April 2009

Endangered Alert: Radiated Tortoise

The critically endangered Radiated Tortoise can be found in the dry woods of southern and southwestern Madagascar, generally about 30 to 50 miles from the coast. They are typically found in areas with low rainfall  and spiny vegetation as well as along high inland plateaus and sandy dunes closer to the coast.
The animals were listed as vulnerable by the IUCN in 1982, but after being reassessed in 2008 and finding a substantially lower population, the tortoises have been re-classified critically endangered. Information about the species has shown it has totally disappeared from about 40 per cent of the area that it used to occupy. This is thought to have been caused by a loss of habitat as well as exploitation as the tortoises are often collected for the wildlife and exotic medicine trade. 

Rare Red Squirrels Found in Wales

Conservationists in Wales have stumbled upon a population of rare red squirrels in a remote part of the country. After the larger American grey squirrels were introduced to the area in the 19th century, the amount of the native British red squirrels has declined drastically to the point where they have become severely endangered.  The grey squirrels are the bullies of the English countryside, chasing off red squirrels, eating their food, occupying their habitats and spreading diseases that the smaller squirrels have been susceptible to.  Some researchers even believe that the grey squirrels fight and kill red squirrels that they find in their territory.

Tragedy for Polo Ponies

One of the biggest animal related stories to hit America recently was quite a sad one. 21 horses died within an hour of each other just before an international polo match. On April 23rd, a veterinary pharmacy in Florida admitted that it incorrectly prepared medication which was administered to treat the polo ponies.

Leopards and Orangutan Make Good Friends

Twin five-week old baby African leopards, Solka and his sister Chant, have made friends with a year-old baby orangutan named Rishi. The leopards were born at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species , in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, US and are being hand reared there.  While leopards and orangutans aren't normally friends in their natural habitat,  these particular animals have been born in captivity, and while still young pose no threat to each other.

As a matter of fact, this may be the only time the two species have ever encountered each other, as orangutans are now only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra,  far from the African plains which the wild leopards call home.

Are you tired of animal cruelty?

If you’re getting fed up with reading about cruelty to animals on a daily basis, there’s a way you can chip in and help out our four-legged friends.
There are two types of animal cruelty: active and passive. Active cruelty occurs when somebody hurts an animal deliberately and injures it. It ranges from being physically violent towards an animal to using them for scientific testing.
Passive abuse is the more common of the two and includes neglect and abandonment.  It also includes turning a blind eye to other people harming animals, and not acting to prevent it.

I think perhaps in our busy lives, we are all guilty of this in way,  and now is as good a time as any to do your part to stop the cruelty.







One Health for Gorillas, Humans and livestock

Gorillas fill any onlooker with a sense of awe, with their magnificent power and steady gaze that suggests more than a hint of intelligence.  I remember feeling profoundly humbled when I looked in a Gorilla's eyes at a nature reserve, and wondered what a strange notion we have of advanced evolution when the so called 'civilized' species keeps these noble creatures in cages while they live naturally and peacefully within their habitat causing no destruction or cruelty.

Strange Animal Tales

A stolen Chihuahua puppy worth $3,000 was returned to a Long Island, New York pet shop last week along with a note of apology from the 'puppy kidnapper'.

Nassau County police said they don’t know who took the 14-week-old puppy because the thief ran away after returning the puppy in a shoe box to Worldwide Puppies & Kittens in Bellmore, just east of New York City.
The shop’s manager said the apologetic note stated that the puppy kidnappers were sorry they stole the dog, but that they hadn't had enough money to buy it. They didn't, however, explain what had prompted them to return the stolen animal.
Police have been looking for four teenage suspects in the theft who were captured on CCTV surveillance.  The footage shows a teen hiding the Chihuahua under his clothing and sneaking it out of the shop. The dog is now doing fine.


More Polar Bear News

Polar bears hit the headlines again this week,  this time, rather than a human venturing into Polar Bear territory one of the great white bears was found wandering into a town in Canada.

A medium-sized polar bear strayed into the Canadian town of St. Anthony, Newfoundland, but unfortunately had to be tranquilized and then eventually put to sleep after a veterinarian determined it was badly injured and unlikely to recover.

Polar Bear Attack in Zoo

In Berlin, Germany, a polar bear has recently proved that while these animals may look cute and cuddly, they shouldn’t be messed with.  One woman found this out the hard way two weeks ago at the Berlin Zoo after she climbed a fence (for some crazy reason) and jumped into the polarbear’s habitat. The woman’s timing couldn’t have been worse as she found herself face to face with the bear at its feeding time.

Animal Antics

Here's a look at some animals hitting the headlines recently:

The sheriff's office in Marion County, Oregon, U.S. was dealing with a missing female Indian peacock , known as a peahen, last week. The peahen, named Cynthia by the office’s deputies, showed up on the property next door to the sheriff's office last week. Since then, she has spent her days eating bugs, drinking water from a nearby well and generally keeping a watchful eye over the department.

Endangered Alert: Cuban Crocodiles

Cuba is pretty well known for a few things including Castro, cigars, rum, and the missile crisis, but not too many people are aware of Cuban crocodiles. And unfortunately, they may be extinct before most people realize they ever existed. The medium-sized crocs are usually found in freshwater marshes, bogs, and shrublands where they can feed on small mammals such as hutias, and freshwater turtles.

Crane lives after being shot with an arrow

A sandhill crane that was found with an arrow right through her body was released on April 1st after making an amazing recovery.
The crane was spotted standing by the road near Wisconsin Rapids last September by a birdwatcher and his wife, but it was too fast to catch and got away.
The couple alerted police and other authorities and then a few weeks later an 11-year-old girl saw the same bird with the arrow still through it, in a stream with it