The term “aardvark” comes from the Afrikaans meaning “earth pig” or “ground pig”.  It has also been colloquially called “African ant bear” or “Cape anteater”.  In reality, however, it is related to neither pigs or anteaters or bears.  It is a completely unique mammal, the most evolutionarily distinct mammal in the world.


Rare Sumatran rhino thought extinct seen for the first time in 40 years

On Tuesday, the World Wide Fund announced on Facebook that the first sighting of a Sumatran rhino in 40 years has occurred in Indonesian Borneo. "This unprecedented discovery and unparalleled operation boosts our hope to save one of the most endangered species and an iconic symbol of the majestic Asian rainforests,“ Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International said. Action is being taken to ensure the species’ survival.

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Cu Rua, the world’s most important turtle, has died

Cu Rua, a rare Yangtze giant softshell turtle living in Vietnam, was found dead Tuesday after its body floated up to the surface of Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem lake. Thought to be over 100, its death brings the worldwide population of the rare turtle to three. For locals, the turtle’s demise hit hard.

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Revealed: hunting strategy of the endangered African wild dog

A new study led by researchers at the Royal Veterinary College has revealed that African wild dogs may be more robust than previously thought.

The researchers used custom-built GPS collars to collect position and speed data to reconstruct the hunt behaviour of an entire pack of African wild dogs in northern Botswana.

The researchers found that given the the opportunity, African wild dogs hunt with frequent short chases. In addition, the pack showed no evidence of coopertive hunting, apart from travelling together and sharing the kills made by an individual dog. 

Understanding the hunting strategies of a species helps conservationists to identify which areas should be protected, or where new populations can be reintroduced most successfully. 

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Image credit: Neil Jordan, Megan Classe,  Tambako The Jaguar


Drunk dudes may have killed the world’s rarest fish

On April 30, three men shot through the locks and motion sensors of a security gate to enter Death Valley National Park’s Devils Hole, a 40-acre detached unit of the national park that’s a part of the Nevada’s Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Not only did they leave beer cans and vomit around the site, but one man swam in pool, leaving his boxers behind — and one of the world’s rarest fish, the Devils Hole pupfish, dead. There are so few of these pupfish left.

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The maleo is a megapode, which is a large, chicken-like bird known for using alternative means to incubate its eggs rather than body heat.  Most megapodes construct massive mounds of rotting vegetation with the eggs buried within, warmed by the heat given off by decay.  Maleos are endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, and are found nowhere else in the world.

Resurrected From Dead, Oryx Returns to the Wild
Scimitar horned Oryx are now back in the wild thanks to a breeding and monitoring program.
By Jen Viegas

Thirty years after the scimitar-horned oryx was driven to extinction in the wild, the desert antelope is back in its native Chad. A dramatic reintroduction was was captured on video on Sunday.

The herd of about 20 – resulting from a successful captive breeding program – excitedly left their enclosure, except for one female that was not ready to venture out and a male that returned from his brief stint in the wild to be with her…

One of the most critically endangered birds in the world, the Kakapo is having a record breaking baby boom. 36 chicks have made it through the first months which is up from only 6 that made it through a few years ago. With only 123 adults alive this is a significant population increase that will help bring this species back from the brink of extinction. | Photo by: Theo Thompson | #kakapo #wildlifebiologist #reintroduction #wildlife #captivebreeding #wildlifeconservation #conservation #endangered #endextinction #criticallyendangered #wildlifewin #chick #bird #birds #birding #rare #nature #NewZealand #animals #KeyConservation

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Some species of arboreal pangolin, such as the long-tailed pangolin, have prehensile or semi-prehensile tails to help them climb.  They can use these tails to hang from branches so that they can rip into ant nests in the trunk.  During mating season, males will also fight over females by clubbing each other with their tails.