Sunday, October 31, 2004

LATE NEWS - MBE for Carl Jones

Carl Jones, the man sent to close down the Mauritius Kestrel preservation project, and who failed miserably, was honoured with an MBE last year for his great work. This article at Durrell Wildlife site has more.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

KOMODO DRAGON NEWS - Did dragons cause human extinction?

The BBC are amoung large numbers of sites reporting on the discovery of a new species of human, skeletons of which have been found in Indonesia. I mention it here, because all of the reports mention that this 'hobbit' species shared its island with huge lizards, including Komodo Dragons. How ironic it would be if Komodo Dragons had caused the extinction of a species of humans....

Here's the BBC Report
The three-foot (one-metre) tall species - dubbed "the Hobbit" - lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago.
...
Details of the sensational find are described in the journal Nature.

The discovery has been hailed as one of the most significant of its type in decades.
...
...shared its island with a golden retriever-sized rat, giant tortoises and huge lizards - including Komodo dragons - and a pony-sized dwarf elephant called Stegodon which the "hobbits" probably hunted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

WHITE RHINO NEWS - Rhino Fund Uganda

Some good news for the White Rhino. Wolfgang H. Thome records that the Rhino Fund Uganda...
...recently reported that the fencing of the 18,000 acres sanctuary will soon be completed and that the holding bomas for the new rhinos are also nearing completion. The first rhinos are expected by late 2004 and the official opening of the sanctuary is expected by mid 2005, when the relocated rhinos have settled in and overcome the relocation stress.
You can find out more about the Rhino Fund Uganda at Save The Rhino and their own website, Rhino Fund Uganda.
In 1968 more than 100 Northern White Rhino lived in Uganda. The last rhino was seen in 1983. Today 41 Northern White Rhinos are known to exist in the entire world. The only wild population of 30 lives in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are about 11500 Southern White Rhinos living in Africa.

Monday, October 25, 2004

EVENTS - Festival Of Wildlife 2005

Mark Carwardine will be among many appearing at the Festival of Wildlife 2005, in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador from 2nd to 10th April 2005.
Join us for a unique series of talks, presentations, masterclasses and workshops from these renowned wildlife experts in one of the world's finest wildlife locations. The Galapagos Islands, off Ecuador's Pacific Coast, originated from undersea volcanic activity, six million years ago.
...
Hear John Craven talk about wildlife journalism, and Jonathan and Angela Scott recount tales of their travels and photographic trips. Learn about underwater photography and marine wildlife from Mark Carwardine, join award winning television producer Christopher Ralling for tips on wildlife film-making and hear about the life and travels of Charles Darwin.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

KAKAPO NEWS - New Zealand DoC losing battle to save rarest species

This report from the New Zealand Herald has the Department of Conservation losing their battle to save the rarest species in New Zealand, kakapos included of course.
The Department of Conservation is failing to stop the slide to extinction of more than half of New Zealand's rare plants and wildlife.

Data revealed for the first time in the department's annual report to Parliament show DoC is fighting a losing battle.
...
Acutely threatened means at serious risk of imminent extinction and includes the kakapo, black stilt, takahe and orange-fronted parakeet.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

PINK PIGEON - Gerald Durrell Photo Gallery

Quick link to a gallery of Pink Pigeon photographs.

Plus here's a report about Durrell Wildlife's work with the Pink Pigeon (PDF).

KAKAPO WEBSITE - Kiwi Conservation Club

The Kiwi Conservation Club has loads of good stuff about our old friend the Kakapo Parrot
If there was a 'Guiness Book of Bird Records' the kakapo would be a star! The Kakapo is the ...
They have a FULL LIST of ALL the Kakapo Names, and it is up-to-date, because it takes into account the three deaths in July 2004.
In 2001 there were 62 kakapo.
But over the 2001/2002 summer 24 kakapo chicks were born.
Then there were 86 kakapo!
Sadly in July 2004 three kakapo girls died.
So now there are 83.
Here's their page about Kakapo Booming.

And then test yourself on what you've learnt with their Kakapo Quiz.

You can learn more about some of the individual Kakapos at the Kakapo Recovery Programme.

Friday, October 22, 2004

KOMODO DRAGONS - Komodo Dragons and Their Islands

Here's a personal webpage all about Komodo Dragons. The page is a few years old, but it is a nice personal account of a visit to Komodo along with plenty of good photographs.

Interesting to note this....
They used to bring a goat with them to feed to the dragons on the river bank where the lizards gather, but this practice has been discontinued.
The fate of the goat featured heavily in Douglas Adams' chapter on Komodo of course.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

NEWS - Scientist exudes optimism at Chicago Botanic Garden

The online Pioneer Press has this report about Pulitzer Prize winning author and world-renowned scientist Edward O. Wilson and his views on extinction rates. Report
Wilson's optimism as well as his reverence for and delight in all wild organisms from invisible bacteria to the mountain gorilla can be linked to how he grew up.

