ecomii healthy living

Saving Horses for 20 Years: Melanie Sue Bowles, Founder of the Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary

By Lavanya Sunkara
March 18, 2012
File under: Conservation, Interviews, Wildlife

(Melanie Sue Bowles, Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, Arkansas)

HBO’s new racing drama Luck ceased production after the third horse died on the set. The young thoroughbred was euthanized after it hurt its head during a fall. Sadly, the industry that thrives on the backs of these hardworking horses is failing them. The horses are raced at too young of an age before their bones develop, and they sustain injuries as a result. Not all retired race horses get to live out their lives in peace.

Last year I came upon the book, The Horses of Proud Spirit by Melanie Sue Bowles and it opened my eyes to the plight of horses in America. Melanie is the founder of the Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary located in Mena, Arkansas and she has the same philosophy as I do. Riding horses used to be one of my favorite activities until one day I heard about the abuse that goes on in stables and the horse racing industry, and decided to give it up. I consider horses my friends, not merely a means of enjoyment. …read more of Saving Horses for 20 Years: Melanie Sue Bowles, Founder of the Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary here

Comments (14705) Email Link

Give the Gift of Hope to Wildlife this Valentine’s Day

By Lavanya Sunkara
February 8, 2012
File under: Conservation, Education, Nature, Wildlife

“The animal kingdom is in critical condition. The affliction isn’t a disease, but rather a crisis of endangerment that threatens to wipe out many of the world’s animal species forever. Ironically, the only species capable of saving these animals is the same one that’s responsible for putting them in danger.”
~ Jeff Corwin 100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save Earth’s Most Endangered Species

It may be hard to admit, but every one of us has played a part in putting the precious animals we share this planet with in peril. The paper we write on, the furniture we use, the homes we live in comes from wood from clear-cut forests, leaving countless animals homeless. The cruises we take leave the oceans polluted and hurt marine life. Circuses perpetuate animal abuse. Tourism industries in many countries rely on …read more of Give the Gift of Hope to Wildlife this Valentine’s Day here

Comments (8977) Email Link

The Endangered Unknown – The Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant

By Peter Kleinhenz
December 22, 2011
File under: Environmental Concerns, Environmental Protection, Healthy Habitat, Poaching, Wildlife

High on a mountaintop in northern South Carolina, a buzzing fly meets a sweet smell. Flying towards the scent, the fly soon finds that the source is on the edge of a strange-looking plant. The fly stops and finds itself in a cesspool of delicious nectar. While following the trail of this nectar, the fly slips on a waxy surface and falls down into the plant. The fly tries to fly out but super-slick surfaces directly underneath downward-pointing hairs prevent any movement.

For several minutes the fly struggles in the water before exhaustion sets in and it drowns. This tale seems like something out of a poorly-written monster movie but, in reality, it’s a common occurrence due to the incredible adaptations of one of the most interesting and threatened plants on Earth: the Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant.

The Mountain-Sweet Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia rubra ssp. jonesii, lives mainly in habitats that are known as cataract bogs. These consist of exposed slabs of granite with cool mountain water trickling over parts of their surfaces, inundating accumulated detritus and moss with water. It is here that carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants grow. …read more of The Endangered Unknown – The Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant here

Comments (11822) Email Link

Happy Reunion

By Corinne Kendall
December 20, 2011
File under: Birds, Conservation, Research, Wildlife

For the past three years, I have been adamant that it would be impossible to re-trap a tagged vulture. The birds simply go too far – spending much of the year outside of the Mara in areas where I can’t trap – too quickly and are thus difficult to locate even when a backpack is sending you their location. Today I proved myself wrong.

Lillian is a young Lappet-faced vulture that I trapped in April of 2010. She currently has the longest working GSM-GPS unit and has been reliably sending her location four times a day for the last 16 months, giving me an incredible amount of data. Lillian has become something of a favorite as I have also resighted her more times than nearly any other bird.

After the initial trapping, we relocated her on a nest and were able to see her several times during those first few months when she was returning to her little home atop a small Gardenia tree each evening. Then in June I respotted her during some surveys in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania and starting a few weeks ago I had been seeing her every few days in the Mara. …read more of Happy Reunion here

Comments (10826) Email Link

The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia

By Brian Gratwicke
December 16, 2011
File under: Amphibians, Conservation, Wildlife

See The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia Video Here

If you want to hit paydirt the Appalachian region is the world’s salamander El Dorado—home to over 70 salamander species.  Australia and Sub-Saharan Africa have no salamanders, Asia has 27 species the whole of Europe has 36 species. Central and South America have a bunch of salamander species, but they are mostly from just a few genera of lungless salamanders.

I lived in England for a while and saw what a big deal people make out of the few newt species there. People love ‘em. As a result, I was expecting to find a hardcore citizen-naturalist contingent of salamander fans in the USA.  What I found instead, was a hardcore biologist fanbase of salamanders who were acutely aware of these hidden jewels.  However, the more I spoke to non-biologists living in the Eastern USA, I learned that many people take these critters for granted, or have never noticed them. …read more of The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia here

Comments (11714) Email Link

The Endangered Unknown – Chinese Desert Cat

By Peter Kleinhenz
December 14, 2011
File under: Animal Stories, Conservation, Species Profiles, Wildlife

This series routinely discusses species of animals and plants that are poorly known in the international community. Perhaps no species mentioned so far fits as well into the category of “endangered unknown” as the Chinese Desert Cat, Felis bieti. There are various reasons for its anonymity, including its secretive nature, lack of presence in captivity, and the areas it inhabits.

