Archive for the ‘Vulnerable’ Category

Saving Asiatic Black Bears

May 15, 2008

A recent post of ours highlighted the peculiar talents of an Asiatic Black Bear.

In the Reuters video at this link, we learn just how vulnerable these beautiful creatures are and the need for bear rescue centers. The report shows the efforts of a center near Hanoi and how workers are saving animals from traffickers.

A Very Talented Asiatic Black Bear

May 5, 2008

It’s a Ninja Bear!

An Asiatic Black Bear named Claude is entertaining visitors at a Japanese zoo in a very unique way — he twirls sticks like an acrobat. For hours and hours.

Claude lives in Asa Zoological park in Hiroshima. His obsession with sticks began when he arrived at the zoo six years ago. He stopped the twirling for a few years, but he picked up the trick again. The zoo has 15 sticks available for Claude.

You must watch this cute video:

Are you talking to me?

May 1, 2008

A beautiful picture of an angry jaguar.

Using New Technologies to Save Wildlife

September 6, 2007

I just stumbled upon a wonderful article (“Going hi-tech in the jungles“) that details the using of new technologies to save endangered and vulnerable animals.

Quite simply, animals are going wireless!

The latest hardware and software technologies are being used by wildlife researchers to better understand the behavior of animals. The data can be analyzed to monitor populations and to understand threats. From elephants to leopards, animals can now be tracked through tiny chips that are planted inside their bodies. The chips are as small as a grain of rice!

These “Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT tags)” chips have unique codes that effectively act like wireless ‘bar-codes’ for each animal. In India, some “captive” elephants have the chip. Information stored on the chip provides the name of the owner and the age of the elephant — plus lots of other important data. The tagging reduces the chances of smuggling animals because the thieves are more likely to be caught.

The chips are also used in leopards to understand their movement activities… Recaptured leopards can be moved deeper into forests and away from human populations. Everyone benefits!

Technology has long been a tool for researchers, including the use of radio telemetry that involves transmitters within collars. Antennas and receivers allow researchers to track species like the large cats (tigers, jaguars, and snow leopards). Researchers gained knowledge about territories and survival tactics. Newer collars include GPS capabilities that allow for tracking from hundreds of miles away!

As we’ve noted in a previous post, wildlife researchers are also using imaging technology including remote cameras and infrared sensors to monitor animals in difficult viewing conditions.

We can’t wait to read about and see yet-to-be-invented technologies that will be used to save even more animals!

Giraffe Spots

September 4, 2007

In our prior post we provided fun facts on Dalmatian spots. Another animal in our collection, the Giraffe, has unique spot markings too.

Giraffes have amazingly beautiful patterns on their skin, most often they exhibit brown spots on a yellow background. With several different species of giraffes, the markings help to identify different groups. There are two main groups of giraffes based on spot patterns — reticulated and blotched.

Reticulated giraffes have spots that are large and somewhat similar in shape. Not much of a background is visible and they appear more brown than yellow. Blotched giraffes have irregular spot patterns with different sizes and unique shapes — from smooth round to jagged edges. Our Garth + Grace Giraffe (Southern) have blotched spots:

Garth + Grace Giraffe (Southern)

Male giraffes are generally (but not always) darker than females. Both will get a bit darker with age. Subspecies of giraffe are differentiated by color and pattern variations as well as by geographic range.

Spots are unique from giraffe to giraffe — they are like fingerprints on people!

The Large-Antlered Muntjac… Say “Cheese!”

August 30, 2007

In a previous post, we answered the question, “What’s a Muntjac?”

It turns out that a new muntjac species was recently discovered and photographed for the first time in the wild:

A little-known species of deer called a large-antlered muntjac has been photographed for the first time in the wild, according to a survey team from the Nam Theun 2 Watershed Management and Protection Authority (WMPA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The deer, previously known only from specimens collected by hunters and a few fleeting glimpses by biologists, stands approximately 25-30 inches tall (65-80 cm) and weighs up to 110 pounds (50 kilograms). Its namesake antlers are significantly larger than other muntjac species found in Indochina.

The story goes on to note that the camera traps were monitored by villagers and teams trained by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Other photographs yielded a glimpse of the Annamite striped rabbit, a rare member of the hare family. The area serves as homes to other endangered animals such as tigers and Asian elephants.

Large-Antlered Muntjac

What’s a Muntjac?

August 28, 2007

In our Noah’s Pals collection, there’s one animal pair with a funny name that invariably leads to the same question…

“What’s a Muntjac?”

They are the oldest known species of deer and live in Southeast Asia. Muntjacs are sometimes called “Barking Deer” because they are known for their peculiar barking that can last for many hours.

Males sport small antlers that they shed in the Spring and regrow by the Fall. The females have bony knobs on their foreheads. Muntjacs are mostly solitary creatures and do not like people. They are fond of lots of types of vegetation, from grasses to fruits.

In our collection, we decided to make Mark + Michelle “Giant” Muntjacs. The adjective refers to their size compared to other members of the Muntjac family. In reality, they are pretty small… They are about the size of a large dog!

Mark + Michelle Muntjac (Giant)

Keeping Track of Elephants

August 23, 2007

As our collectors know, we include an ID Card with each pair of collectible animals. Those cards provide educational information on the animals, including conservation status, habitat information, and size data.

Conservationists are now using photo IDs of real elephants to track and preserve these big and beautiful creatures.

The AP reports:

Wildlife groups have created individual photo identification cards for wild elephants in southern India to help track the effects of poaching…

By being able to specifically identify animals, researchers get a better idea of elephant numbers and movements in an area. It can also help law enforcement in the event that an elephant carcass is discovered, said the New-York based Wildlife Conservation Society, which is working with several Indian groups on the effort.

What a fantastic idea!

The story further describes that the project is centering on male Asian elephants since their tusks are often sought by poachers. The effort has documented 134 elephants using 2,400 photographs. Analysis of the pictures reveals pertinent data, including “tusk length, thickness, angle, arrangement, as well as other characteristics like ear shape, shoulder height, tail length, and scars.”

There are many more wild elephants to document in India — over 26,000 live in the country. Let’s hope this program succeeds. And maybe it will even be expanded to other vulnerable and endangered animals!

Asian Elephant

Fainting Goats

August 14, 2007

There are many videos of the famous “fainting goats.” Watch the clip immediately below, then read more about these special goats…

These beautiful creatures have a genetic disorder called “myotonia congenita” — a condition in which muscles freeze after they are startled. The affliction is believed to be painless and often results in the animal falling on its side. Older goats have somewhat learned to live with the condition and can sometimes maintain balance by shuffling with stiff legs. (In other words, they look a lot like the way that I dance.)

The fainting goats are generally smaller than standard goat breeds. Like other goats, their hair can be different colors and lengths.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the breed as “threatened.” These cute creatures are popular on small farms due to their petite size.  With their friendly disposition, the goats also make nice pets.

Here’s another cute video of the famous fainting goats:

More Big Cats

August 10, 2007

National Geographic has more great video of jaguars — and other big cats like tigers and mountain lions.

Take a few moments to enjoy the graceful beauty of these amazing felines: