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A West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) visits Dry Tortugas National Park, FL, USA.

Almost 70 miles (112.9 km) west of Key West lies a cluster of seven islands, composed of coral reefs and sand, called the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters, they make up Dry Tortugas National Park. The area is known for its famous bird and marine life, its legends of pirates and sunken gold, and its military past. 

(via: Dry Tortugas National Park)

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Conflicts with humans are becoming an increasing problem for the Asian elephant.  The human population is growing, and farmland expanding over the elephants’ traditional migration routes.  Elephants destroy and devour crops, threatening the livelihood of villages, and the people retaliate violently.  Unfortunately, the elephants react with equal force.  Over 400 people in India are killed by elephants every year.

These conflicts can reach horror movie levels of violence.  One case involved a female elephant who had seen her calf killed by farmers.  The cow began attacking villages, ultimately killing 17 people.  When she was eventually shot, it was determined she had not only been killing people, but she had  been eating their bodies.  

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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Can we save the Sumatran rhino?

Indonesia holds out hope 

by Jeremy Hance 

One percent of the world’s population,“ veterinarian Zulfi Arsan says as he nods towards Bina, a 714-kilogram (1,574-pound), 30-year-old female Sumatran rhinoceros leisurely crunching branches whole.

A gentle and easygoing rhino, pink-hued Bina doesn’t seem to mind the two-legged hominids snapping pictures and awing at her every move at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park. At least, it doesn’t interrupt her breakfast.

She also seems unfazed at this particular moment about being only one of a hundred or so—no one really knows for sure—remaining Sumatran rhinos on the planet.

Today, the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) is probably in the bleakest state of all five of the world’s rhino species, but the 100-hectare Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) may be the one bright spot, especially after producing a calf in 2012. The baby male, Andatu, was only the fourth rhino born in captivity in the past hundred years and the first for the SRS…

(read more: MongaBay)

photographs by Tiffany Roufs, SRS, and IRS

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Asian elephants are hugely important in many cultures.  Probably the most notable is the elephant-headed god Ganesh, the remover of obstacles and deva of intelligence and wisdom.  In Hindu cosmology, the world is also said to be balanced on the back of four elephants.  Earthquakes occur when they grow weary.

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GOOD NEWS FOR CONSERVATION:

Myanmar roofed turtles reintroduced to the wild

Species believed extinct until rediscovery in 2001

Congratulations to the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Turtle Survival Alliance in Myanmar for the recent release of 60 captive-raised Myanmar roofed turtles (Batagur trivittata) - a species believed to be extinct until 2001. We’re pleased to see the world’s second most endangered turtle on the road to recovery in its native habitat, and happy that funds from our Critically Endangered Animals Fund have helped support this effort!

Additional information on this particular project can be found at:

Wildlife Conservation Society - Roof Turtles


(via: USFWS_International Affairs)

photographs by Wildlife Conservation Society

Can you spot the snow leopard?

Click here to find out if you were right!

Inger Vandyke and her team sat for six hours watching the snow leopard that’s camouflaged in the photo above. Known as the “ghosts of the mountains,” snow leopards are super stealth, but they’re also endangered—there are only about 1,000 of these amazing animals left in the wild. Check out the source article on Earth Touch News Network to find out if you spotted the leopard correctly, and to learn more about how they camouflage themselves. 

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sooooooo mortior and i and some other awesome people miiiiight be working on a little big something something. aaaaaaand it’s going to be fucking amazing and awesome. and that’s all i’m telling you. expect more teasers down the road.

disclaimer no we are not doing all 24 trolls dear lord. this is most likely it. we considered bringing equiusbot back but couldn’t really work it out to make much sense. 

rip in pieces

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is celebrating a conservation milestone; for the first time, a rare Spider Tortoise has hatched in the Reptile Discovery Center. Animal care staff are closely monitoring the hatchling, which emerged May 10 in an off-exhibit area.

Spider Tortoises are listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Native to the forests and sandy coastlines of Madagascar, their populations have declined by 80 percent since 1970, and populations continue to dwindle due to habitat loss and wildlife trafficking for the food and pet trade.

Follow the link to ZooBorns, to learn more.
Photo Credits: Connor Mallon at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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NOAA Podcasts:  Saving the Leatherback Sea Turtle

The Leatherback is a most unusual species of sea turtle. In the Pacific, it’s also among the most endangered.

In celebration of Sea Turtle Day, today’s podcast is about leatherback sea turtles. Leatherbacks are the largest species of sea turtle out there, and they migrate farther than any other. And in the Pacific Ocean, they’re also among the most endangered.

To talk with us about leatherback sea turtles, we have Scott Benson on the line. Benson is a research biologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and he’s an expert on leatherback sea turtles.

In this interview, Benson discusses some of the threats that leatherbacks face and what scientists, conservationists, and fishermen are doing to address those threats. He also explains what measures you as a consumer can take to help protect leatherback sea turtles.

(LISTEN HERE)

photographs by Karen Benson and Karin A. Forney/NOAA.

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Markhor (Capra falconeri)
The markhor is a large species of wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan , some parts of Pakistani Controlled Kashmir and Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, southern Tajikistan and southern Uzbekistan. The species is classed by the IUCN as Endangered, as there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals and the numbers have continued to decline by an estimated 20% over two generations. Markhor stand 65 - 115 cm at the shoulder and 132 - 186 cm in length. Both sexes have tightly curled, corkscrew-like horns, which close together at the head, but spread upwards toward the tips. The horns of males can grow up to 160 cm long, and up to 25 cm in females. Markhor are adapted to mountainous terrain, and can be found between 600 and 3,600 meters in elevation. They typically inhabit scrub forests made up primarily of oaks, pines, and junipers. They are diurnal, and are mainly active in the early morning and late afternoon. Their diets shift seasonally: in the spring and summer periods they graze, but turn to browsing in winter, sometimes standing on their hind legs to reach high branches. Currently, only three subspecies of markhor are recognised.

photo credits: wiki, Postdlf, Geographer , flickr/OZinOH

Grandidier’s baobab (Adansonia grandidieri) is an endangered tree endemic to the Madagascar dry deciduous forests ecoregion. This ecoregion represents some of the world’s most species rich and most distinctive tropical dry forests characterized by very high local plant and animal endemism.

More about the Madagascar Dry Deciduous Forests Habitat:

Encyclopedia of Life

Image by Zigomar via Wikimedia Commons