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Posts Tagged "conservation"

Compound Eye

Meet Your Neighbours: Clay Bolt Talks About His Conservation Photography Initiative

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If you’ve noticed a recent influx of the cleanest, whitest, prettiest nature portraits ever to grace the internet, you’ve probably seen the work of Meet Your Neighbours. MYN is an upstart program that unites photographers with local conservation groups. The project, co-founded by Niall Benvie and Clay Bolt and now including dozens of partners, generates [...]

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Culturing Science

The Narcissism of De-Extinction

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Winner of Best Biology Blog Post of 2013 from Scienceseeker.org The TedxDeExtinction conference, discussing how and whether to resurrect extinct species from DNA, took place on the Ides of March 2013 at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC. Watch archived versions of the talks. If people had the ability to resurrect extinct species (dubbed [...]

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Culturing Science

Collapsed cod fishery shows signs of life

cod-feature

Perhaps our species’s greatest misconception about the sea was that it is inexhaustible. The idea seems rather silly now, in a world where most people are familiar with the word “overfishing.” But men once gazed into the deep and imagined that it teemed with life so plentiful that we could take and take without ever [...]

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Culturing Science

The conservation school of hard-knocks, or how I chose hope over futility

Hardly four years ago, I started my first job in science. After an 8-hour drive up the east coast, my brother escorted me into a small, single-floored building facing a woody patch above a salt marsh, the headquarters of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. My heart swelled with anticipation: Here I was, finally living the [...]

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Expeditions

Call of the Orangutan: Welcome to Camp

The research camp centers around a cabin built by Leuser International Foundation that was renovated in 2013

It’s taken a bit longer than I’d initially anticipated, but I’m finally at my first field site, Sikundur in North Sumatra, which will be my home for the next eight months. The research and monitoring station is located in the east of the spectacular Gunung Leuser National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, which is [...]

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Expeditions

Problems Without Passports: Scientific Research Diving at USC Dornsife–The Endangered Endemics and the Aggressive Invader

Guam is 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles, and even our USC students were up early (or at least on time) for our first morning in Micronesia. After a generous and very international buffet breakfast in the Hilton we walked out into intermittent squalls and boarded our charter bus to the Guam Department of Agriculture. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

This Rare White Possum Could Soon Be a Ghostly Memory

white lemuroid ringtail possum

A ghost lives in the Daintree Rainforest in northeastern Queensland, Australia. There, on a single mountain range located 1,100 meters above sea level, scientists have recently found what may be the last few white lemuroid ringtail possums (Hemibelideus lemuroides), a species that was all but wiped out by a heat wave in 2005. They may [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Solar-Powered Transmitters Reveal Secrets of Endangered “Little Devil” Seabirds

black-capped petrel

How do you gather information about a bird species that spends 99 percent or more of its time at sea? Until recently, there wasn’t an easy answer. But now scientists who are working to conserve the endangered black-capped petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) have come up with an innovative technique to improve our understanding of the rare [...]

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Extinction Countdown

The Incredible Mr./Mrs. Limpet: The Endangered, Sex-Changing Sea Snail

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Understanding how an endangered species breeds and reproduces can be one of the first steps toward learning how to save it from extinction. A team of scientists working to conserve the nearly extinct sea snail known as the ribbed Mediterranean limpet (Patella ferruginea) have discovered an important clue about its reproductive strategy: it can change [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Endangered Species Success Stories: How Many More Are We Likely to See?

bald eagle

Look back on the last year of Extinction Countdown and you won’t find that many endangered species success stories. Oh, sure, they’re there, but you have to look for them. For every Kihansi spray toad that is saved from extinction you have a dozen species like the Mangarahara cichlid, which is down to its last [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rare Monkey Population up 50 Percent in China and Tibet

black snub-nosed money Franziska Bauer

Two decades ago just 50 black snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) lived in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. This January a survey revealed that number had risen to an amazing 700 animals. Now further surveys of the monkeys’ other populations in China bring us even more good news: The total population for this endangered species [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Film Fakery: Does Shark Week Harm Conservation Efforts?

