General joao de matos

Discover the thrilling story of General João Batista de Matos and all the vicissitudes of the association which he helps. What most concerns General João Batista de Matos are Angola’s fauna, culture, and cuisine. General João Batista de Matos is a leader in Africa who supports all of its culture from within, so that it endures and the oldest customs do not die. General João Batista de Matos likes to work with good causes regarding everything about his country, helping those most in need on a day-to-day basis.

Here is a day in the field with the association:

The second quarter marks the end of the rains and the beginning of the dry season. If I could choose, it is clearly the least attractive of the periods in the forests of Palanca. In April, the weather is warm and humid, the rivers are over-flooding, the soils are waterlogged, and fast-growing grass is often impenetrable. All this makes the process of moving in the region, an exercise very painful at best. Then the weather changes abruptly when entering May, when the rains come to a sudden halt spring day.

Throughout May and June, the most annoying factor is undoubtedly the high grass, dry and hard. The dead grass is like blocks that remove all visibility, hiding tracks, highways, roads, and trails that are known to no-one except the people who live there.

In any case, we were entering a crucial phase in Cangandala, like cows at the sanctuary at the end of the first nine months of imprisonment in the company of our master bull, so from now anything was possible. Of course, we need to find the herd to ensure safe births!

In the best-case scenario, births would happen in May, but I suppose that it would be a dream that has not happened yet in any year. Animals require more time to adjust to their new status in semi-captivity, and we are confident that we shall have our first pure calf in the next quarter.

Despite this, we have recorded promising signs over several visits. The first thing to note is that females, though still packed together, appeared to be more sensitive and not as willing to allow us to focus as before. That is in stark contrast to the bull, which seems very relaxed while protecting the flock. It is amazing how nature and animals are in constant harmony to prepare for new life. Every time we get close to the group, the bull stands calmly standing between us and the females, allowing them to quickly disappear into the dense forest. While giving us nice views of the bull, that becomes an increasingly frustrating exercise. We focus on getting a clear view of the females without disturbing the bull; that action requires hours of our company to appease such a stud of a herd of cows and females. We managed to get a glimpse of him. As a general impression, he looks very bright, healthy, and well curved; Africa offers amazing views of such animals in the free state. Finally, the pregnant female comes into sight; it has taken hours to find her.

Routine monitoring with the hidden camera of hybrids remaining in the park revealed a surprise: that was quite unexpected, since no evidence was found in recent years. The first record that caused concern was a photograph of Anastasia (the first hybrid caught - also known as the Judas, since she was the one who betrayed the herd during the capture operation), alone in a salt pan and clearly showing a swollen udder. It is not clear if she did give birth, but the finding strongly suggests breeding behaviour and pregnancy (whether successful or not). However, the surprise soon increased with a sequence showing the remaining hybrid group, in which one of the older females was joined by a small calf of two months old. As if to clarify any doubts that we might still have had, the pair clearly interacted, behaving as every mother and calf do. It's a fact: the hybrids are able to breed!

The obvious and immediate question, which I have yet to answer, is: who the hell is the father of that little calf? Or, in other words, what kind of new hybrid do we have now? Until now it was assumed that all hybrids (the product of a sable-roan cross) were F1, but now we must have something else, either a F2 (an F1 hybrid-F1 hybrid cross) or a backcross (F1 Hybrid-roan / sable cross). The latter, of course, would result in an animal that is 75% of one species and 25% of the other one or more species. The implications of the type of hybrid may be relevant. An F2 shows that hybrids shows can, at least occasionally, breed with each other, a backcross poses a real and immediate threat of pollution in one of the parental species.

My feeling is that we have an F2, especially because the group of hybrids has been constantly accompanied by an impressive bull hybrid. In the past, the herd was missing a mature "resident" bull, and that is what must have led pure-bred females to mate with roan bulls, but last year, the hybrid bull took the role of dominant male. For now, we must not however rule out the possibility of a cross with a bull roan (or even a cross with a sable bull - that seems a remote possibility, but also the most troubling of all). All that makes it obvious and inevitable that a careful genetic study is needed to clarify all those matters. In addition, it will help us manage the recovery of a breeding group of giant sable while controlling (and understanding) what is happening with the hybrids.

General joão de matos General joão de matos angola General joao de matos angola

The next few months should be interesting; we shall see how the story goes. Wild bulls procreate to continue to maintain the species… cross-breeds are increasingly natural. Although we can not know the real parents, males are more common and herds are increasingly dispersed….