For the 1st time ever, San Diego Zoo Global
researchers have an up-close, canopy view of a harpy eagle nest in
Peru! Harpy eagles split parenting duties, so this clip features the male
watching over his newborn chick. Called
the “HarpyCam,” this new camera documents the daily behaviors of a
monogamous pair—male Baawaja and female Kee Wai—and their newly hatched
chick. Researchers from San Diego Zoo Global have been working with
local partners at Rainforest Expeditions Lodges to manage the video feed as part of a larger citizen science project, AmazonCam Tambopata. Details: http://bit.ly/HarpyRE17
<b>Jake:</b> From now on, we will be using code names. You can address me as Eagle One. Katana Chick, code name, "Been There, Done That".<p/><b>Katana Chick:</b> ???<p/><b>Jake:</b> MC is "Currently Doing That".<p/><b>MC:</b> *high fives Jake*<p/><b>Jake:</b> Zahra is "It Happened Once in a Dream".<p/><b>Zahra:</b> *winks*<p/><b>Jake:</b> Craig, code name, "If I Had To Pick a Dude".<p/><b>Craig:</b> *smiles*<p/><b>Jake:</b> Sean is... Eagle Two.<p/><b>Sean:</b> Oh thank God.<p/></p>
Hello! To start off your Ambassador work, can you tell us about some of the wildlife in your country? Thank you! (If you would like a different question, let me know)!
As a former Zoology student, I don’t think you could have started me off with a better question than this one!
So to start off, Irish wildlife could generally be considered to be pretty similar with what one might expect to find on the European continent. With a few differences of course. Ireland is located on an island and although it has known an insular existence for a very long time, Ireland was originally connected to Great Britain and the European mainland by a land bridge. However it is thought that this land bridge disappeared around 14,000 BCE due to rising sea levels. As a consequence, not all fauna that is native to continental Europe managed to cross into Ireland.
For example, out of 60 mammal species recorded in Ireland, only 26 of them are actually native to the country. All others were recently introduced, either accidentally (brown rat, bank vole) or purposefully (rabbit, fallow deer).
Extinctions are never nice to talk about, but I felt it’s still an interesting subject to discuss. Due to Ireland’s location during the Ice Age, it was home to a plethora of animal species that are today either regionally extinct from Ireland or have become completely extinct. Wooly mammoths used to be present in Ireland (and were apparently still around when Newgrange was built) along with the Irish elk, reindeer, lynx, Arctic fox, lemming, and the spotted hyena. Brown bear also used to exist in Ireland before becoming extinct 12,000 years ago and interestingly enough, genetic testing seems to indicate that at least some polar bears today are descended from a female brown bear that was from Ireland. (it appears that polar bears and brown bears in Ireland frequently interbred with each other)
More recent extinctions include the great auk (1834), grey whale (1600s) and wildcat (1800s). The grey wolf, one of the few native species of Ireland, was fairly widespread in the country up to the 1700s. (apparently wolves were so abundant that a few shocked Englishmen gave the nickname “Wolfland” to Ireland) Regarding it as a pest, English lords decided that it needed to be exterminated and put in place a policy where monetary reward was offered for killing wolves. It wasn’t very long until the last wolf was killed in 1786 by the farmer John Watson in Ballydarton, Co. Carlow.
Some of the native mammal species that can be found in Ireland are the following: red fox, hedgehog, badger, hare, otter, stoat, red squirrel, and the pygmy shrew. Many more mammal species were introduced to Ireland over the centuries, such as the rabbit which was introduced by the Normans in the 12th century and the grey squirrel which was introduced in 1911. Unfortunately some of the introduced mammal species have a negative impact on the native fauna, such as the grey squirrel which could potentially push the red squirrel to extinction by outcompeting it and by being a carrier of a disease that is fatal to their smaller red cousin.
Among the marine mammals, Ireland has seals and whales that are either permanent residents or migratory. Of the seals, the two most common species are the common seal and the grey seal. Other seal species and the walrus can be spotted along the Irish coasts but it is only very occasionally that this occurs. Ireland also has various species of dolphins and whales, the most famous example being Fungie the Dingle Dolphin, a bottlenose dolphin who has been around since 1983. Fungie is best known for his friendliness towards humans and is often seen in the Dingle harbour.
A tidbit that I find to be highly interesting is that despite the fact that the red deer is a native species of Ireland due to the attested presence of the it during the Ice Age, the red deer of today isn’t actually descended of that original population. Genetic testing showed that the original red deer population became extinct after the end of the Ice Age but the red deer was subsequently reintroduced 5,000 years ago after Neolithic people brought it with them when they migrated to Ireland. The boar is another example of a species dying out and being reintroduced to Ireland centuries later.
The only native land reptile present in Ireland is the viviparous lizard (or common lizard), the term “viviparous” meaning that it gives birth to live young rather than laying eggs like the majority of reptiles. Another land reptile that has been seen in Ireland is the slow-worm, though it is believed to have been illegally introduced in the 1970s. Other than that, Ireland has five marine turtles species that are often sighted off the west coast of Ireland though they don’t tend to come ashore.
There are no snakes in Ireland. A popular myth claims that this was due to the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, chasing all snakes out of Ireland and into the sea. Of course the story has never been believed to be true because Saint Patrick’s predecessor, Saint Palladius, had noted decades earlier that there were no snakes in Ireland. This is most likely due to Ireland losing its land bridge long before snakes migrated to the north of Europe after the end of Ice Age.
Only three amphibian species are native to Ireland: the European brown frog, the smooth newt, and the natterjack toad. What is curious about the frog is that it is often questioned if it is native to Ireland at all. No mention of frogs in Ireland was made until the 12th century, leading some to speculate that the Normans introduced the frog to Ireland (as they did with the rabbit). Others speculate that the frog could have been introduced as late as the 18th century thanks to an English naturalist who participated in a survey on Irish flora and fauna and allegedly placed imported frog spawn in a ditch after failing to find any native frogs.
There are approximately 400 bird species in Ireland, many of which are migratory such as the swallow. The most widespread of bird species in Ireland are the European robin, wren, blackbird, starling, blue tit, great tit, and the common chaffinch.
Many conservation projects have been attempting to reintroduce certain bird species that used to be in Ireland but became regionally extinct. Some cases have known success, like the white-tailed eagle which was reintroduced to Ireland in 2007 after being absent for 200 years. The golden eagle was reintroduced to Ireland in 2001 after being extinct for 90 years. It wouldn’t be until 2007 that the first golden eagle chick would be born in Ireland. It is planned to attempt to reintroduce the common crane to Ireland in the future. However some bird species such as the osprey and marsh harrier have been returning to Ireland of their own accord.
About 375 fish species are present in Ireland’s coastal waters and a further 40 freshwater species live in Ireland’s lakes and rivers. Fishing is a fairly popular activity in Ireland and attracts many tourists. Some popular fishes to catch are the red sea bream, cod, mackerel, rainbow trout, roach, pollock, and the Atlantic salmon. (although you need a licence to fish Atlantic salmon) Other notable fish species found near Ireland are: basking shark, hagfish, cuckoo wrasse, ocean sunfish, boarfish, conger eel, and thresher shark.
It is estimated that there are 11,500 species of insects in Ireland, though there is a likelihood that there are far more than that. Among these, some notable invertebrates are: freshwater pearl mussel, freshwater crayfish, Kerry slug, marsh fritillary butterfly, white prominent, and diving bell spider.
“I just don’t see why you’re that into him,” your life-long friend and coworker, Andrew, adamantly protested while stocking up for tonight’s eventual shit-show, “I mean, he kind of seems like a douche,” he added, while folding the napkins for each sumptuous place setting, while you began to assort the name cards. You arduously took out both Mr. and Mrs. Hummels name cards and placed them next to each other.
“Yeah,” you half-heartedly confessed, “It’s more of just a physical relationship,” you lied. But that couldn’t be further from the truth of the situation. From the way he vehemently despised when you watched Game of Thrones without him, to the way you two had ‘pizza and chill’ nights, things were never just purely physical. Granted the age gap between you two raised eyebrows, and his marital status didn’t help your circumstance, you couldn’t help but feel incomplete without him by your side.
“Just try and relax tonight,” Andrew cautioned as he left to re-stock the bar with Grey Goose, “And don’t let that asshole fuck you over from getting a bomb-ass tip.”
As each minute in the hour achingly passed, you became increasingly nervous anticipating the impending arrival of Bayern Munich. ‘He probably won’t even acknowledge your existence,’ you deliberated to yourself as you mindlessly shined the silverware, ‘you were eternally going to be his designated side chick.’
“The eagle has landed, I repeat the eagle has landed,” your manager hissed authoritatively at his dinner shift employees, engendering quizzical looks from his audience. “Didn’t anybody read the emails?” your manager pleaded while repetitively tapping on his clipboard.
“I can promise you Jerry, nobody read your stupid emails,” Andrew remarked while taking his place behind the bar, and exchanging mutual ‘I-hate-him’ glances with you.
“Anyways,” Jerry protested, tactically ignoring Andrews remarks, “The eagle is Bayern Munich, and they are here now!” Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski, and Manuel Neuer were the first of the bavarians to boisterously enter your restaurant, as Jerome Boateng and Philipp Lahm followed suit.
“Where the hell is he?’ you thought to yourself as Andrew gently nudged your arm and mouthed, “Is that him and his wife?” It took you all of one glance to be able to identify Mats. All you had to do was look for a man with a 6’3 muscular frame, hickory brown curls, and who was decked out in an all-black suit from Hugo Boss.
“Yep that’s him,” you dejectedly sighed to Andrew as he hastily grabbed your hand.
“Hey, cheer up,” he surmised, “Just think about that tip at the end of the day.” You smiled half-heartedly to the former basketball-player-turned-bartender, and confidently strided towards Bayern Munich’s extensive table.
“Good evening,” you announced vociferously to the assemblage of people. “My name’s y/n and I will be taking care of you all tonight,” you added despite Mats’s abrupt coughing fit in the corner. “Can I get you all anything to drink besides water?” you questioned, failing to miss a beat of the conversation.
“I’ll take one of the cranberry juices, please,” Robert’s wife happily piped, provoking more people to request drink orders.
As you had finished taking everyone’s drink orders except Mats, you turned to him and articulately speculated, “Can I get you anything to drink besides water Sir,” causing him fervidly to shake his head in resistance.
As you departed from the table, you intentionally used the positouch system behind the bar to give Andrew synopsis of the situation at hand. “How’s it going out there, kid?” Andrew mused while watching you punch-in the drink orders.
“Not good,” you admitted, “but things could always be worse.” You felt pairs of eyes read the drink orders over your shoulder, precipitating the resonant vibrations of the blender as the liquids were being mixed. You scrutinized every tender touch and each romantic gesture between Mats and his wife, evoking a wave impassioned jealousy to overcome you.
“You know what Andrew,” you distinctly avowed while loading the alcoholic beverages onto your platter, “I’m done with him.” Before Andrew could reply, you had already migrated back over to the table, and were in the midst of unloading each drink to their respective guest. “Have you all had enough time to look over the menu?” you enthusiastically asked while Mats continued bypass any glances that could lead to locking onto your gaze. Suddenly, you heard the gravelly sound of a voice you could make from a mile away.
“May-um- I discuss the payment for this dinner with you in private?” Mats questioned amidst his teammates resonant sounds of his teams disapproval.
“You can’t pay for this dinner yourself,” Thomas declared spiritedly while the rest of the Bavarians voiced their approval of Thomas’s sentiments.
“But I want to,” Mats concluded while hastily getting up from his placing a hand cordially on your shoulder. “Now me and- I’m sorry what’s your name?
“y/n,” you cheered, trying to drown out the compulsion to slap Mats.
“Ah yes, y/n- are going to discuss the bill,” he finished, ushering you swiftly to the closed-off server station near the staircase. As you two walked towards the staircase, Mats continuously shot you I-cant-believe-your-here glares, despite the fact that this was, your work. “Three questions,” Mats spat as he closed the discreetly closed the door quietly behind the two of you, “One, what the hell are you doing here? Two, why the fuck are you talking to that creep behind the bar? And three, why the hell didn’t you warn me?”