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Great White Serial Killer. World’s Deadliest Sharks. I Escaped Jaws. Sharkpocalypse. These are just a few of the programs airing this week during the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week and NatGeo Wild’s new copycat, Sharkfest. Undoubtedly these programs will attract their usual massive ratings, but they may be guilty of the same kinds of film [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Once Extinct in the Wild, Galapagos Giant Tortoises Return to Pinzon Island

pinzon island tortoise adult

Now here’s a great conservation success story: After more than 100 years, Galápagos giant tortoise hatchlings finally have a chance to thrive and survive on their native Pinzón Island, after conservationists cleared it of the invasive rats that nearly wiped out the animals. Like most Galápagos giant tortoises—including the conservation icon Lonesome George, who died [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Habitat Running Out for Rare Primate in Cameroon

Mandrillus leucophaeus

Primates don’t get much more spectacular than the furry, short-tailed, long-faced, pink-rumped monkeys known as drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus). But despite their striking looks, drills—which are closely related to baboons and the even more wildly colored, blue-faced mandrills (M. sphinx)—have not fared well in the wild over the past few decades. Drills have become one of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

De-Extinction: Can Cloning Bring Extinct Species Back to Life?

passenger pigeon

At some point in the next decade, if advances in biotechnology continue on their current path, clones of extinct species such as the passenger pigeon, Tasmanian tiger and wooly mammoth could once again live among us. But cloning lost species—or “de-extinction” as some scientists call it—presents us with myriad ethical, legal and regulatory questions that [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Brazil Plans to Clone Its Endangered Species

black lion tamarin

If scientists in Brazil have their way, the populations of eight endangered species could soon expand through a mass effort to clone them. The project is spearheaded by the Brasilia Zoological Garden in partnership with Embrapa, the Brazilian government’s agricultural research agency. The scientists have already spent the past two years collecting 420 genetic samples [...]

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Food Matters

The Heir And The Spare: Preserving Heritage And Heirloom Apples

Apples That Don’t Fall Far From The Tree: Apples that are genetically identical to those from the past can be grown with grafting techniques.

When it comes to apples, Macs pretty much dominate the market but there are some that would prefer a shift to something even more old school than a PC. That’s right, I’m talking about bringing back heritage and heirloom apples. Apples most likely originated in Kazakhstan from the Malus sieversii and brought over to America with [...]

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Guest Blog

Getting the Grizzly Story: What It’s Like to Report in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest

Casselman in helicopter in the field

Editor’s note: This post is part of a four-part series that Anne Casselman, a freelance writer and regular contributor to Scientific American, reported in early June during a rare opportunity to conduct field reporting on grizzly bears in Heiltsuk First Nation traditional territory in British Columbia. For more on her experience there, see this slide [...]

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Guest Blog

Stranded Whales on the Key Largo Shore

Florida mile marker 102 is easy to miss, and many of the volunteers coming to help save three struggling pilot whales have to make a U-turn on U.S. 1 before pulling into the inconspicuous dirt road marked by a small sign, "Marine Mammal Conservancy." The three young whales, two still young enough to be dependent [...]

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Guest Blog

A World Ocean

Every year on June 8 ocean enthusiasts celebrate World Oceans Day. Last year over 300 official events in 45 countries recognized how the Earth’s largest and most complex ecosystem affects not only the rest of the planet and its inhabitants, but how the seas touch upon the essence of being human and the connectivity of [...]

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Guest Blog

The Ferret Hunters

Extinction, as any child in elementary school knows, is forever—never again shall we see the likes of the dodo, Tasmanian tiger, or passenger pigeon. Once every individual of a species is dead, there is no coming back. Extinction is too often a sad and familiar tale of humans changing a habitat for their needs, while [...]

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Guest Blog

Mauritius kestrel: A conservation success story

The great recovery from almost-extinction of the Mauritius kestrel is regarded as one of the most spectacular raptor conservation programs in the world. Better known as the “Crécerelle de Maurice” in its native island of Mauritius, the Mauritius kestrel had a population of only four individuals in the wild in 1974. Today, the estimate of [...]

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Image of the Week

Have a Heart, Kill Your Lawn

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Source: Katie McKissick’s Symbiartic post: Don’t Be a Water Jerk. Image © Katie McKissick Few things are more inviting than a flawless green turf, stretching out before you like a luscious green tumbling mat – unless, of course, that lawn is in the Southwestern United States and you are aware of the severity of the [...]

