instagram

natgeo Video by @joelsartore. An endangered horned marsupial frog at the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center. These frogs have completely disappeared from many of their original habitats. It is thought that this species is extremely susceptible to chytridiomycosis, an infectious disease in amphibians caused by the chytrid fungus that is wiping out frogs in Latin America. This individual is part of a conservation breeding colony maintained by the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project @amphibianrescue in Panama. To see still images of this frog check out @joelsartore.

The bumblebee was officially added to the endangered species list.

 Please:

  • Go plant an organic flower native to wherever you are
  • Leave your “weeds” alone they probably aren’t hurting anything
  • Stop using/buying Roundup and all other insecticides, herbicides, pesticides. 
  • If you have a bee problem (which almost never happens) call a local beekeeper! They will remove them safely free of charge
  • Bumblebees usually nest underground and just wanna be left alone! They won’t hurt you. To prevent destroying their habit during hibernation, avoid mowing yards until April or May. If you do mow, raise the blades to the highest setting

Please save my fat clumsy fuzzy friends I love them and they’re very good pollinators.

Actually you know what. Just don’t mow. Get rid of your lawnmower. Turn your whole yard into a wildflower field or an edible garden. Lawns are the invention of the upper class to show wealth through wasted plots of grass that is meticulously tended for no reason other than to be grass. It’s literally an empty plot of land they kept because they had so much money they didn’t need it to grow food. Not using a yard as just a yard is an act of rebellion.

One of the main industries still supporting lawns is chemical pest control companies, and they’re also responsible for the insecticides that crashed the bird populations in the 40s and 50s as well as a lot of what’s killing bees and butterflies now. The herbicides they produce specifically targets “bad” plants like dandelions, buttercups, and clovers, which are plants bees rely on for early spring feeding. Grass is just grass; it would be great for feeding small mammals if people would let it grow more than three inches, but they won’t.

So, yeah. Kill lawnmower culture. Plant some native flowers. Grow some vegetables and fruit trees. Put out bird feeders and bee sugar spots and homes for both. Be kind to bugs and birds and rabbits and opossums and whoever else might wander by. Make your neighborhood a lot more beautiful.

Parrot of the Week 6

If you want to be tagged in future updates or if you want to request a species, send me an ask!

Kākāpō

Scientific Name: Strigops habroptilus

Classification: Kingdom: Animalia > Phylum: Chordata > Class: Aves > Order: Psittaciformes >  Family: Strigopidae > Genus: Strigops > Species: habroptilus

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered; there are 153 as of 2016

Other Common Names: Night parrot, owl parrot, tarapo, tarepo

Average Length (wild): 23 – 25 in, 58 – 64 cm

Average Weight (wild): 2 – 9 lb, 0.95 – 4 kg

Originally posted by jesuisbavarde

Average Lifespan: 58 years, but have potential to live into their 90s. Their exact lifespan is unknown. Researchers in the recovery program will know when the kakapo hatched in the recovery effort die of old age, which could be decades from now.

(Above: Historic range; Below: Current range)

Native Range: Used to live from the far north of the North Island to the south of the South Island. Now they are only found on offshore islands that are protected areas without introduced predators. It is not believed that there are any left on the main land of New Zealand, when the recovery program began they were all captured from the Fiordland National Park and brought to protected zones. They currently live on Codfish Island (Whenua Hau), Little Barrier Island (Hauturu ao Toi), and Anchor Island.

Naturalized Range: N/A

Natural Habitat: Formally from sea level to near tops of mountains. They are ground dwellers who live in forest substrate and scrubland.

Flock Size: They are solitary, gathering only to breed

Originally posted by svartvitkatt

Call: Loud screeching “skraark

Breeding: They do not breed every year, as they will only breed when there is enough rimu fruit.

Breeding season starts around December and lasts until April

They engage in “lek” breeding, which is when the males compete for female attention. They are the only parrot species and New Zealand bird species to do this.

