The family shows up at Hank’s house unaware that they’ll be sharing it with assorted wildlife whose collective attitude toward humans ranges from playful to scarily aggressive. Oh, and all the animals are real, and largely untrained, and when they paw and pounce on their human costars, you can see real terror in the actors’ eyes — like actual Oh shit please God no terror.The making of Roar, possibly the Most Dangerous Movie of All Time.
Chris Crowe has a girlfriend. She stands a leggy 5 feet tall, weighs a trim 11 pounds, and sports a set of wings like you’ve never seen. Walnut the white-naped crane is the most genetically distinct endangered crane on the block — which means she needs to have been making babies, like, yesterday. Walnut was raised by humans at a zoo, and as a result, she recognizes and trusts humans — and is deeply hostile to other cranes. How hostile? She killed the two male cranes that her former keepers attempted to pair with her. "I like to jokingly tell people that Walnut ‘allegedly’ killed two male cranes," Crowe says. "It’s not like she was tried and convicted. We don’t know her side of the story."
Tanja Brandt is a German photographer who has dedicated her career to photographing animals and wildlife. In one of her most recent projects, Brandt shot photographs of a highly unlikely pair of friends: Ingo, the Belgian shepherd, and Poldi (Napoleon), the one-year-old owlet.
Fort Griffin State Historic Site, just north of Albany, Texas, recently had one of its historic buildings claimed as a den by a mother bobcat and her two kittens. The site's trail cameras have been documenting their lives since: the first glimpse into the lives of roly-poly inhabitants of a well-protected stone building came in January. With uninvited visits by raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and male bobcats... [more inside]
"In July 1960, Jane Goodall boarded a boat, and after a few hours motoring over the warm, deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, she stepped onto the pebbly beach at Gombe. Last summer, almost exactly 54 years later, Jane Goodall was standing on the same beach. The vast lake was still warm, the beach beneath her clear plastic sandals still pebbly. But nearly everything else in sight was different."
If other horses are the equivalent of feral dogs, then the Przewalski’s horse is a wolf. In its native Mongolia, where it goes by the name takhi, it is known as the father of horses. Mongolians regard the takhi as spiritual, holy animals, and for millennia they largely left them alone... The trouble all began in the late 19th century, when the Western world finally took note of the takhi. Nikolai Przewalski, a Polish-born explorer serving as a colonel in the Russian army, “discovered” the horses during an 1878 expedition to the Mongolian-Chinese frontier. Naturally, Przewalski named the horse after himself, and when he returned to the West, word quickly spread among zoos, adventurers, and curio collectors about the mysterious wild horses.
That's right - it's time for Mammal March Madness! "Battle outcome is a function of the two species' attributes within the battle environment. Attributes considered in calculating battle outcome include temperament, weaponry, armor, body mass, fight style, and other fun facts that are relevant to the outcome. These are one on one- head to head combat situations- um except for the mythical mammals that have multiple heads. Some random error has been introduced into calculating battle outcome & the amount of that error is scaled to the disparity in rankings between combatants. Early rounds, the battle occurs in the better-ranked species' habitat (home court advantage). BUT once we get to the ELITE EIGHT, battle location will be random: forest, semi-arid desert, intertidal zone, or snowy tundra." Action kicks off on March 9 with the wildcard match up between the pygmy jerboa and the bumblebee bat (Kitti's Hognosed Bat). You can follow the action on twitter using the hashtag #2015MMM or on the blog Mammals Suck. In the meantime, start filling out your brackets - common names or binomial nomenclature.
Martin Le-May was birding with his wife when he caught this once-in-a-lifetime shot.
Wild Ones Live is an arresting reading accompanied by music, a collaboration performed as part of a live magazine by author Jon Mooallem, a science and nature writer whose book Wild Ones ruminates on the strange, ignorant, hopeful and poignant ways humans imagine other animals, and the musical project Black Prairie. Listen at your desk if you must, but if you can, pop in your earbuds and go outside for a long walk while you take it all in. [more inside]
Coyote Booms, Bear Attacks And How Climate Change Is Wreaking Havoc On The Animal Kingdom. "'The long-term drought impacts on vegetation that affect the prey of the animals that predators feed on is also a reason for encroachment,' said Crabtree. He said he thinks all large carnivores have this problem, especially the ones that depredate, or plunder — such as coyotes, bears, mountain lions and wolves. 'The drought decreases natural forage for herbivores like deer,' said Crabtree. 'There will be a relatively higher density of deer in urban areas where there are lawns.'" [more inside]
Crittercams have given researchers an unprecedented window into an urban coyote's lifestyle, with 91 video clips of the animals hunting, eating, and avoiding people. Among other behavioral adaptations, urban coyotes in Chicago are nocturnal, have learned how to cross busy roads, are rarely hit by cars, maintain larger (if more fragmented) territories, and even successfully raise pups in secret dens. [more inside]
The folks at the Duke Lemur Center are helpfully offering you the opportunity to figure out: what kind of lemur are you? [more inside]
Animals (especially wild animals) don't have the vanity or the discipline to pose for organized family photos, but wildlife photographers will still do their best to capture photos that look like they could be corny family holiday post-cards.