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Image of the Week

Tragically Beautiful

DFA186: Hadēs by Brandon Ballengée

Source: ScienceArt On View in March/April 2014 on Symbiartic Populations of frogs, salamanders and other amphibians are rapidly declining worldwide, and those that remain are increasingly falling victim to environmental pollutants that cause deformities such as extra limbs and ambiguous sexual organs. Brandon Ballengée’s work aims to draw attention to their plight through visually arresting [...]

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Observations

Baby Sea Turtles Tracked with Hair-Extension Glue [Video]

sea turtle face; still image from video

Hatchling sea turtles face daunting odds in surviving to adulthood, and only a few find a way. Just where they go to find food and hide from predators has remained a mystery until earlier this year, when Kate Mansfield, a biologist at the University of Central Florida, came up with a novel way to stick [...]

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Observations

Can We Avert the End of Elephants?

elephant

Within the next 10 years, Africa could lose 100,000 elephants—a fifth of  the population—to poachers if the slaughter for their ivory tusks continues at current rates, according to a new analysis.  Some 22,000 elephants were killed in 2012. And large-scale seizures of illegal ivory (those that involve at least 500 kilograms in a single transaction) [...]

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Observations

How China’s Pet Dogs Might Save Wild Tigers

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On the streets of Beijing, little old ladies coax even littler dogs to do their business. Some even bear the little plastic bags carried by civically conscious urbanite pet-lovers everywhere. Yet in cities across China one can also still find dog on the menu, as I can personally attest. This divide between a growing middle [...]

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Observations

Previously Unknown Mammal Spent Decades Hiding in Plain Sight

picture of the olinguito

As fans of the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation know, skulls and teeth can provide excellent forensic clues. Yet any taxonomist will tell you that hard-boiled detectives and forensic scientists are far from the only ones to appreciate the investigative powers of craniums and pearly whites. The most recent proof of their taxonomic utility [...]

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Observations

Lonesome George, the Iconic Galápagos Tortoise, Gets Prepared for Taxidermy [Video]

Lonesome George in his pen, May 3, 2011

Lonesome George checks out a keeper in his Galápagos pen, May 3, 2011–a year before he died. Credit: Philip Yam The world’s most famous tortoise will soon make a return to public display—in mounted form. The last of his species, Lonesome George was an icon for conservation and evolution. He was found alone on Pinta [...]

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Observations

We’ve Got Trouble! All in Agreement Say… Uh Oh

Rhino closeup

If you turn on the news, you’re likely to be inundated with depressing pictures: Oceans are rising, species are dying, pollution is spreading. But how bad do most scientists think it really is? Are these doom-and-gloom projections the real deal, or just the lamentations of a few pessimists? Sadly, at least for conservation biology, the [...]

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Observations

Genetics and Geographical Mapping Help to Crack Ecological Puzzles for Rare Species

threatened california tiger salamander evolution meeting 2011

NORMAN, Okla.—Evolution might not sound like it would be of much use to species whose small numbers have already placed them on the endangered or threatened list. But its lessons are being applied with next-generation genetic sequencing speed to solve some of today’s pressing conservation questions. Many endangered and threatened species are so rare and [...]

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Observations

Thank You, Scientific Research Diving at USC Dornsife

Today is the end of a series of dispatches we posted on our Expeditions blog – The ‘Problems Without Passports’ program at USC takes two experienced instructors and a number of students to do underwater research on the islands of Guam and Palau. I have immensely enjoyed working with the group and reading their posts [...]

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Observations

Fire hydrant hydration: How to cool off responsibly

When a summer heat wave engulfs New York City, people seek the soothing embrace of water in whatever way they can: they swarm the neighborhood swimming pool; they visit the beach at Coney Island; they take multiple showers. People also tap into the city’s water supply through some of its most vulnerable access points: fire [...]

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Observations

Attempt to allow sale of elephant ivory fails

African elephant

The illegal trade in elephant ivory is booming. African elephants are being slaughtered at rates exceeding the former peak in the late 1980s, before Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES (pronounced SITE-ees), banned all trade in elephant products. The ban—as well as a worldwide public outcry against the slaughter—helped to stabilize the [...]

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Plugged In

Food waste in the land of ‘Man vs Food’

Here is some more food for thought about the modern global food economy. A study recently published by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that about one-third of all food produced on the planet is wasted, to the tune of 1.3 billion tons per year. Put another way, planet Earth throws away over 300 [...]

