September 20, 2014

Camera Traps Capture “Fantastically Bizarre” Animal Hitchhiking

Earlier this month, conservationists working in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park were very suprised when they reviewed photos snapped by their camera trap. Images revealed a mongoose-like genet hitch-hiking on the backs of at least two different species of animals — behavior never seen in the mammal.
Zoologists have observed cowbirds riding on the backs of cattle to pick off their parasites, along with egrets grazing on the tiny creatures that collect on wildebeest. But mammals riding on the backs of other mammals? Not so much. At least not outside of humans and their domesticated animals. That’s what makes this recent discovery so unique.
The Conservationists write at their blog, Wildlife Act Team:

"This series of photographs depicts a large spotted genet on top of two individual buffalo. One of the buffalo seemed to be unimpressed with the genet and can be seen turning around and thus shaking the genet off. The other buffalo was quite content to let the genet "tag along" for an evening stroll. The genet seemed to have spent this particular evening riding buffalo!
What’s even more bizarre is that the same particular genet has a habit of hitch-hiking on other larger beasts and this rhino seemed an ideal taxi service one evening! He decided to jump on this rhino on the very same night that he was seen riding on the back of two separate buffalo.”

Via io9.com

July 29, 2014

Today is International Tiger Day! 

Tigers’ habitat is under threat from deforestation: there are only about 3,000 tigers left in the wild. Their homes are being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations in Indonesia, coal in India and timber in Eastern Russia. So we’ve teamed up with some of the biggest cats on the internet to save the big cats in the wild. 
For International Tiger Day, the little cats are going to help to save the big cats!

Via Greenpeace International

July 19, 2014

Keep Calm And Love Raccoons

Photos via Raccoons

May 24, 2014
"Let’s play Ring Around the Rosie!"
Photo via yle.fi

"Let’s play Ring Around the Rosie!"

Photo via yle.fi

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Filed under: bears babies cute wild animals 
May 19, 2014
Blorp via I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet

Blorp via I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet

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Filed under: seal cute wild sea animals 
May 16, 2014

Vets Didn’t Expect THIS To Show Up At The Animal Hospital

At a 24-hour emergency animal hospital, lots of creatures come in needing help, not just dogs and cats. Sometimes people bring in injured wildlife. One night a large bald eagle (which they appropriately named Freedom)… and the vets weren’t expecting just how big this guy would be.

He had a broken wing, they suspect from being hit by a vehicle. Luckily, they were happy to help Freedom out of this tight spot.

The vets at the emergency clinic were able to get the eagle patched up and send him on his way. This was an update posted by one of them at the hospital:

Once we’ve stabilized an animal/checked them over, we call the wildlife rehab centre in our city and they come p/u the animals. They provide long-term treatments and will attempt to rehab them in the wild again. A bad wing break like this (open fracture) is difficult to repair and can sometimes result in a wing amputation which prevents release. A wild bird does not always do well in captivity so, quite often, humane euthanasia is a common route. For this particular fellow, he went to the centre and I’m personally crossing my fingers that they’ll be able to help him and give him another few years of life. Hopefully he stays away from vehicles in the future…”

Hopefully Freedom is able to heal up at the rehab center and find his way back out into the wild. Talk about an unforgettable night at the clinic!

Via Viral Nova

May 15, 2014

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Red Pandas

Here’s one thing you already knew: red pandas are adorable. While they’re not domesticated and therefore are probably not suitable as pets, some people keep them as pets anyway – especially in Nepal and India – and upload their adorable hijinks to the internet for the world to see. Here are seven other facts about red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) that you might not already know.

1. Red pandas aren’t pandas. Despite their name, red pandas aren’t actually closely related to giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), but it wasn’t until the last ten or fifteen years that scientists settled upon just where red pandas fit on the evolutionary tree of life. It was clear that red pandas were members of the taxonomic “infraorder” Arctoidea, placing them in a group with bears, pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walrus), raccoons, and mustelids (weasels, skunks, otters, and badgers). Research published in 2000 in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution determined that they were not most closely related to bears or to raccoons as had been previously suggested. Instead, red pandas form their own phylogenetic family, alongside skunks, raccoons, and mustelids. From a genetic perspective, they’re more like the skunks and raccoons you might find in your own backyard than the giant pandas with whom they share habitats.

2. Herbivorous carnivoran. As a member of the Order Carnivora, the red panda is a carnivoran. But unlike most carnivorans, it’s not actually a carnivore. That is, the red panda is a mostly an herbivore. It’s actually one way in which the red panda is more like the giant panda than its genetic relatives: its diet consists almost entirely of bamboo leaves, plus bamboo shoots when in season, and the occasional fruit, flower, and (rarely) an odd egg or bird. The other carnivoran who is also primarily herbivorous? The binturong, the funny-looking bearcat that smells like popcorn.

3. Sweet tooth. Speaking of diet, red pandas like fake sugar. In a 2009 study in The Journal of Heredity, researchers presented a variety of Carnivoran species with bowls of plain water, naturally sweetened water, or artificially sweetened water. They discovered that red pandas preferred three artificial sugars: neotame, sucralose (Splenda), and aspartame (Nutrasweet or Equal). That makes them the only non-primate species known to be able to taste aspartame, an ability previously thought unique to Old World monkeys, apes, and humans.

4. Blending in. Take a look at the reddish-orange tint of the red panda’s coat and you might not immediately think “good for camouflage,” but that’s where you’d be mistaken. It turns out that the red panda is pretty good at hiding from predators by disappearing into the branches of fir trees which are usually covered with reddish-brown moss. Which is pretty handy because death by snow leopard seems like a particularly bad way to go.