Born in Alabama, Wilson began exploring nature when he was 8 or 9 years old. He couldn't help sloshing through woods, and peering with magnifying glass at all the tiny critters on top of and inside the soil. And when he was a mere 13 years old, he discovered the fire ant in Alabama, a non-native species that has since disturbed ecosystems in his home state.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

WEBSITE - Adopt a Rodrigues Fruitbat

Last Minute.com Gifts has this unusual gift idea for adopting a Rodrigues Fruitbat at London Zoo.
The bat has to be the all-time coolest pet you could have. With a rather impressive set of choppers in their tiny little gobs and the ability to sleep upside-down, well, you’ve gotta give ‘em some respect for that. Wouldn’t you love to have your own little Batfink? C’mon, get into the Halloween spirit this year and help the Zoological Society of London in their conservation of the Rodrigues Fruit Bat population by adopting one of these cute little critters.

Of course, when you adopt the bat, it’s not advisable that you keep it hanging in your back garden, so we’ll leave the experts to look after them at London Zoo. You’ll receive a free entrance ticket to London Zoo, so you can go along and visit your furry friends.

NEWS - Baby News #2 - Mountain Gorillas

From the staff at DFGFI's Karisoke Research Center, Rwanda, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has this report and baby gorilla pictures on the latest new addition to the wild Mountain Gorilla population.
Pablo's group, one of the three mountain gorilla groups we monitor daily from the Karisoke Research Center, welcomed its 57th member in September, when female Ginseng gave birth to her fourth infant, a boy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

NEWS - Baby News #1 - White Rhino

OK, so it's a Southern White Rhino, not a Northern, but it's cute! Check out the SlideShow of this bouncing 85-pound baby white rhino at Busch Gardens, Tampa FL... NBC5.com has this rhino story

They're also looking for a name, so pop over to www.buschgardens.com to vote! Choose from:
  • Malaika meaning "angel"
  • Naki meaning "first girl"
  • Johari meaning "jewel"
  • Uzuri meaning "beautiful"

NEWS - NZAS employees provide Kakapos a helping hand

Scoop has this article with great news for Kakapos
Support for the Kakapo steps up a gear today with the launch of an active partnership between New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) Ltd and the Kakapo Recovery Team.

NZAS employee Aaron Smith is the first of a series of volunteers who will trade in manufacturing aluminium for two weeks in the rugged bush of Codfish Island looking after kakapo.

...

Kakapo Recovery team leader Paul Jansen sees the inclusion of NZAS staff as providing many advantages for the kakapo recovery programme.

“Creating a stronger link with the Southland community, through local ownership of the programme, and having an even bigger team of dedicated supporters to assist with the birds and island equipment, is fantastic, ” Mr Jansen said.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

EVENTS - The Gorilla Experience

At The Wildlife Art & Conservation Museum, Denver, Colorado, on October 23rd 2004, Dr. Mike Granfield, top primate expert and director of Morris Animal Foundation's Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, will discuss the mountain gorillas' habitat, diet, social structure and survival threats.
It’s a gorilla's life... at The Wildlife Experience. Get a close look at the fascinating and rare mountain gorillas.

[Dr Granfield will] also share what it's like to deliver life-saving medical care to these animals in their natural environment. No mountain gorillas live in captivity, so don't miss this glimpse into their world! The lecture will be held Saturday, October 23rd at 1:00pm at The Wildlife Experience. This is free with museum admission.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

WEBSITE - The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation

Thanks to Harold, who gave me a great list of links to explore...

The first of them is to The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, which has pages on the Rodrigues Fruitbat, and also the Mauritius Kestrel and the Pink Pigeon which had plenty of mentions in the book of course.

I've added these "extra animals" to the side-bar list so we can keep an eye on these important supporting characters from the book.

In 2000, the IUCN classified the Mauritius Kestrel as VU - Vulnerable.
This species has been downgraded from Endangered because it has sustained population increases, owing to intensive conservation efforts. However, it still has a very small population and is thus classified as Vulnerable. With an estimated carrying capacity of only c.1,000 on Mauritius, it is always likely to have a very small population and therefore remain threatened.
In 2000, the IUCN classified the Pink Pigeon as EN - Endangered.
The population of this species has successfully been maintained at over 50 mature individuals since 1993, but over 250 only since 1996. It is therefore downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered, but not yet to Vulnerable. However, it seems doubtful that present populations could be maintained without the current intense management programme and, were management to cease, this species would stand a high risk of extinction. It still has an extremely small population, concentrated in just a few locations, and remains threatened by a continuing decline in the quality of suitable habitat.

NEWS - All hail King Congo

Here's another one of the many articles regarding the new ape reportedly found in the Congo. Herald Sun report
A close and chilling encounter with what is believed to be a new breed of giant killer ape has rocked the science world.

The massive apes live in the darkest reaches of the jungles of the African Congo.

Friday, October 15, 2004

NEWS - Yangtze to be as bad as Yellow River within ten years

Interfax has this report with more devastating consequences for the Baiji Dolphin.
Experts have said that pollution and silt in the Yangtze River are so serious that it is in danger of becoming as bad as the Yellow River within ten years. With the forest on the banks shrinking severely, and with the native species of dolphin, sturgeon and saury probably extinct, life in the river is disappearing, according to experts, and the environment is facing crisis.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

NEWS - Waco's Cameron Park Zoo

Waco's Cameron Park Zoo has received a huge financial boost....
Two Waco philanthropists, Jim and Nell Hawkins, donated $1 million to the zoo Thursday.