A genet in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa has been photographed by camera traps for several weeks running, riding around on the backs of cape buffalo and rhinoceros . Researchers agree: this is weird! (via.) [more inside]
Halfway through my three-week, 417-mile journey down the “most endangered” river in America, the water began flowing backward and the mud started talking. It spoke in baritone gurgles, like Barry White trapped in a bong. You know what this is, John? No, Barry White mud. This is QUICKSAND.
Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles. The decline of birds might have something to do with this recent news that half the insects (and spiders, crustaceans, slugs, worms) are gone.
"Even as a very small boy I was utterly fascinated by animals of every kind." Shortly before his 19th birthday in December 1957, Bob Goulding accompanied Gerald Durrell on an animal collecting trip to Cameroon. "Our trip to Cameroon, which lasted around six months, is the subject of Durrell’s book ‘A Zoo in my Luggage’, published in 1960 by Rupert Hart-Davis. I am Durrell’s ‘young assistant Bob’ in the book." This was neither the beginning nor the end of a life-long involvement and fascination with tropical natural history which saw Goulding later take over management of the zoo attached to the Department of Zoology of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1963. Now retired back to Bristol, he keeps a personal website which contains a fascinating record of those pioneering years. Particularly poignant is the story of the two gorillas, Aruna and Imade, from their capture by hunters to the years of their maturity. Under Golding's leadership Ibadan Zoo became an early and exemplary instance of zoo habitat design. The website contains an account of building the gorilla enclosure; a heartfelt acknowledgement of his former staff; letters from past visitors, now grown up; stories of research and collecting; a snapshot of Nigeria in the 60's and 70's; an overview of local fauna; and lots and lots of photographs! Also, hairy frogs (don't look at them.)
They saw "birds entering the solar flux and igniting, consequently become a streamer," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. BrightSource concentrated solar plant is a "mega-trap" for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays. Estimates range as high as one streamer every two minutes at a single plant, though this is disputed. A Federal report (PDF) is "occasionally gruesome".
For these endangered lemurs, it was love at first sight
There's puppy love, there's muskrat love, but there is nothing like the love of two middle-aged, critically endangered lemurs.… Dern, 17, had lost her mate at the Waco, Texas, zoo several months ago, and Anthony, 16, had recently been separated from his brother when he was sent to another zoo. Although both were accustomed to living with ring-tailed lemurs, it wasn't the same…. Both were lonely.
A belated gift to all of you MeFi moms and moms-to-be. Not an uncommon occurrence in the Spring in North America. No less heart-warming to watch, though.
Out in the field with one of Alberta's few female trappers. Emily the Trapper is smart, loves animals, and thinks your ideas about fur trapping are all wrong. [more inside]
"First time I ever got beat up by a baby moose." -- Maine moose trapper/tagger Wes Livingston gets mauled by an ungrateful juvenile moose on video. [via 9MSN; TW: animal mauling; Livingston is ok] [more inside]
Marc Anderson, the winner of the Beautiful Now sound competition has a site called Nature Soundmap where you can listen to sounds from around the world. [more inside]
The latest generation of the UK's world-leading state-backed surveillance technologies have reportedly captured shocking scenes of high-risk potentially lethal narcotics use by gangs (or "juvenile pods") of young dolphins, who have worked out how to get a high from chewing pufferfish to release their neurotoxins [more inside]
Eagle steals a camera that was set up to film crocodiles, flies off with it and transports it over 100 kilometers. The motion-sensitive camera was triggered three times, so we get to see the young sea-eagle fly away with it, setting it down and pecking at it. The camera was found and recovered through sheer luck. The footage is worth seeing.