The species is very discernible from other small cat species, however, due to its large size (twice the size of a domestic cat) and physical appearance. This cat’s yellow-gray fur allows it to blend in perfectly with its surroundings while its broad skull and enlarged ears serve to enhance its prey detection. Finally, the cat has a y-shaped mark on its face and a black-tipped tail that distinguishes it from other cats that share its habitat, such as the Asian Wildcat and Eurasian Lynx.

Native to China and Mongolia, the Chinese Desert Cat lives in mountainous habitats ranging from semidesert and steppe to bamboo forest and alpine meadows. …read more of The Endangered Unknown – Chinese Desert Cat here

Comments (9512) Email Link

Wild Tsavo

By Corinne Kendall
December 12, 2011
File under: Animal Protection, Conservation, Healthy Habitat, Natural Resources, Wildlife

Based on our movement work, we know that vultures from the Mara spend about five percent of their time in the two Tsavo National Parks. For this reason, I decided that it might be worth exploring the area one more time to get a feel for this unique ecosystem during the dry season as well.

If the Mara is the land of plenty, then Tsavo is the world of giants. Huge red-dusted elephants walk silently upon the dry earth and dig incredible holes in their constant search for water. Beautiful baobabs are scattered around, their fuzzy fruits littering the ground as their impressive trunks and finger-like branches cover the landscape.

Hyraxes can be seen in the many rocky outcroppings and we were lucky to find one climbing a small branch reaching hopefully for some tiny green berries. Pale chanting goshawks were the bird of plenty here though we saw only a handful of vultures.

More from ecomii:

Comments (11868) Email Link

Kids Connect! Going Batty!

By Christine DePetrillo
December 9, 2011
File under: Education, Wildlife


I happen to love bats. I think they’re adorable. You?

Fruit Bat

Just look at him, all wrapped up in his wings. So cute. It’s okay if you don’t agree, but here are some bat facts that may make you appreciate our leathery winged friends even if you don’t find them cuddly.

  • Some bats are the size of a jellybean, while others have a wingspan as long as an average human.
  • Bats have perfectly good eyes for daylight, so the expression “blind as a bat” isn’t really accurate. What bats don’t have is night vision, which hinders their nighttime hunting. …read more of Kids Connect! Going Batty! here
Comments (10969) Email Link

The Endangered Unknown: Anegada Island Iguana

By Peter Kleinhenz
December 8, 2011
File under: Animal Protection, Species Profiles, Wildlife

When most people think of the British Virgin Islands, they probably think about white sand beaches, clear blue seas, and complete relaxation. With sprawling resorts, luxurious vacation homes, and yachts cruising around the shore, it’s hard to imagine anyone worrying about anything on the islands. However, for those who cherish the natural history of these islands there is plenty to be worried about.

The second-largest island in the British Virgin Island Archipelago, Anegada, is home to a fantastically-cool lizard species: the Anegada Island Iguana (Cyclura pinguis). This large lizard inhabits dry, rocky areas of Anegada Island where it lives out its days feeding on fruits and leaves. Both sexes have large home ranges, characterized by limestone crevices and burrow structures that allow these lizards to find shelter during the hottest parts of the day.

Males, distinguishable by the turquoise on various parts of their bodies, compete readily for females, …read more of The Endangered Unknown: Anegada Island Iguana here

Comments (8710) Email Link

Saving Elephants in India: Dr. Tammie Matson

By Lavanya Sunkara
December 5, 2011
File under: Animal Protection, Interviews, Poaching, Research, Wildlife

It is not uncommon for newspapers in India to report elephant and other wild animal encounters in towns and villages. These creatures are losing their habitat and finding nowhere to go but the human inhabited areas. Dr. Tammie Matson, a wildlife conservationist, started Animal Works, an organization addressing the issue of human-animal conflict in the Assam region of India and raising money for orphaned elephants.

Dr. Matson is an Australian zoologist who spent over a decade working on threatened species in southern Africa. She ran WWF Australia’s national species program from 2007 to 2008. She has published two books, “Dry Water – Diving headfirst into Africa”, about her experiences being a wildlife researcher in Africa, and “Elephant Dance – a story of love and war in the elephant kingdom” based on her work on human-elephant conflict.

Dr. Matson recently won InStyle magazine’s prestigious Women of Style award for the environment in June of 2010. Here, she talks about her life as a conservationist and what we can do to save elephants.  …read more of Saving Elephants in India: Dr. Tammie Matson here

Comments (9281) Email Link
« all ecomii blogs  
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
  Next Page »
About this blog

Whether you’re a scientist working in the field or a young person in your backyard, this is where you get to share your stories through pictures, videos and articles with the rest of the world. Without your voice, these stories go unshared, and our planet’s ecology, wildlife and natural resources go unexplored. Connect with each other and us and let’s enjoy this process of learning from one another.

recent posts
other green blogs
blog categories