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Plugged In

Buildings are sexy, too

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In terms of basic human needs, shelter comes in right after food, air, and sleep. Over years of human development, buildings have become some of mankind’s greatest achievements. A look at the skyline of any major city showcases centuries of technological advancements and creativity. Yet, the impacts of buildings on the environment and our resources [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Fire Over Ahwahnee: John Muir and the Decline of Yosemite

"Totuya" by Nathaniel Gold

In July 1929 a frail, elderly woman quietly processed acorns on the floor of the Yosemite Valley. Her weather worn face appeared thin, yet firm like crumpled paper. She was a living record of the trials her people had suffered ever since they were herded into open air prisons at the point of a bayonet. [...]

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Running Ponies

The plan to save the rarest fish in the world – that happens to be named after puppies

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The Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) is the rarest fish in the world. Found only in a single, tiny limestone cavern in the Devils Hole geothermal pool about 100 km east of Nevada’s Death Valley National Park, these fish have the smallest known geographic range of any vertebrate in the wild. It’s thought that they [...]

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Running Ponies

Big Cats and Cologne: “They Roll and Cheek-Rub and Just Look to be in Heaven.”

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Late last year I was lucky enough to take a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the big cat facilities at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. I met one of their female tigers, plus three lions, including their magnificent male named Bruiser. All I can say is that you have not lived until you’ve seen a lion’s [...]

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Symbiartic

Don’t Be a Water Jerk

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California is in the throes a serious drought, but driving around Los Angeles, you wouldn’t know it. Lush, green lawns. Sprinklers going off in the middle of the afternoon when much of the water will just evaporate. People using the hose to (inexplicably) clean off their sidewalk. I refer to people who maintain these habits [...]

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Symbiartic

For Admirers of Audubon & Sibley, Two Recurring Art Exhibits

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If you appreciate John J. Audubon’s exacting detail and beautiful compositions and you marvel at the encyclopedic knowledge and delicate illustrations in the famous Sibley Bird Guides you may be interested to know that there are many contemporary masters following in their footsteps today. Their names may be less well-known, but their work is equally [...]

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Symbiartic

The ScienceArt Exhibit Roundup for Spring

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This is the dish on the latest exhibits combining science and art around the country. This time the prize for the most bumpin’ scienceArt scene goes to the Northeast, amirite? Lucky you if you live there: EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION JESSICA DRENK: An Allegory of Algorithms and Aesthetics April 12 – May 12, 2014 Adah Rose [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt on the Scene in Nov/Dec. 2013

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Ahhh, fall. Time to look for more indoor activities. And aren’t you lucky? Here’s a list of sciart exhibits that will warm your heart while you warm your toes. EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION CLIMATE CHANGE IN OUR WORLD: Photographs by Gary Braasch October 16, 2013 – July 6, 2014 Museum of Science 1 Science Park Boston, [...]

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Symbiartic

If Anime Can Save Science Outreach, It Will Look Like This

Guilty_Yuumei_mini

Guilty, by Yummei a.k.a. Wenquing Yan is simply a stunning and extraordinary work of art in an attempt to raise ecological awareness about pollution in the oceans. Painted in a realistic and anime blended style, the lighting, complicated colours create an almost idealized version of reality. Yuumei says about the piece, “Education is the best [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt on Exhibit in Sept/Oct 2013

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Summer may be coming to a close, but there are buckets of good science art exhibitions opening at venues near YOU! EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION SENSING CHANGE July 1, 2013 – May 2, 2014 Chemical Heritage Foundation Gallery 315 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA Sensing Change, an initiative of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, invites us to explore [...]

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Symbiartic

You Had Me At Hydrothermal Vent Worms

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There’s an interesting show going on currently in Denver, CO’s Anthology Fine Art Gallery that’s worth a special trip if you’re into sciart. Patrick Maxcy is a painter, illustrator, and muralist who is fascinated by the natural world. His exhibit, titled Running Wild, showcases his back-to-the-basics drawing chops and his flair for telling compelling stories. [...]

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Symbiartic

The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt On Exhibit In May/June 2013

PrincetonArtofScience

If I only had a private jet at my beck and call, I could zip around the country to all these fine exhibits… sigh! _____________ EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION Princeton University’s ART of SCIENCE May 10, 2013 – Atrium, Friend Center Engineering Library Princeton University 35 Olden Street Princeton, NJ The Art of Science exhibition marks [...]