You bit your bottom lip in exasperation, and shook you head in disbelief. “How about? One, this is my work. I’ve only told you, I don’t know, maybe seven times? Two, that creep’s name is Andrew, and he also happens to be my best friend,” you exaggerated. “And three, I just found out today, from the fucking hostess, that the entirety of Bayern Munich was showing up for dinner, so don’t pin the blame on me,” you cautioned. As you reached for the door, Mats sidestepped you, using his six foot body to serve as a blockade.
“Best friend, huh?” Mats chuckled while he rolled his eyes, dissipating what was left of your tolerance for his demeanor.
“Yeah, he is my fucking best friend, Mats. And you know what? Your opinion of him has no relevance to this discussion.” you unwaveringly asserted causing Mats to interject.
“Then your best friend is Munich’s leading drug pusher,” he said matter-of-factly. You raised your eyebrows at him while Mats smirked. You hated how he was able read every social situation and how he could pick up on aspects that what to him, seemed like, “the most obvious things.” “See,” he pointed out, as the two of you stood in propinquity, watching Andrew’s actions through the crack of the door. Andrew gave his surroundings a once over, before sliding a ziplock bag filled with a powdery and porcelain substance towards the man sitting across the bar.
The muscles of Mats’s arms wrapped possessively around your waist, as he pressed the flesh of his lips against the nerve endings on your neck, eliciting undercurrent moans from your behalf. “Mats,” you stammered, as he began running the edge of his teeth against your sensitive skin, “We can’t, um, do this here,” you painfully rationalized.
“We can’t?” Mat’s questioned, while gradually sinking his teeth onto the delicate surface between your shoulder and your jaw.
“I could get fired,” you croaked, while sinking the cusp of your nails into his arms.
“Okay,” Mats acquiesced, playing with locks of hair in your ponytail. “But,” he spitefully whispered into your ear, “I don’t want to see you talking to that low-life again.” “If you do,” he cautioned, while aggressively nipping the sensitive portion of your neck, “there will be repercussions.”
“Really?” you taunted incredulously while Mats began to fix the collar of your shirt. “And what would those said repercussions entail?” you tempted coyly.
“Let’s just say, you have to wait until we get home to find out,” Mats remarked libidinously, as he helped you out of the server station. As the two of you parted, you returned to Andrew and began eagerly chatting with him about each player’s ridiculously expensive meals, with a simper grin on your face.
The Eagle Huntress, a documentary film set in Mongolia directed by Otto Bell and starring teenager Aisholpan Nurgaiv, debuted Sunday at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. With its focus on a charismatic girl who has accomplished something other women have not in 2,000 years — she hunts on horseback with the help of a golden eagle — the film has earned standing ovations.
Aisholpan’s family members are nomadic Kazakh herders of the Altai mountains region who base their subsistence economy on herding cattle and goats. An essential supplement to the herders’ livelihood comes from the practice of training golden-eagle chicks to become their close partners in the hunting of foxes and other small mammals used for food and clothing.
This specialized hunting practice — woven into the fabric of everyday life and celebrated at regional competitions — has been an entirely male endeavor throughout its history, passed down in families from generation to generation.
Now, just as climate change threatens this way of life and as only 250 eagle hunters remain in Mongolia, Aisholpan is coming to the world’s attention as the first woman eagle huntress.
Update on the baby northern goshawk shown in a previous post (and video). This is a photo taken by a friend when the baby goshawk, now named Havoc, met a baby desert eagle owl (Bubo ascalaphus; also known as the pharaoh eagle owl or Savigny’s eagle owl), owned by a different friend of ours.
They don’t seem to know what to make of one another, but one thing is for certain, they are both freaking adorable. I can’t get over it.
As you can see, Havoc is getting his feathers in. I’ll try to keep you all updated as I either take more photos of my own or my friend sends them :)
Wildfangs around the world: This badass 13 year old is one of first golden eagle huntresses to participate in what has been a primarily male activity in Mongolia for 2,000 years. Photo by Asher Svidensky.