"Run, Daniel, run!"
Incredible #pictures of giant multi-coloured squirrels set #social media alight!#Photographer Kaushik Vijayan snapped the animals in their native habit. The Malabar Giant #squirrel - double the size of their grey relatives - live deep in the #forests of #India. pic.twitter.com/BLFRZf6VHy— SWNS.com (@SWNS) April 2, 2019
Photographer Kaushik Vijayan snapped beautiful shots of rainbow-colored Malabar giant squirrels in the Pathanamthitta District in Kerala, Southern India.
"I felt so amazed by how drop-dead gorgeous it looked," he told CBS News.
While University of Miami evolutionary biologist Dana Krempels was quoted in National Geographic suggesting that someone may have jacked up the color intensity of the photos, the squirrels do have far-out purple coloring. From Nat Geo:
The squirrel’s purple patterns likely play some sort of role as camouflage. This is because the broadleaf forests these squirrels inhabit create a “mosaic of sun flecks and dark, shaded areas"—not unlike the rodents’ markings, (according to University of Arizona conservation biologist John Koprowski, author of Squirrels of the World.)
I like these albino turtles. Read the rest
Boing Boing! Read the rest
Sometimes life comes at you fast, and you just have to make the best of a challenging situation. Read the rest
“He is very gentle when he takes his treats.” Read the rest
In central Kenya, biologists and wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captured footage of a fantastically rare melanistic leopard, sometimes known as an African "black panther." There are only two known prior photos of an African black leopard, from 1909 and 2007. From National Geographic:
"Almost everyone has a story about seeing one, it's such a mythical thing," says Pilfold, of San Diego Zoo Global's Institute for Conservation Research.
"Even when you talk to the older guys that were guides in Kenya many years ago, back when hunting was legal [in the 1950s and ‘60s], there was a known thing that you didn't hunt black leopards. If you saw them, you didn't take it..."
Pilfold adds it’s curious that the fictional country of Wakanda, home of the superhero Black Panther, is located in East Africa, fairly close to Kenya.
"It's a unique coincidence," says Pilfold. "The only place where we have black leopards is where this place in the Marvel Universe appears to exist."
"Black leopard spotted in Africa for first time in 100 years" (National Geographic)
In this preview from the upcoming episode of BBC's Dynasties -- a young male lion finds himself surrounded by a pack of 20 hyenas. The video ends before we find out whether or not he prevails, I guess we have to tune in to find out, but my money is on the relentless hyenas. Read the rest
After the whole damn planet declared its disgust with China's lifting the ban on using tiger bones and rhino horn in medicine, the Chinese government has decided to back peddle on its declaration: using the exotic, endangered animals bits and pieces will remain off limits to the world of eastern medicine.
From The New York Times:
Making a rare concession, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said that it had decided to postpone an order made last month to undo a 25-year ban on the trade.
“The Chinese government has not changed its stance on wildlife protection and will not ease the crackdown on illegal trafficking and trade of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts,” Ding Xuedong, a top official with the council, said in remarks published in the state-run news media on Monday.
I'm having a hard time believing that anything to do with any government would be good news this year, but here we are.
It is worth noting, however, that the Chinese ban on slapping bones and horn into medicine isn't permanent. It could be rescinded at any point in the future. However, as The New York Times points out, China's working hard to sort out a greater share of respect on the world stage. Not murdering rare animals for their bits and pieces? That's an easy win.
Now if we could just get them to knock off the shit they're pulling with Muslims in their nation, we'll be getting somewhere.
It's an accomplishment to find and photograph a lynx: they want little to do with humans and make an effort to keep themselves to themselves. It's an even bigger accomplishment to not only find a lynx to photograph, but to also spend enough time with it that it comes to see you as a hunting buddy. Read the rest
If you see an elephant on the road and do anything but breathe, you're gonna have a bad day. Read the rest
As Earth's human population expands, it's harder for other mammals to avoid people during the daytime. As a result, some mammals are becoming increasingly nocturnal. Nobody knows how that shift will affect individual species and even entire ecosystems. In a new paper in the journal Science, University of California, Berkeley wildlife ecologist Kaitlyn Gaynor and her colleagues examined data on how 62 species across the world spend their days and night. From Scientific American:
Read the rest
For example, leopards in the Central African nation of Gabon are 46 percent nocturnal in areas without bushmeat hunting, but 93 percent nocturnal where the practice is common. In Poland wild boars go from 48 percent nocturnal in natural forests to 90 percent nocturnal in urban areas. Even activities people consider relatively innocuous, such as hiking and wildlife viewing, strongly affected animals’ daily rhythms. Brown bears in Alaska live 33 percent of the day nocturnally when humans stay away, but that number goes up to 76 percent for bears exposed to wildlife-viewing tourism. “We think that we're leaving no trace often when we’re outdoors, but we can be having lasting consequences on animal behavior,” Gaynor says...