5. A Cheesy Problem. Okay, stay with me on this one. Red pandas, classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN, are threatened by habitat loss and poaching, despite being protected by legislation in the countries where they’re found. Because of that habitat loss, wild populations of red pandas are increasingly fragmented. One fragment that hosts a population of around forty red pandas is Nepal’s Langtang National Park, in the Himalayas. Even within the national park, those forty pandas are fragmented into four groups. In Langtang, the red pandas have another problem, and it’s cheese. You see, the park is also home to two cheese factories that produce a combined 14,000 kilograms of cheese each year to be sold in nearby Kathmandu. To amass the 140,000 liters of milk necessary to make the cheese, farmers keep large herds of chauri, a yak-cow hybrid, and those herds are permitted to graze within the park. The competition over food sources with the chauri combined with other threats to their lives from the herders and from their dogs has led to the death of many, many red pandas. “This problem might be solved,” write a pair of researchers in the journal Conservation Biology, “by reducing cheese production and restricting the number of chauri while commensurately increasing the price of cheese so that farmers’ income from milk could remain the same.”

6. Red pandas tweet. They don’t tweet in 140 characters like you or I do, but they tweet nonetheless. Actually, to be accurate, the sound they make is known as “twittering.” Have a listen. According to researchers at the National Zoo, twittering seems to mainly used to signal reproductive intent. Which, now that I think about it, is not all that different from some twitterers of our own species either.

7. It Could Have Been Called The Wah. Red pandas have different names depending on where you are. In Nepal, they’re called bhalu biralo. Sherpas call the critter ye niglva ponva or wah donka. But the Western world did not always call it a red panda. In 1821, the English naturalist Major General Thomas Hardwicke made a presentation on the creature at the Linnean Society in London. That is typically regarded as the moment the red panda became known in Western science. In his presentation, titled “Description of a new Genus of the Class Mammalia, from the Himalaya Chain of Hills Between Nepaul and the Snowy Mountains,” he argued that the animal be called a “wha,” explaining, “It is frequently discovered by its loud cry or call, resembling the word ‘Wha’, often repeating the same: hence is derived one of the local names by which it is known. It is also called Chitwa.” Unfortunately, Hardwicke’s paper wasn’t published until 1827, by which time the French zoologist Frédéric Cuvier had already published a description of the species along with a drawing. Naming rights, therefore, went to Cuvier.

Text by Scientific American

Photos found on Pinterest

May 13, 2014

Lion, Tiger And Bear Raised Together After Rescue From Drug Dealer

Baloo the bear, Leo the lion, and Shere Khan the tiger were found locked in a basement undernourished and abused. The trio was originally owned by a drug dealer who didn’t properly care for them, leading to neglect and poor health. In 2001, Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit that cares for animals in need, came to the rescue, and took them to Locust Grove, Georgia, where they were treated for injuries. They could have been separated but since at the moment of the rescue they were already friends, the sanctuary decided to keep them together. The abuse they suffered together as babies has bonded them into a loving brotherhood that does not recognize species.

Via The Meta Picture

May 1, 2014

Little Kit Foxes Go For A Romp

The Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis), is the smallest fox native to North America and typically weighs between three and half to six pounds.

Photos by ©Rick Derevan - Via Tree Hugger

April 24, 2014

SAD NEWS: Clouded Leopards Declared Extinct in Taiwan

After a century of rapid expansion throughout much of the wild parts of our world, we are beginning to better understand all of what was lost in the process.

For the last thirteen years, an international team of researchers have been searching out any indication that one of the world’s most majestic animals, the Formosan clouded leopard, was still in existence its native forests of Taiwan. But now that countless in-the-field observation hours and thousands of infred cameras have turned up no sign of the rare species, scientists have arrived to a somber conclusion: clouded leopards there are extinct, and have likely been for decades.

“There is little chance that the clouded leopard still exists in Taiwan,” says zoologist Chiang Po-jen in an interview with the Taipei Times.

Formosan clouded leopards, a subspecies of those found on mainland Asia, were once highly sought-after by poachers for their valuable skins. And despite the fact that the last reliable evidence of their continued existence is from a 1910 diary entry, biologists believed that the notoriously elusive animal might have avoided extinction in the years that followed, spurring the more-than-a-decade long study to find them.

And although not even a paw print was discovered over the intensive search, the story of that likely long-extinct leopard has still left an impression on Taiwanese society.

“A lot of people have said they are disappointed and find our discovery quite regrettable,” Kurtis Pei, of the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology’s Institute of Wildlife Conservation, tells the Christian Science Monitor. “Some say they hope not just to feel regret, but to do something to save other animals.”

Presently, the same factors that contributed to leopard’s decline — like poaching and human encroachment — continue to threaten other species as well. That said, with this recent declaration of extinction, Taiwanese society may be turning towards more active conservation, says Sean McCormack of the Taiwan SPCA:

“When the Taiwanese are aware of issues, they get behind them 100 percent.”

Via Tree Hugger

April 19, 2014
A baby Bat with his pacifier.
Photo by ©Baby Bats and Buddies of Bats QLD

A baby Bat with his pacifier.

Photo by ©Baby Bats and Buddies of Bats QLD

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Filed under: bats baby cute aww wild 
April 10, 2014

Meerkats make the best photographer’s assistants EVER.

Via BuzzFeed

April 3, 2014
"Oh hello there, lil’ bunny…"

"Oh hello there, lil’ bunny…"

(via coffeenuts)

March 18, 2014

8 Photos Celebrating The Snowy Owl Irruption

The record-setting number of snowy owls that trekked south for the winter has been a boon for birders and photographers. Larry Keller's images capture the species at its best.

Via Mother Nature Network

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Filed under: owls snowy owl cute wild nature 
February 20, 2014
Me and Komoda. 
Photo by ©Cats, Beavers & Ducks

Me and Komoda. 

Photo by ©Cats, Beavers & Ducks