This lynx became buddies with cameraman after spending months together in the Canadian north

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

Important elephant road safety tips

If you see an elephant on the road and do anything but breathe, you're gonna have a bad day. Read the rest

More mammals are becoming nocturnal so they can avoid humans

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:

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.

Read the rest

Raccoon climbs up side of skyscraper as world watches with bated breath, then is captured and released to wild

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.

The New York Times:

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.

NPR:

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.

Read the rest

Watch a cheetah jump into vehicle during a safari

"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.'"

Read the rest

Cougar visiting Oregon hotel drugged, then killed

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

Environmentalists sue White House for access to withheld public records on pesticide use

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:

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.

Read the rest

Lions ate suspected poacher

Lions near South Africa's Kruger National Park ate a suspected poacher over the weekend.

"It seems the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions," Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe said. "They ate his body, nearly all of it, and just left his head and some remains."

Police found a hunting rifle and ammo near the body.

(BBC News) Read the rest

The environmental costs of "safari selfies"

Everyone loves sloths, and that has led to a huge black market in their capture for use in "safari selfies," where eco-tourists travel to exotic locales and pose for social media posts with local fauna. Read the rest

Watch this mama bear carry her cubs across a river on her back

David Roseman, an employee at Alaska's Wood Tikchick State Park, spotted this big bear carrying her cubs across the river on her back. Sweet video below. From National Geographic:

Wayne Kasworm, a grizzly bear biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, explained that bears' high fat content and oily coat helps them easily stay afloat. The bears, which he estimates to be about six months old, will likely start to swim on their own once they reach 30 pounds.

Read the rest

Delicate papercraft works of endangered animals

Patrick Cabral is best known for his calligraphy, but he recently created a series of intricate papercraft animal sculptures, with some proceeds going to charity. Read the rest

Watch gibbons freak out about a rat scurrying through their enclosure

At Keswick, UK's Lake District Wildlife Park, someone caught footage of what happened when a rat snuck into the gibbon enclosure. I bet the rat won't be back anytime soon.

(via DIGG)

Read the rest

Sign is accurate. Swan is aggressive.

From Sunriver Nature Centre. Read the rest

Awesome wildlife photos shot indoors on a tabletop

Egyptian photographer Amr Elshamy takes beautiful wildlife photos inside on a tabletop. From PetaPixel:

The project started a couple of months ago when Elshamy got in touch with a Chinese company called MOJO FUN, which makes highly detailed animal figures.

To create underwater shots, Elshamy filled a tank with water and added blue coloring to create a tint. To add specks of dust to the shots, he dropped tissues into the water and moved it around. He also uses a black background, fishing line to hold the animals, and a single flash head with a snoot with a blue gel.

To create scenes of the snowy arctic, Elshamy uses a white background, 2 flashes heads (a softbox above and one for the background), and cheap snow that you can find at gift shops.

Read the rest

First photo of tarantula eating a snake in the wild

Researchers in a southern Brazil grassland spotted a tarantula munching on a foot-long snake. It's the first time a tarantula having this particularly hearty meal has been documented in the wild. The non-venomous snake is a Erythrolamprus almadensis and the tarantula is a Grammostola quirogai that boasts .8-inch long fangs. Federal University of Santa Maria graduate student Leandro Malta Borges found the dining tarantula under a rock. From National Geographic:

As Borges looked on, the tarantula huddled over the decomposing snake, chowing down on the exposed, liquefied guts.

In their description of the scene, published in Herpetology Notes in December 2016, the researchers chalk up the snake’s demise to an accidental break-in. In Serra do Caverá, many tarantula species, in particular sedentary females, hide in the rocks.

“Most likely, the snake was surprised upon entering the spider’s environment and hence [was] subdued by it,” the researchers write.

(photo by Gabriela Franzoi Dri) Read the rest

More than 20,000 dead fish mysteriously washed up in Nova Scotia

Tens of thousands of fish, starfish, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and other ocean life washed up dead this week at Savory Park on the western coast of Nova Scotia. The cause of the massive fish death is not yet known. From CNN:

Environmental officials are testing the water for pesticides and oxygen levels for possible clues...

While toxic chemical exposure can be one cause, most fish kills are attributed to low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, according to the USGS.

Just this year, mass fish deaths were reported in Florida's Indian River Lagoon and Hongcheng Lake in Haikou,China.

Read the rest

Turns out flying squirrels can fly while holding giant pine cones

Moonlight Gliders is a beautifully shot and reported piece on mating season for Montana's flying squirrels. Among the amazing facts shared by Alexander V. Badyaev: they can glide while carrying rather large pine cones in their mouths. Read the rest

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