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Symbiartic

Who Needs a Paintbrush When You Can Use a Dead Fish?

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James Prosek is a person who continually challenges the neat categories we create to delineate where one discipline ends and another begins. In his own words: I want to be able to be a writer and a painter and an illustrator and a sculptor and not have to be confined by the taxonomies of art [...]

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Symbiartic

Shoot To Kill or Aim To Embarrass?

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As I’ve pointed out before on Symbiartic, before the modern naturalist movement, nature lovers would shoot and kill the objects of their fancy to get a better look. Audubon himself would take dead specimens and pin them into life-like poses before drawing them and turning them into the prints that are so treasured today. But [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Tubenosed seabirds that shear the waves: of Calonectris, Lugensa, and Puffinus (petrels part VII)

As a regular Tet Zoo reader (right?) you’ll be aware of the petrel series. I’m keen to finish it (hey, just as I am with all the other still-incomplete Tet Zoo series), so let’s crack on. In previous articles, we looked at gadfly-petrels, the members of Fulmarini, and also at the evolution, biology and diversity [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Glassfrogs: translucent skin, green bones, arm spines

Glassfrogs, or centrolenids, are wide-skulled, long-limbed arboreal little frogs (SVL 20-60 mm), unique to the Central and South American cloud and rain forests. Not until 1951 did this group get recognised as a distinct and nameable entity: prior to this, species within the group (known to science since 1872) had been classified as part of [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Przewalski’s Horses

The baby P-horse, born July 27, 2013. Photo via Smithsonian National Zoo.

They’re the only species of horse never to be domesticated, and have a fascinating history.

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The Thoughtful Animal

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Red Pandas

red panda tree

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 [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Best Animal Stories of 2013

Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby

By Jason G. Goldman and Matt Soniak It should come as no surprise that we humans can be a bit confused when it comes to our relationship with other animals. We live in a society that is at once captivated by the National Zoo’s panda-cam and repulsed by the story of killer whale capture told [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Candid Camera (Trap): The World’s Rarest Big Cat [Video]

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New camera trap footage of a mother Amur leopard and her two cubs provides evidence to conservationists that the world’ most endangered big cat is still breeding in the wild.

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The Thoughtful Animal

Practice Makes Perfect: Endangered Whooping Cranes Rely on Social Learning for Migration

whooping crane mueller

Are birds’ migration routes mainly the result of instinct or do they need practice, learning, and experience? New research on endangered whooping cranes suggests that social learning plays a critical role.

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The Thoughtful Animal

By Understanding Cheetah Social Networks, Researchers Could Improve Big Cats’ Breeding Odds

Cheetah_yawn

Nine lives won’t help to perpetuate a cat species unless the cats manage to reproduce. The decline of wild cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN, led to the coordination of captive breeding programs in zoos and other breeding facilities. And while many know of the trouble that zoos have encouraging pandas to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Is Meat-Eating A Conservation Tactic?

chicken face

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about wildlife conservation psychology, especially in light of last month’s TEDxDeExtinction event. How do we convince human animals that other animals are worth protecting? Modern, ethical zoos have long made claims about the effectiveness of zoo visits and their in-house educational programs on learning outcomes and on conservation attitudes. [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Putting Science on Screen (A Tale Told In Tweets)

disney chimpanzee

What responsibilities do filmmakers have in terms of scientific accuracy? Usually, I argue that filmmakers are storytellers first, and while scientific accuracy (or plausibility) can often support a narrative, the first responsibility of the filmmaker is to weave a captivating tale. But what happens when the film (or TV series) in question is overtly scientific [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Science Writers Who Write About Goats

goat

Several weeks ago, science writer Virginia Hughes wrote a piece about her trip to the Galapagos Islands. In it, she described a project in which scientists intentionally killed eighty thousand feral goats on one of the islands in the archipelago. The post led to an interesting conversation in the comments. Following the discussion, Ginny put [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Polar Bears Say “Stay Away!”

Napping polar bear. San Diego Zoo.

It’s winter, and while Los Angeles has been unseasonably warm, I find my mind wandering to cooler things, like polar bears. In most zoos and animal parks, polar bears (ursus maritimus) attract such a disproportionate amount of attention that they are referred to in the industry as “charismatic megafauna,” or in other words, “really cool [...]

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