A parakeet infestation that started when Humphrey Bogart left the door to the set of The African Queen open, pigeons taking the Tube, foxes learning to sit pretty for sausages, a colony of pigeon eating pelicans gifted by a Russian ambassador in 1664 and underwater warfare between rival gangs of invasive crayfish species are just some of the miracles found in the unnatural history of London's wildlife.
From September 1, it is illegal in Alabama to rescue raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, oppossums and other animals. [more inside]
Once upon a time, a man explored some abandoned cottages. The people had left long ago, but the houses were still being lived in. Fortunately, the man was a photographer.
The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
In The Realm of the Purple Emperor: As I’m sure many of His Majesty’s loyal followers will agree, there’s nothing we love more than to roll around in the mud, dust, dung, poo, shrimp paste, flies, spit and wee to get those highly coveted photographs. [more inside]
Photographer Linda Kuo's work focuses on "animals and their encounters with human civilizations". Displaced shows exotic animals being cared for at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in NYC, while Hit and Run shows the aftermath of wild animals' encounters with vehicles upstate. (warning: Dead Animals).
"Now, my friend Adams was accused of a crime he didn't commit, so he escaped into the mountains, leaving behind the only life that he ever knew." In 1977, three years after the popular movie The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams introduced the story of John "Grizzly" Adams to the public, a TV show of the same name premiered. [more inside]
There was one wild bear left in Switzerland. Last year, M13 (Mike to his friends) was displaying troubling behavior, but a bear expert with the World Wildlife Foundation was optimistic about the possibility of retraining him (via rubber bullets and firecrackers) to be more wary of humans and less likely to forage near houses for food. [more inside]
a herd of elephants cross a stream ... audacity of the mandrills ... panthers play with their reflection in a mirror ... a passing group of gorillas ... 52 red river hogs eat fruit ... a leopard falls in love with the camera trap ... a sitatunga frightens some ibises while crossing a stream ... two elephants fighting ... chimpanzees attack a mirror ... a slithering Gaboon Viper ... a family of elephants on the trail ... 15 animals at the same place, close to camp
Charley Harper's "minimal realism" contributions to science and art are being celebrated by the graphic design blog Codex 99. Part 1 - Charley and Edie. Part 2 - The Birds. Part 3 - Tin Lizzie and Dinner for Two. Part 4 - The Golden Book of Biology. Part 5 - Bambi and Childcraft. Part 6 - The Animal Kingdom.
Born in Africa to French wildlife photographer parents, Tippi Degré had a most unusual childhood. (Possibly NSFW)
When 17th-century Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh encountered what he described as "a kind of rat as big as a common cat" on on island off the western coast of Australia, he quickly dubbed it "Rats' Nest". Despite the insult, these marsupials aren't known to hold a grudge: the Quokkas, native to what is still known as Rottnest Island and nearby isles, are some of the happiest-looking, most inquisitive furry critters around.
I think it is high time that MeFites meet Michael Forsberg, a Lincoln, Nebraska based Conservation Photographer who works primarily in the Great Plains of North America, once one of the greatest grassland ecosystems on Earth. (His bio.) His goal has been to try to capture the wild spirit that still survives in these wide-open spaces and put a face to the often overlooked native creatures and landscapes found there. His hope is that the images can build appreciation and go to work to inspire conservation efforts on the land far into the future. Here is a great 48 minute presentation that Michael gave at the California Academy of Sciences after completing his most recent book simply entitled "Great Plains". In the video he unselfishly shares not just his photographic images but also his equipment and techniques. [more inside]
For the first time in more than half a century, there is a river otter living in San Francisco. Photos. Photos and video. [more inside]
Released today: the top Google searches of 2012. Also, the top Google searches in the UK. Hungry for more "Best of 2012" collections? Curious about "best of" versus "most popular"? There's much [more inside]
More Than Human: Tim Flach's intimate photographs of animal gestures and expressions seem more than a little familiar. [more inside]
Pick a shark and follow his/her course through the oceans of the world.
Proving that Dallas is slightly more than concrete, SUVs and bad air quality, the Great Trinity Forest is home to birds, deer, bobcats, badgers, alligators and even a seven foot nine inch, 200 pound alligator gar named Garzilla as documented in the excellent blog Dallas Trinity Trails. [more inside]
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve, a UN World Heritage Site, is home to approximately 5,000 of the estimated 30,000 okapi remaining in the wild. Last week, it was also home to a tragedy. [more inside]