Perhaps even more alarming is the cascade of effects that could occur in the wider ecosystem as animals switch from day to night. “Patterns of competition and predator–prey interactions might change with the nocturnal behavioral changes,” Gaynor says. If one species—say a top predator—starts hunting at night and goes after different types of prey, it will likely have innumerable trickle-down consequences for everything along the food chain.
A raccoon in Minnesota got its 15 minutes of fame after climbing up the side of a skyscraper Tuesday. The world watched online as the adorable little trash panda scaled more than 25 stories of St. Paul's UBS building.
It all started when maintenance workers at an office tower in downtown St. Paul, Minn., found the raccoon curled up on a ledge on Tuesday afternoon. After it was roused, the creature took off — and scaled the side of the building. An audience gathered on the street below — and on Twitter — to watch the hourslong attempt to stop it. While some cheered for the animal, others warned that they were vicious.
“Do not be fooled by their attempts to be cute,” one user wrote. “This building climbing scheme was just part of their nefarious plot to take over the world. Stay vigilant!”
Officials managed to bait and trap the raccoon, and they released it into the wild.
Earlier, though, the outcome was far from certain.
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The raccoon was spotted more than 20 stories above street level, in a downtown escapade that our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio tracked closely — it was, after all, just across the street from them, giving them front-row seats as the animal avoided death and capture with equal aplomb.
Dubbed the #mprraccoon on Twitter, the raccoon drew thousands of breathless observers as it scampered, scaled and explored its unlikely high-rise habitat. Its occasional naps were followed closely, analyzed for clues about its mental state, hopes and dreams.
"A cheetah decided to explore our vehicle on a safari I was leading for Grand Ruaha Safaris (in the Serengeti National Park," wrote wildlife photographer Peter Heistein on Instagram. "Another one jumped up on the hood and was staring at us through the windshield. They were just curious, we kept calm and let them go about their business. Quite a thrill to be this close!
"Our guide Alex Mnyangabe... helped us through the encounter with instructions on how to treat the animal 'with respect.'"
A cougar (Puma Concolor) decided to go wandering about a hotel in The Dalles, Oregon. Cougars populate the woods around this suburb of Portland, but they rarely frequent the shops, restaurants or other services. This odd behavior resulted in the termination of said animal.
It is cool to pump your own gas in some parts of Oregon now.
Via KVAL Oregon:
Cougar sightings are not uncommon on the outskirts of The Dalles, especially in the late winter and early spring when deer are on winter range just outside the city, according to wildlife officials.
“But a cougar coming this far into downtown, into the business district and deep into a hotel complex, and not showing fear of people or wariness of urban environments? That’s just extremely odd,” said Jeremy Thompson, ODFW district wildlife biologist. “This may have been a cougar that was unable to establish its own home range in its natural habitat.”
“Considering this cougar’s concerning behavior, it was deemed a public safety risk not suitable for relocation, and so it was euthanized,” said Thompson.
Image via Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Read the rest
The Environmental Protection Agency's mission is in its name. But it's hard to tell whether or not the EPA is doing its job if the government refuses to release any records of its doing so.
In the summer of 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity – an organization that is passionate about the link between the well-being of humanity and the ongoing safety and diversity of all the creatures bopping around the earth – requested that the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service provide them with public records on the use of a number of pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion. Their request for information was never acknowledged.
Unwilling to take ghosting for an answer, they filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding that the thousands of pages of analysis on how the pesticides' use affects wild plants and animals, be released. In a statement released by the organization earlier today, they cited the following:
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The Fish and Wildlife Service had committed to releasing its analysis of that research for public comment by May 2017 and to finalize the documents by December 2017. But last year, shortly after donating $1 million to Trump's inauguration, Dow Chemical asked federal agencies not to finalize the legally required assessments that are crucial to establishing common-sense measures to reduce the pesticides' harm to endangered species.
The EPA’s initial analysis of the three pesticides, released in 2016, found that 97 percent of the more than 1,800 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be harmed by malathion and chlorpyrifos.