The finalists for the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced.
Losing a large number of individuals is a tragedy, but what happens when we lose an entire whale culture? What do we lose when we lose a way of life? Every culture, whale or otherwise, is its own solution to the problems of the environment in which it lives. With its extirpation, we lose the traditional knowledge of what it means to be a Caribbean whale and how to exploit the deep sea riches around the islands efficiently. And that cannot be recovered.
Poaching Leaves Elephant Daughters in Charge. "As illegal hunting thins out the ranks of matriarchs, their daughters are taking over as leaders of their social groups."
Some time in the late 1940s, a very patient, elderly beaver called Geronimo was put in a box, flown to an altitude of between 150 and 200 metres, and tossed out the side of an aeroplane. Over and over and over again. See also: Elmo W. Heter, Transplanting Beavers by Airplane and Parachute, Journal of Wildlife Management, 14(2), April 1950, 143-147.
The Bears Who Came to Town and Would Not Go Away. "This is the story of a place at the edge of the world, where a black bear ventured into a Russian hamlet and attacked a human. One bear became two, two became dozens, and before long no one would leave their home, and no one had any idea what to do."
No, I'm not talking about the "super volcano" that'll destroy the Earth (which is, you know, not likely). I'm talking about all the crazy stuff that's happened there this season, the result of growing numbers of both tourists and wildlife. [more inside]
“I told Pierre that hedgehogs love baths but he said no, People love hedgehogs having baths. There is a difference.” Officer Edith is: a) a green parrot, b) the office bird and mascot of San Francisco Animal Care & Control, and c) the persona behind what may be the best account on twitter dot com. [more inside]
Coyote Peterson, host of wildlife TV show Brave Wilderness, was hunting for spiders at night on a trail through Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula when he encountered a very different kind of creature.
Creator of long-running soap opera Neighbours and widely considered "father of Australian TV" Reg Grundy dies aged 92. [more inside]
What does a bear in yellowstone do all day? For the first time, trek into the wild backcountry of America's first national park and see what it looks like from a bear's point of view. Special cameras were attached to the tracking collars of two grizzlies and two black bears in Yellowstone...Tag along as National Geographic gives you an unprecedented window into some of the most fearsome predators on Earth. Watch as these bears act as tour guides through their secret world, with little human intervention.
Walk around South Africa online with Google Street View. Safari means journey in Swahili. See some of the wildlife in Kruger National Park, meander along the top of Table Mountain, around the Kirstenbosch Gardens or along Cape Town's beautiful beaches. There are some people who can never afford to physically come to South Africa and see these places in their lifetime, and hopefully this will give them the opportunity to experience it a little bit. [more inside]
Hard Numbers Reveal Scale of America’s Trophy-Hunting Habit by Rachael Bale [National Geographic]
Sport hunters, those who kill animals for recreation rather than out of necessity, imported more than 1.26 million trophies to the U.S. in the decade from 2005 through 2014, according to a new analysis of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s import data by Humane Society International and the Humane Society of United States. That’s an average of 126,000 trophy imports a year, or 345 a day.[more inside]
Drone Art: Arctic Wildlife & Landscapes is a two and a half minute drone video from the far north of Canada starring beluga whales, polar bears and some of the most amazing scenery.
Mozambique park sees wildlife numbers grow in wake of war The estimated elephant population went from 2,500 in the early 1970s, to fewer than 200 in 2000, and more than 500 in 2014. Similarly, researchers have counted nearly 60 lions, double the number a few years ago, but below the estimated 200 in 1972. [more inside]
In a remote corner of the world a living relic from a prehistoric age still exists. A creature that once roamed the northern plains alongside mammoths and sabertooth cats.In Between is a short video that takes you to visit muskox in their frozen habitat. [more inside]
Architeuthis Dux: Giant Squid observed in Toyama Bay, Japan. [SLYT] The story from CNN. This one was 12 feet long; they can grow to 60 feet. [more inside]
Sleepy gorillas make their nests in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. You can visit these gorillas by going on a virtual gorilla trek in Democratic Republic of Congo!
The Winners (and a small flock of runners-up) have been named in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Captivating bird portraits by Australian wildlife photographer Leila Jeffreys. Extensive interviews and more photos here and here.
Surfin' Shetland Otters! That is all.
Onto the Land (yt) - the latest in a series of Grand Theft Auto V nature documentaries in the style of David Attenborough.
In the late 1970s, a bicycle mechanic named Lee Post moved to Homer, Alaska to run a small bookstore with his mother. He also volunteered at the town's natural history museum, where he took on the task of assembling a beaked whale skeleton.This is the story of how a bookseller from Homer, Alaska became the an international animal skeleton re-assembly expert (Bay Nature). [more inside]
Post thought, well, I've repaired bikes — surely I can repair a whale skeleton if I have a book to follow, and conveniently, I run a bookstore. He searched for any books about reconstructing whale skeletons. “There was no such thing,” he says.
"On the shores of Payette Lake are crates full of beavers, part of a shipment to be dropped in the primitive area by parachute from an airplane." A clip from Fur for the Future, a recently rediscovered documentary from 1948 about Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the state's backcountry.
The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards* showcases wild animals caught in amusing, unflattering, or otherwise hilarious poses. The shortlist: part 1, part 2 (*Google thinks this site has been hacked. Proceed cautiously.)
Since the pandas’ arrival, the team at Edinburgh zoo had already tried three times to breed the bears – with considerable fanfare and public attention – and each attempt had ended in disappointment. After a thoroughgoing review of these attempts in late 2014, this year’s season carried with it a sense of added pressure. But the keepers had also come up with one or two new tricks. A few weeks earlier, Maclean had daubed urine from Long Hui, an impressive male panda kept at Schönbrunn zoo, in Vienna, all over Yang Guang and Tian Tian’s enclosures, in order to spice the air with competition and possibility. “She spent a lot of time sniffing and seeing what was going on,” said Maclean. “He came out and was just like, ‘Whoa!’ He was all over the place.”
"Accidentally glued myself to a crocodile while attaching a radio transmitter." The #fieldworkfail hashtag reveals the hilarious perils experienced by the Science side of Twitter.
“Possibly, the person who ends up being gored or attacked is maybe not the one who is harassing the animal,” Bartlett said, according to CNN. The animal “may have been approached all day long … eventually the animal reaches its breaking point and charges people.”
The Ecotourism Industry Is Saving Tanzania’s Animals and Threatening Its Indigenous People. "With much of the natural world in the Global North already past the point of no return, and with the effects of climate change multiplying yearly, more and more of the Global South is being cordoned off in service of a global patrimony that has little relevance to the lives of the people closest to the land. The collateral social damage of these conservationist policies presents a conundrum, a Sophie's Choice. Whose rights are preeminent—those of nature or those of the people who have always lived closest to it?"
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.)