It's the largest single donation in the zoo's history. Zoo officials say the money will be used for the Asian forest expansion and will build [an] orangutan [and komodo dragon] exhibit. Hawkins says he did it because it was the right thing to do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

NEWS - Swazi rhino hunts to be permitted

The BBC has this report on the news that Swaziland will be allowing hunting of the Southern White Rhino. Shame!
Swaziland has 61 white rhinos - the second largest land mammal after the elephant - and space is an issue in the small developing country of one million people and rising.

"Our space is limited and our white rhino populations are reaching ecological carrying capacity for the species," Swazi delegate James Reilly said.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

ASTONISHING NEWS - 'New' giant ape found in DR Congo

Truly astonishing report from the BBC today about a 'new' giant ape, reportedly found in DR Congo, home of the Mountain Gorilla.
Scientists believe they have discovered a new group of giant apes in the jungles of central Africa.

The animals, with characteristics of both gorillas and chimpanzees, have been sighted in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to local villagers, the apes are ferocious, and even capable of killing lions.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

NEWS - New Honolulu Zoo Komodo Dragon exhibit

The Star Bulletin has this report on the Komodo Dragon exhibit at Honolulu Zoo.
Five-year-old Tawnie Akasaki peered through a large plate glass window yesterday to get a good view of the Komodo dragons at the Honolulu Zoo.
'Look at the tongue,' said Tawnie to her grandmother Winona Arakawa of Salt Lake as she observed a dragon's forked tongue flick in and out of its mouth.
Here's the zoo's own page about Komodo Dragons which includes some FABULOUS video footage of their baby Komodo Dragons, hatched back in 2000.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

NEWS - What turns on a white rhino?

The New Zealand Herald has this report on a new Rhino dung study.
The aroma of dung could be the ultimate aphrodisiac if you're a white rhinoceros.

Canterbury University masters student Volker Grun has begun a study of white rhinoceros excrement and the effect its smell has on sexual behaviour and attraction.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

NEWS - German scientists successfully inseminate white rhinoceros for first time

TerraDaily has this fabulous report! German scientists have successfully inseminated a Northern White Rhino.
In a world first, German scientists have successfully artificially inseminated a white rhinoceros, a highly endangered species, the Berlin-based Leibniz Institute of Zoology and Research for wild animals announced Monday.

WEBSITE - Kakapo Recovery Programme

I'm pleased to say that The Kakapo Recovery Programme have given me permission to use their nice cartoon Kakapos to link to their site.

If you've not paid a visit to their site yet, I recommend popping over to see what they're up to. They have some videos of Kakapo chicks which really show the dedication involved in this programme.

NEWS - Biodiversity: The sixth great wave

BBC News has this report about current extinction rates.
As part of Planet under pressure, a BBC News Online series looking at some of the biggest environmental problems humanity faces, Alex Kirby considers the current increase in extinction rates.
Komodo Dragons are one of the answers in their tricky online quiz.

TRAVEL - Gorilla Travel Web Site

This site is recommended by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund website. It is designed to help you visit the mountain gorillas of Rwanda whether you join a scheduled safari, need help planning your own personal adventure, or wish to join a DFGFI tour. Gorilla Travel Web Site Homepage

Sunday, October 03, 2004

NEWS - New wildlife trade curbs sought

BBC NEWS has this report
An international conference on wildlife trade has opened in Thailand with calls for stronger curbs on illegal trafficking in rare animals and plants.
They also have a video version of this report, located in the right column of their report.

Friday, October 01, 2004

NEWS - CBS Anchor Seeks Refuge From Reptiles

CBS Early Show's Hannah Storm has a close run in with a Komodo Dragon, among many creatures brought in for the morning show.
The most powerful lizard in the world, the dragon can grow to 10 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds. “I’ve seen 101 pounds of this dragon eat a 90-pound pig in 20 minutes,” Magill said. They are considered an endangered species with only about 5,000 found on the small islands in Indonesia.
Includes great video footage from The Early Show.

EVENTS - The Rhino Ball - October 10, 2004 - Houston, Texas

Support the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) at a concert with Willie Nelson.

The Rhino Ball - October 10, 2004 - Houston, Texas

EVENTS - Woburn Rhino Run

Save the Rhino International has information on the Woburn Rhino Run.
Save the Rhino has once again joined forces with Woburn Safari Park to bring you two challenging events, the Woburn Rhino 10km Run and a 4km Fun Run to be held on 17 October 2004.
There's a 10km run round the Safari Park or a 4km single lap for the entire family to enjoy.

WEBSITE - Andrew's Photoblog: Great Gorilla Run

Andrew's Photoblog has a shot from the recent Great Gorilla Run. Don't forget there's another one of these events taking place in Denver on October 23rd, 2004.