Kangaroo youngsters hanging indoors during the rain at a sanctuary


Florida Scrub Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) are found in upland scrub ecosystems unique to Florida ( also one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America). These area are the remnants of ancients dune when what is now Florida first appeared above sea level This ecosystem is one of the few in Florida that rarely floods, so it was the first to be developed for citrus groves and later for housing developments. Currently, habitat loss is still the main threat to Florida Scrub Jays but due to fragmented population, genetic diversity is likely to become a major issue.

Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary

Rockledge, FL

anonymous asked:

Zoos and Aquariums do more to protect species in the wild than any other program, and once a wild habitat is gone it's GONE. Captivity is often their only hope until we can rehabilitate them somewhere. Why do so many people who call themselves vegan have zero understanding of how any of this works? : /

Hi, alumni from the Conservation Biology and Ecology program at Arizona State University here. Let me break it down for you from an evidence-based perspective, since my being vegan leads you to believe I’m just talking out of my ass or something.

In not one of my classes was it ever stated that zoos are fundamental to wildlife conservation. In fact, my biology conservation professor said captivity in zoos is very antithetical to the physical and mental health of large land mammals, especially elephants and big cats.

Animals, especially far-roaming species, exhibit stereotypical behavior in order to cope with their cramped, unnatural living conditions (i.e. bar biting, circling, pacing).

Rehabilitation programs only work when endangered species have an environment to return to (in many cases, they do not), and the most successful programs I have seen are in closed facilities - not zoos open to the public.

Human beings are causing the sixth mass extinction event, and zoos are not going to help stop global warming, deforestation, ocean acidification, or poaching. Zoos aren’t even a temporary stop-gap solution. It’s a feel-good option for people who want to stare at wild animals in an artificial environment.

Unlike wildlife sanctuaries, which put the animals’ welfare first and foremost, zoos place a large amount of importance on giftshop and ticket sales, and that prioritizes species that are easily identifiable to the public - not animals who are the most threatened.

Captive-breeding in zoos will only go so far, and it is estimated that relying on captive-bred animals only (and not capturing more from the wild) will only allow 100-years of breeding before the species becomes so inbred they are no longer genetically viable.

Zoos have been known to kill “surplus” animals.

The vast majority of zoos DO NOT release animals back into the wild.

Sometimes zoos sell “surplus” animals to circuses, canned hunting facilities, or the exotic pet trade.

Chances are, many of you have seen Blackfish and boycott SeaWorld. While that is admirable, zoos are simply an extension of the captive animal entertainment industry. Some zoos even make their animals perform tricks to the detriment of the animals.

Do Zoos Really Teach Visitors Anything?

Zoos teach young children, as well as adults, that it is acceptable to keep animals in cages and pens for the rest of their lives, rather than live in their natural habitats.

Zoos are inherently cruel because profits come first, and animals cannot consent to captivity.

The fact of the matter is, you don’t need a BS in Conservation Biology to understand how placing wild animals in pens for us to pay money to look at sounds dubious and suspect. We need to use our critical thinking skills and stop being dogmatically worshipful of these institutions that profit from the captivity of sentient, living beings.


Wolf and elk in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Pictures by Sergey Gaschak.


After 300,000 people had to abondon Chernobyl after the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, wildlife have been thriving in the area - including large packs of wolves. Fields, villages and towns are replaced with forests and wetlands, and the fallout zone is now the largest wildlife sanctaury in Europe. 

Despite the radioactivity in the area, animals seem to be as good as unafected, and the wildlife of Chernobyl is considered healthy. Journalist Mary Mycio writes:

According to all the population counts performed by Ukraine and Belarus over the past 27 years, there is enormous animal diversity and abundance. The prevailing scientific view of the exclusion zone has become that it is an unintentional wildlife sanctuary. This conclusion rests on the premise that radiation is less harmful to wildlife populations than we are.”

Read the rest of Mary Mycio’s story about Chernobyl’s wildlife

Watch the rest of Sergey Gaschak’s gallery of Chernobyl’s wildlife


Video of a dinosaur-sized alligator in Florida is going viral — and people are freaking out

  • On Monday, Lakeland, Florida, police uploaded shared video colossal alligator at a wildlife sanctuary, and it’s sending the internet into a fit.
  • The gator’s size has led some to suspect that the footage is fake.
  • But, in keeping with all that makes Florida bizarre and great, of course the gator is real — and locals call it “Humpback.” Read more

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Tortoise petting


Part 1 of 1 in the “Wetland” set, part 19 of 19 of the Maui photo series.

What kind of DUC employee would I be if I didn’t visit one of the few natural wetlands on Maui? Keālia Pond Wildlife Sanctuary has undergone restoration to try and entice some of the rare birds to return. It was interesting to see the differences between a coastal salt marsh and the freshwater wetlands I’m used to working with at home.

I spotted a pair of mallard ducks, with the male in the middle of moulting from his eclipse plumage into his breeding plumage. It’s possible that one or both of this pair have hybridised with the closely related and highly endangered Hawaiian duck, or Koloa. Hybridization has weakened the genetic pool of the Hawaiian duck and most of the ones found on Maui are not the true species.

This was our final stop before we returned home to Winnipeg, and this is where we returned our leis to Pele.

Sadly, this marks the end of the Maui photo series. I hope everyone has enjoyed these photos. If you have any questions about what you’ve seen in these posts or about Maui in general, please don’t be shy!