Pangolin scales, like rhinoceros horns, are just made of keratin, but that doesn't stop traditional medicine practitioners from claiming they cure cancer and what-not. It's why pangolins are the most trafficked animals in the world. China stopped a shipment worth around $2 million that required killing around 7,500 of the cure little anteaters. Read the rest
In 1977, the US Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service published a fascinating document asking what the government would do if Bigfoot or something like the Loch Ness Monster were to be found? The paper goes on to explain the laws and regulations in place to deal with such a discovery, and also mentions 20th century discoveries like the Komodo dragon and cryptozoology's darling, the coelacanth. From the document:
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Finding a Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot is still a possibility, and the discovery would be one of the most important in modern history. As items of scientific and public interest they would surely command more attention than the moon rocks. Millions of curiosity seekers”and thou- sands of zoologists and anthropologists throughout the world would be eager to “get at” the creatures to examine, protect, capture, or just look at them....
Under U.S. Law, the Secretary of the Interior is empowered to list as threatened or endangered a species for 120 days on an emergency basis. For endangered species in the United States, the Secretary can also desig- nate habitat that is critical to their survival. No Federal agency could then authorize, fund, or carry out any activities which would adversely modify that habitat.
So long-term Federal protection of Nessie or Bigfoot would basically be a matter of following the same regulatory mechanisms already used in protecting whooping cranes and tigers.
“Under normal situations,” said Keith Schreiner, then Associate Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “we must know a great deal about a species before we list it.
Photographer Mark Carwardine got this lovely drone footage of a pod of gray whales frolicking off the coast of Baja California. Unfortunately, the boaters then approach and touch the whales. Read the rest
Researchers developed an anti-poaching system for Rhinos that integrates a camera embedded in the rhino's horn with a GPS and heart rate monitors that switch on the camera and guide authorities to the animal's location. Read the rest
Painted dogs, also known as African wild dogs, are some of the most successful large predators. They are more effective than the other large, African carnivores—lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas—when it comes to hunting.
Unfortunately, that hasn't saved the species from decline, and it is now listed as an endangered species. Many zoos and other conservation organizations are working to save the painted dog.
So when a litter of painted dog pups was born at the Oklahoma Zoo, it was cause for excitement. Sadly, things didn't look good for the pups when Xena, their young mother, proved ineffective at caring for and feeding them.
That's when Lily the golden retriever, a retired rescue dog, saved the day. She adopted the pups of her wild cousin and is doing a bang-up job as a foster mom.
Here's another video of the adorableness.
I don't know the inspiration of this fun (and clearly photoshopped) image of a border collie surrounded by sea otters, but I don't really need to because it's awesome.
On a serious note, sea otters are in trouble. Populations of this endangered species are dwindling as a result of pollution, disease, unprecedented predation by sharks and killer whales, and other factors. In just 30 years, the species has declined over 50 percent.
The Guardian reports that the Phillips Island Penguin Foundation in Australia is asking volunteers to knit sweaters for penguins being rehabilitated after oil spills. Back in 2011, Dean wrote here about a similar request. The catch: That earlier plea for penguin sweaters (in fact, every earlier plea for penguin sweaters) has produced far, far more penguin sweaters than penguins actually need. For instance, in 2000, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust requested 100 sweaters and received 15,000. Yes, penguins wearing sweaters are cute, but it may be a good idea to contact the Phillips Island Penguin Foundation directly before you get started knitting. Read the rest