The male inflates like a balloon, and then emits a low boom which can be heard from up to 5 km away. This lets any females in the area know that he is ready to mate

After 20 -30 booms, the male emits a high-pitched ‘ching’, which pinpoints his position, allowing females to find him

This booming and chinging can last for 8 hours nonstop every night for 2-3 months during breeding season

(Above: Booming Sketch)

Nesting: The female lays 1-4 eggs. They are similar in size to chicken eggs and will hatch after 30 days. The female raises them by herself, and has to leave the nest at night to search for food. After 10 weeks, the fledglings leave the nest, but may still be fed by their mother for up to 6 months.

Wild Diet: The berries of the Rimu plant (see picture) are their favorite food. They also eat parts of other native plants, including the fruits, seeds, bark, bulbs, leaves, stems, mosses, ferns, fungi, and roots. Species include pink pine, stinkwood, Hall’s totara, and mountain flax. When food species that are important to their diet become abundant, they feed exclusively on it.

    Currently, they are also fed pellets, freeze-dried and frozen fruit, walnuts, and pine conelets by the recovery effort.

Sexually Dimorphic: Yes, the males are larger

Description (wild): The upper side of their body is green with random black, brown, and yellow barring and mottling. Their underparts are a yellow-green and have irregular yellow and brown barring. The face is yellow-brown and the beak is grey and smaller in females. The primary wing feathers are tipped with yellow in males and green and brown in females. The tail is green and brown with yellow and black barring and flecks.

Color Mutations: N/A

Noise Level: Loud

Talking Ability: N/A

Personality: They are nocturnal and solitary and roost on the ground or in trees during the day. When disturbed, they freeze, trying to blend in with their background.

Originally posted by biomorphosis

Behavioral Concerns: They are not equipped to deal with human intrusion and introduced predators, which caused their numbers to decline rapidly. By 1970, there were only 18 males left in Fiordland. In 1977, a small population of both males and females were found.

Health Concerns: Recently there has been an increase in cases of “crusty butt”, which is a viral infection that causes the cloaca to become inflamed, and presents like severe dermatitis. 

It is still unknown what is causing the virus and if it is infectious. There has been one death due to this infection, and treatment, a topical cream, seems to only help some individuals. 

As of now, it is only found on Codfish Island, and has been since 2002. 

It is being taken very seriously and is being closely monitored, with research being done to learn more about it.

Aviculture: N/A

History in Captivity: Some young chicks are raised in captivity as part of a Conservation attempt to save the species. Conservation and recovery of this species has been going one since 1977, when a population of both females and males were found on Stewart Island.

Fun Facts: They are the largest parrot species in the world (by weight) and possibly the oldest living bird!

Originally posted by welcometoyouredoom

Sirocco, a male kakapo born March 23, 1997, was raised in captivity due to a illness that required he be hand raised and quarantined from other kakapo. He now thinks he’s human and is a conservation ambassador for the kakapo. 

He proved that kakapo can swim, after deciding to join one of the rangers’ family who were swimming in the ocean. He jumped off the jetty and paddled around for a bit before going back to shore, completely nonchalant. 

He is also the kakapo who made his species famous after “shagging” Mark Cawardine on the BBC series “Last Chance to See”. 

You can follow him on twitter @Spokesbird

Originally posted by jerkandcry

Tags: @thescorpionqueen

WORLD TURTLE DAY

The purpose of World Turtle Day is to “increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive”.

Here are a couple of ways that turtles are getting help.


How are these endangered baby sea turtles finding their way home? Mostly by themselves, but they get by with a little help from their friends :D From @itsokaytobesmart

Turtles grow up without parents, which might sound lonely. But for threatened baby turtles raised in a zoo it’s an advantage: they can learn to catch crickets all by themselves. There’s a paradox, though. When they are ready to leave the nursery, there is little wilderness where they can make a home.

From @kqedscience‘s DEEP LOOK

In Honor of Earth Day 2017: PBS Nature’s Ask Box is now open for the next round of Tumblr’s IssueTime on Conservation and Climate Change!

NATURE  is so excited to work with Tumblr and the wonderful scientists, biologists and filmmakers who’ve agreed to be on our panel so that you can learn more about the environmental issues we’re currently facing.  Dig deeper into the issues with full episodes of NATURE, now streaming!

