Gadabedja protected area in Niger

Reading time 4 minutes

Until now, there were no giraffes from West Africa in the Gadabedji biosphere reserve in Niger. These animals still need protection. Illegal hunting, climate change and habitat loss all contributed to the decline in population size. According to the Nigerian publication, eight giraffes were moved to the reserve, this is the first such case for the West African subspecies.  

Биосферный заповедник Гадабеджи (Нигер)
Биосферный заповедник Гадабеджи (Нигер)

In accordance with the initiative of the Nigerian authorities, eight giraffes were caught approximately 60 km south-east of the city of Niamey. There, these animals share their habitat with local communities and compete with humans for natural resources. Often, giraffes come into conflict with people who manage their pastures. Because of this, some individuals go to restless areas on the border with Mali. 

Жирафов перевозили в специальных контейнерах
Жирафов перевозили в специальных контейнерах

The animals were placed in enclosures for three weeks to prepare for the upcoming journey in special trailers. Then they were transported to a new place of residence in the central part of Niger. 

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), over the past 30 years, the number of giraffes has declined throughout the African continent. The West African giraffe subspecies was once common in many countries, including Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, but is now only preserved in Niger. In the nineties of the twentieth century, only 49 individuals remained in the wild, and in 2008 the subspecies was listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as endangered.    

Западноафриканские жирафы - самый малочисленный подвид
Западноафриканские жирафы – самый малочисленный подвид

The efforts of the Niger Government in collaboration with local and international partners have led to the revival of the West African giraffe. Since 2005, conservation efforts in Niger have also intensified thanks to the Giraffe Conservation Fund (GCF) and the Sahara Foundation for Nature Conservation.   

Currently, the population size has increased to 600 individuals, and last month this subspecies was reduced by the IUCN to the category of “vulnerable”. Environmentalists believe that the relocation of eight giraffes is a key step in the development of Gadabedzhi as the leading reserve in Niger. They hope that this will help revive the population of the West African giraffe.