"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.'"
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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.
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
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
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.
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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
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.
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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.
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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
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:
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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.
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
UPDATE: As I had cautioned, The Mirror indeed had its "facts" muddled. According to this October article in Vice, the photos seen here are actually from the woods around the University of Virginia’s Mountain Lake Biological Station. No idea if the fellow was actually tripping or thought he was a Siberian tiger. Shame, as the below story is quite delightful.
Original uncorrected post:
This gentleman from Liberec, Czech Republic was reportedly tripping on LSD to combat depression when he began to hallucinate that he was a Siberian tiger. He then stripped naked and pursued imaginary prey for miles along the Czech-Poland border where he was spotted on trailcams. According to the Mirror, "police said that, because the man did not have any drugs with him, he was only fined and will not face any further charges."
If this story is true, I hope the fellow had fun and that the experience alleviated his depression.
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Below, a young grizzly bear plays with two GoPro cameras mounted on a pontoon floating in the clear water of the Knight Inlet on the British Columbia Coast.
"The idea was to film bears diving for fish in 2-meter deep pools," wrote Newsflare member kitchinsink, who uploaded the video. "If I was in the pool they wouldn't come and dive so I needed a camera that would float 'inconspicuously!'"
(via National Geographic) Read the rest
Reuters reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes listing the rusty patched bumble bee among America's endangered species.
Though just one of many species of bumble bee, Bombus affinis's sharp decline is a worry to conservationists. About a quarter of bumble bee species face "a risk of extinction."
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The agency attributes the decline to a number of factors, including disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss.
Bumble bees, as distinguished from domesticated honey bees, are essential pollinators of wildflowers and about a third of U.S. crops, from blueberries to tomatoes, said Sarina Jepsen of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which petitioned the government for protection of the insect.
Bumble bees’ annual economic value to farms is estimated at $3.5 billion, according to experts.
A long time, and well loved, resident of Yellowstone National Park, Scarface the bear, has been found shot dead. Scarface has been entertaining photographers, non-threateningly, for decades. It seems unlikely he was killed in self-defense, as he was unlikely to disturb family pic-a-nics.
In the ongoing research into the habits of the grizzlies in Yellowstone, Scarface had been captured, collared, and released 17 times.
Scarface did survive to a ripe old age for his species, 25. In his prime, he weighed 600 pounds. He was down to 338 pounds and biologists expected this last winter to be his last. They meant a death from old age, not from gunshots. Social media were full of outrage from biologists and wildlife photographers, for whom Scarface had become a symbol of the species struggling for survival against climate change and the invasion of bear habitat by humans.
Shooting a grizzly is unlawful except in self-defense, but Scarface had a long history with people that made him an unlikely candidate to attack a photographer or a hunter. Because of the Endangered Species Act violation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened an investigation into the circumstances of the shooting. Several photographers, decrying the shooting, declared that Scarface was the most photographed bear in Yellowstone.
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