This month South Africa and Botswana are expected to officially open Africa's first "transfrontier conservation area" -- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which covers some 14,000 square miles of land in the two countries. A second African transfrontier conservation area, to include land from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, is due to open within the next few years. Biologists hope that the parks will enable wildlife to re-establish migration paths long disrupted by borders, a process that could in turn lead to healthier populations. They also hope that the parks will help to balance the distribution of particular species: some areas contain very few elephants, for example, while others have so many that herds must be culled. Such areas have a long history in the rest of the world; the first, linking land in the United States and Canada, opened in 1932. There are now about a hundred in all. They usually result from the efforts of private groups; in Africa an international organization called the Peace Parks Foundations was one of the main catalysts.
Health & Safety
February sees some of the lowest temperatures of the year -- a fact especially pertinent to those prone to hypertension or cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have shown that cold weather elevates blood pressure, possibly because it constricts the blood vessels. High blood pressure in a cold environment can have several adverse effects: it may increase ventricular-wall stress, raise demands on the heart, increase the blood's oxygen requirements, and impair the flow of blood to the heart. The constriction of the arteries that occurs in cold weather may also cause pulmonary edema, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. And blood viscosity increases, thereby interfering with the supply of blood oxygen to the heart and raising the likelihood of clots. Taken together, these phenomena can have considerable significance. For example, a recent study in the British Medical Journal noted that the number of cardiovascular-disease-related deaths in Scotland and New Zealand was 30 percent higher in cold months than in warm ones.