Four-Foot Salamander Arrives in London as Face of New Conservation Effort

Dubbed Professor Wu, the new arrival could help the Zoological Society of London’s efforts to save the critically endangered animal.

by Mary Bates

With his tiny eyes, sly grin, and slimy skin, Professor Wu may sound like an odd poster child.

But the Chinese giant salamander, which recently arrived at the Zoological Society of London’s London Zoo, is the face of a new effort to save the world’s largest amphibians by, in part, working with China’s salamander farmers to discourage hunting and establishing a breeding facility in the country.

Habitat destruction and a Chinese appetite for the creatures has led to an 80 percent decline in their numbers in recent decades, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists them as critically endangered.

The 19-year-old Professor Wu—named after one of the conservation project’s partners in China—is the only Chinese giant salamander in the U.K…

(read more: National Geographic)

photograph by Ben Tapley


Here’s a little teaser for my film, Wild Fish Works, which will premiere with the 2015 @flyfishingfilmtour . Link to trailer in my bio. #WildFishWorks #documentary #Oregon #conservation


Is it ok to paint my turtles shell? Answer: NO! 

I get many asks about painting a tortoise or turtle’s shell. “Whats the big deal? Isn’t it like painting your nails?”


There are several reasons this is extremely detrimental to their well being:

  • You’re blocking UV rays from being absorbed, this impedes their ability to get the needed vitamins for healthy growth from sun/light, etc! Without UVB they aren’t able to metabolize calcium.
  • Chemicals from the paint can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the shell and can taint the water the animal soaks in, being even more directly absorbed into the blood stream.
  • The fumes alone can cause respiratory issues, one of the leading causes of death in turtles and tortoises.
  • For wild turtles and tortoises? You are not only harming them with chemicals and inability to absorb needed vitamins, you are taking away their natural ability to avoid predators. 

These are just some basics on why its simply not ok to paint a turtle or tortoise. We’ve got to remember that the shell isn’t like a “hat” , Turtles and tortoises aren’t living in a cardboard box they walk around wearing. Their shell is like their skin. 

About The Turtles In the photo 

(Source: WTVR.com & Wildlife Center of Virginia)

WAYNESBORO, Va. — Please stop painting turtles. That is the message The Wildlife Center of Virginia has for people who might find a turtle wandering through their yard. The center posted that message online this week after a Lynchburg woman found an adult Eastern Box Turtle covered in pink latex paint.

“Other than the paint, the turtle was in good condition and had no injuries,”  The Wildlife Center said. “Staff [members] began short scrubbing sessions each day to remove the latex paint; within a week, the team had most of the paint removed. The turtle should be able to be released in the spring. Turtles must be released back into their small home range for the best chance of survival.”

The Wildlife Center said it had experience dealing with painted turtles.

“In 2013, a very bright and colorfully painted turtle was admitted from the Natural Chimneys Campground,” the center said.

To hammer home its point, the center created Wilson’s “Turtle Promise.” It urged people to leave turtles alone and not to keep a wild turtle as a pet.

Click here to read more “turtle tips” from the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Wisdom - the World's Oldest Laysan Albatross - Lays an Egg at Midway Atoll



Wisdom can be seen here checking on her newly laid egg. Photo credit: Greg Joder



In these two photos, Wisdom can be seen incubating her egg. Photo credit: Daniel W. Clark/USFWS

At approximately 63 years old, Wisdom, is the world’s oldest known, banded, wild bird. In these photos, we can see Wisdom just after she laid her newest egg. Wisdom returns to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial each year to nest and raise her chicks. 

Laysan albatrosses mate for life and Wisdom has raised between 30 to 35 chicks since being banded in 1956 at an estimated age of 5.  Laying only one egg per year, a breeding albatross will spend a tiring 365 days incubating and raising a chick. 

The Refuge and Memorial is home to 70% of the world’s Laysan albatross and is the largest colony of multiple albatross species in the world! 

For more information on this amazing long-lived matriarch of the seabird world go to:http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Midway_Atoll/Whats_New_Wisdom.html

Read about Wisdom reuniting with her mate this year

Read about Wisdom’s return last year

WATCH Wisdom lay her egg!!

Read more about Wisdom

See more photos of Wisdom

Learn more about Laysan albatross on Midway 

Learn more about the Pacific Region


Baby Pangolin Born at Taipei Zoo

On September 30th, the Taipei Zoo welcomed the birth of a female Pangolin, named “Gung-wu”.

The tiny Pangolin, born with eyes half open, began crawling, within an hour of birth, in search of nourishment from her mother. Although the Pangolin mother was a willing participant, she was unable to provide an adequate supply of milk for the new baby.

Zoo staff were patient with the new mother, but when the baby began to lose weight, the decision was made to intervene on behalf of the newborn. Now, zoo keepers provide 24 hour care and feeding for “Gung-wu”, and her weight and health have stabilized…

Read more: ZooBorns

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you that Angalifu passed away Sunday, December 14. He was 44 years old and under veterinary care for geriatric conditions for some time. With Angalifu’s passing, only 5 northern white rhinos are left on the planet, including Nola, our elderly female. The loss of this animal is a tragedy, so we ask you to share condolences with our staff. (photo: Helene Hoffman)


Located off the southeast coast of Alaska, Bristol Bay is known for its pristine waters, world-class fisheries and stunning beauty. Bristol Bay’s natural beauty helps drive the local economy through tourism, and commercial and recreational fishing. Bristol Bay provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Stellar’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales.

Today, President Obama designated the waters of Bristol Bay as off limits from future oil and gas development — a step that will help the region’s economic and cultural heritage. Watch this video to see this action is important.

Read Secretary Jewell’s response: http://on.doi.gov/1GNfmuq

Top photo of the Unimak Island, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge by Kristine Sowl, usfws.

Bottom photo of a humpback whale surrounded by Shearwaters by Brenda Rone, NOAA.


A New England Aquarium Volunteer created a parody of Disney’s “Let It Go” in an effort to raise money for the institution’s Boston Marathon Team and it’s easily the greatest thing on the internet right now!

Saving the ‘I’iwi

With its fiery-red body, quick black wings, and long, curved, salmon-colored bill, the ‘i‘iwi — or scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper (Vestiaria coccinea) — is one of the most recognizable birds of Hawaii.

But although it was once widespread across the islands, this beautiful bird is now in danger of immediate or near-term extinction across the whole western portion of its habitat. The spread of avian malaria and avian pox has limited its range to high-elevation areas where it’s too cool for mosquitoes to deliver the diseases, and as climate change pushes colder temperatures farther and farther upslope, the bird will have fewer and fewer high-mountain refuges — and will eventually run out of room altogether.

The ‘i‘iwi is also threatened by agricultural and urban development, as well as nonnative species that also contribute to habitat destruction and facilitate the spread of mosquitoes…

(read more: Center for Biological Diversity)

photograph by Jack Jeffrey