The California condor is the one of the largest flying birds in the world. When it soars, the wings spread more than nine feet from tip to tip. Condors may weigh more than 20 pounds. The male Andean condor of South America is even larger than our California condor. Both are endangered species.  They feed only on carrion (dead animals that they find).  Condors only lay one egg every other nesting year, and it takes more than a year from the time the egg is laid until the young bird has learned to live on its own.

Most causes of death in the past two centuries have been from human activities.  It has been illegal for anyone to kill a California Condor for more than 100 years, but illegal killing is not the only problem they face.  A major problem has been contamination from lead fragments in carcasses, poison bait, and environmental pollutants.  

In the 1970’s, biologists found that only a few dozen condors remained in the wild.  In 1980, a major conservation project was started to try to keep the birds from becoming extinct.  Eggs were collected and hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park, and a few birds were taken to zoos for captive breeding.  But this help came too late to stop the decline in the wild bird population, so in the id 1980’s all of the remaining condors in the wild were captured and taken to zoos.  Since that time, nearly 200 condors have been released back into the wild, but the species is still critically endangered.
See how you can help at http://www.peregrinefund.org/projects/california-condor

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Tiger family photo surprises scientists

 by Jeremy Hance

In a frigid Russian forest, a camera trap snapped 21 family photos over two minutes. This wasn’t a usual family, though, this was a tiger family, more specifically an Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) family. And this wasn’t even a usual tiger family: the cameras showed a dad leading the way. Generally, tiger male are not known for being paternal and are almost always loners. Indeed, this is the first time scientists have ever documented a father Amur tiger  hanging out with the mother and kids.

“Although…George Schaller documented sporadic familial groups of Bengal tigers as early as the 1960s, this is the first time such behavior has been photographed for Amur tigers in the wild. These photos provide a small vignette of social interactions of Amur tigers, and provide an evocative snapshot of life in the wild for these magnificent animals,” said Dale Miquelle, the Russia Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

(read more: MongaBay)

photographs: WCS, Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN “ADOPT” A KAKAPO AND GET A SUPER CUTE KAKAPO PLUSH?
I wish I could make the text vibrate back and forth to show you how exciting this is.


Adopting them helps their recovery efforts. Kakapos are critically endangered!
ADOPT A KAKAPO AND GET A CUTIE TO HUG: http://kakaporecovery.org.nz/adopt-a-kakapo/


(this photo is not mine and belongs to the Kakapo Recovery group!)

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The entire Department of Impossible Cuteness has just fainted at the sight of this awesome creature. Don’t bother pinching yourself or rebooting your computer. It’s real, we assure you. Behold the quite-possibly-lethal cuteness of the Ili Pika (Ochotona iliensis), an animal so extraordinarily rare that scientists freely admit they know almost nothing about the species. No successful observation of its ecology, behaviour or reproduction have been conducted. In fact this little guy (or girl) is the first of its kind that’s been photographed in 20 years. We know that it’s about 8-inches-long, only lives in one Chinese mountain range, and looks like something created by a collaboration between Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and Hayao Miyazaki.

A member of the outrageously adorable Pika family, Ochotonidae, the Ili Pika was first discovered in 1983 by conservationist Li Weidong and his team of scientists in the Tianshan mountain range in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China. They dubbed it the ‘Magic Rabbit.’ At the time Weidong estimated that there were roughly 2,900 of the animals living in the mountain range. Increasing grazing pressure and pollution-triggered climate change have caused the population to decrease dramatically. When Weidong returned to the mountains in 2002 his team estimated that there were only 2,000 Ili Pika in the area. He went back again last year and determined that there are now fewer than 1,000 of these unbelievably cute little mammals remaining.

'I discovered the species, and I watched as it became endangered,' Mr Li told CNN. ‘If it becomes extinct in front of me, I’ll feel so guilty. This tiny species could be extinct any time,’ Mr Li added. ‘They don’t exist in the sites where they used to be anymore.’

This is it friends. Ine of the cutest creatures in the entire universe needs our help. Future smiles and squeals of delight depend upon it.

Photo by Li Weidong

[via The Telegraph and Bored Panda]

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We’re deeply saddened to report that Angalifu passed away at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Sunday due to complications from old age. With Angalifu’s passing, only 5 northern white rhinos are left on the planet, including Nola, the Safari Park’s elderly female. Angalifu’s genetic material has been stored in the San Diego Zoo Global Frozen Zoo with the hope that new reproductive technologies will allow recovery of the species. This is a tremendous loss, and we invite you join us in our commitment to work harder to ‪end extinction‬. Please re-blog this to spread the word about the plight of rhinos, and take action now.

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There is a very real connection between elephant poaching and terrorism. We can help put a stop to this. Visit lastdaysofivory.com for more info.

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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