The Panelists:

Arnaud  Desbiez  is a conservation biologist who has been conducting research in the Brazilian Pantanal since 2002. He has worked on topics ranging from sustainable use of  resources  to  species  ecological  research and community  development  programs. In  the  Brazilian  Pantanal,  his  work  focused  on  the interaction  between  native  and alien  species, the sustainable  use  of  forage  resources  and  the  ecology  of  several mammal species.   In 2010 he started and now coordinates the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project. Arnaud is featured in our most recent episode, Hotel Armadillo.

Patrick Gonzalez is Principal Climate Change Scientist of the U.S. National Park Service and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. A forest ecologist, he conducts applied research on climate change and works with national parks to adapt resource management to climate change. Patrick has conducted and published field research on climate change in Africa, Latin America, and the United States and has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organization awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Watch our recent episode about the challenges facing Yosemite, now streaming!

Chris Morgan is an ecologist, conservationist, educator, TV host/narrator and film producer specializing in international bear research and conservation. For more than 20 years, he has worked as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide and environmental educator on every continent where bears exist. Chris  has narrated 13 films for Nature and was host and narrator for Siberian Tiger Quest as well as being the featured character in Nature’s three-part series ‘Bears of the Last Frontier.’ In 2015, he was also host and narrator for Nature’s Three-part ‘Animal Homes’ series and was featured in ‘The Last Orangutan Eden.’ Learn more about Chris’ story with this interview we conducted with him.

Learn More about Chris

Joe Pontecorvo is an award-winning producer, writer, and cinematographer. For the past two decades, he has traveled the globe; tracking Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East, living among grizzlies in the wilds of Alaska, and following orangutans through Indonesia’s peat swamp forest. All told, he has produced 14 broadcast documentaries for multiple networks, including National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and PBS. For his most recent project before ‘Yosemite,’ PBS Nature’s ‘Snow Monkeys,’ Joe and his wife, Nim Pontecorvo, spent nearly two years filming a troop of Japanese macaques in Japan’s Shiga Highlands. Go behind-the-scenes into the making of that film here.

Learn More about Joe

Happy Earth Day! Check back Saturday for answers! 

5

In case you’ve ever wondered what zoos do for reptile conservation, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans has a fantastic breeding project going on. A large chunk of their reptile house is dedicated to the Louisiana pine snake. These cages are simple, and they all have two snakes in them right now- because it’s breeding season. See, the Louisiana pine snake is one of the rarest snakes in North America. It is extremely threatened by habitat loss and development, and so it has a Species Survival Plan in place to help protect it as a species.

See those enclosures? Each of those is a temporary home for a snake not on exhibit. Each of those represents a healthy adult who could potentially breed. Each of those cages houses precious genetic information. The captive population of Louisiana pine snakes is low- it started with less than 100 individuals- and only four zoos have gotten them to successfully breed, the Audubon Zoo being one of them. Females only lay three to five eggs per year, and so every potential baby snake is important. If you look at the first picture up top, you’ll see some of the things the zoo records about each snake. They note where the snake came from, how they were hatched, how old they are, and the locality. This helps ensure that the gene pool is as diverse as possible. 

But this isn’t just ex situ conservation! Several hatchlings are released each year into a protected habitat. The zoos’ collective goal is to establish a self-sustaining population in a restored habitat where the species has been long extirpated. Eventually, the pine forests of Louisiana might see this beautiful snake slithering around- which wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for captive breeding efforts! 

Updated visalization of every Vaquita left on Earth

There are supposed to be 5000 of them. Now there are 30.

What has been done so far has not worked, including the ban on gill nets, and the capture effort that is coming will probably be far too late.

This is humanity’s fault.

China for pushing the market for totoaba swim bladders, Mexico for allowing it until this point, and the rest of us for not stepping up until they are at death’s door.

This species will most likely be gone in one or two years, and it will be the second cetacean species to die out in a little over ten years, the second in the entire 200 000 year history of the human species.