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A Birth at a Carcass

By Corinne Kendall
September 28, 2011
File under: Animal Stories, Survival Stories, Wildlife

I was admiring the usual hoopla of twenty vultures grappling for a small kill when a few of the Marabou storks wandered behind the vehicle. They seemed to have found something more interesting than the meat in front of them and I turned around to see what they were up to.

A small black lump sat on the ground about 100 meters behind us and the Marabous rushed it in their usual excitement to have found a new food source. But their joy was short lived as an angry Thompson gazelle mother, tail still raised from the pain of having just given birth, came rushing at the much larger birds.

Tiny horns pointed forward she chased the birds away from her very new calf. As the Marabou storks scattered, a Lappet-faced vulture landed to see what the commotion was about. It too was chased off within moments. Predators evaded, the mother now stood licking her newborn, pushing it to stand as she cleaned it of the afterbirth.

The calf seemed tired but alert and tried straightening its little legs in a hapless effort to get up. It took nearly forty minutes, but the calf finally found the strength, motivated it seemed by the swollen teats of its mother that hung just behind its reach, and stood wobbly for the first time. It latched on and suckled as its mother continued her cleansing.


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The Endangered Unknown: The Orange-bellied Parrot

By Peter Kleinhenz
September 26, 2011
File under: Birds, Endangered Species, Species Profiles

Some animals, it seems, got the wrong end of the deal when it comes to having a simple life. Twice every year, a bird that isn’t a great deal larger than your hand flies all the way from southwest Tasmania to the southern coast of Victoria.

The brilliantly-plumaged Orange-bellied Parrot, Neophema chryogaster, is just one example from a group of animals that is known for its awe-inspiring global trips. Most birds, however, are not in the perilous state that Orange-bellied Parrots are in.

One hundred years ago, Orange-bellied Parrots were far more common than they are today. …read more of The Endangered Unknown: The Orange-bellied Parrot here

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A Pile of Vultures

By Corinne Kendall
September 21, 2011
File under: Animal Behavior, Animal Stories, Wildlife

It isn’t often that you get to watch a carcass from start to finish, but I got lucky. We came upon a single lioness finishing off a fresh wildebeest kill.

On her own, she was only able to consume perhaps a quarter of the carcass and with vultures, hyenas, and jackals gathering around the lion was beginning to feel the pressure.  So she left. Two hyenas moved in first feeding for a half hour they ate the bulk of the carcass with the occasional jackal or vulture rushing in to steal a soft piece of organs. …read more of A Pile of Vultures here

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Kids Connect! Wild Meows

By Christine DePetrillo
September 20, 2011
File under: Children, Education, Endangered Species, Research, Wildlife

How many of you love cats? I do. I have two, a black one and a striped one, and they are so much fun to play with and watch. Many of the behaviors they engage in are exactly the same as our planet’s BIG cats, such as lions and tigers. Unfortunately, unlike domestic cats that we keep as pets, wild cat numbers are decreasing.

Let’s take a look at the four big cats.


Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. …read more of Kids Connect! Wild Meows here

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In The Tree

By Corinne Kendall
September 19, 2011
File under: Animal Behavior, Animal Stories, Endangered Species

Carcasses can be found almost everywhere. Over the course of the migration, thousands will be found in the river. Lions and hyenas often enjoy dragging their kills into the darkest recesses of the bush but more often then not, carcasses are lying out in the open plains just waiting for the vultures to find them.

On rare occasions, dead animals can get dragged into trees. In my first year, I had the pleasure of watching two White-headed vultures feed on a treed Thompson gazelle carcass before being pushed off by some tourists who seemed more interested in the carcass than the birds. …read more of In The Tree here

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The Endangered Unknown – Asiatic Cheetah

By Peter Kleinhenz
September 14, 2011
File under: Animal Stories, Conservation, Endangered Species

Painting by George Stubbs

The fastest land animal is also fast in another category: going extinct. The Asiatic Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus venaticus, once prowled the deserts and dry grasslands of the Caucasus region of central Asia to the Indian subcontinent, but now survives only in Iran, where it still hunts gazelle in the Kavir desert.

Reports from Pakistan have trickled in over the years, claiming that a few cheetahs are still eking out an existence there, but this has yet to be confirmed by the scientific community. Either way, researchers agree that there seem to be less than 100 Asiatic Cheetahs remaining on the planet. …read more of The Endangered Unknown – Asiatic Cheetah here

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Hot Air Safari

By Corinne Kendall
September 13, 2011
File under: Animal Sightings, Conservation

A balloon ride seems like a quintessential part of the Mara experience, yet I have never taken the time to experience it. Every morning I watch 10 to 20 balloons take off and soar above the Mara like a chain of Christmas lights they flicker on and off as the burners lift them higher into the sky.

Today I finally got a chance to see what it is all about. Ballooning makes for an early start and I was up and excited at 5:30 AM. After a quick drive in the park I found myself standing next to a turned over basket and a huge green and yellow balloon slowly being inflated with a small fan. I’d seen this done before – a sideways take-off – but I wasn’t really sure how it would work. …read more of Hot Air Safari here

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Saving Elephants in India: Dr. Tammie Matson

By Lavanya Sunkara
September 12, 2011
File under: Animal Protection, Black Market, Interviews, Survival Stories

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.

LS: What inspired you to become a wildlife conservationist?

TM: I have been passionate about animals from a young age. I grew up in North Queensland on …read more of Saving Elephants in India: Dr. Tammie Matson here

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Banded Attack

By Corinne Kendall
September 9, 2011
File under: Animal Behavior, Animal Stories, Wildlife

Carcasses are interesting because you never quite know who will show up. This morning I found a nearly finished carcass with a few jackals gnawing away at the bones and some vultures waiting nearby. The jackals looked full and I knew that soon it would be the vultures turn to eat.

In the distance (and seemingly unrelated) were a small group of banded mongoose. The loose knit group of mongoose were wandering and foraging as one often sees them doing and appeared to be unaware of the birds just ahead of them. …read more of Banded Attack here

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Kids Connect! Get Out There

By Christine DePetrillo
September 8, 2011
File under: Children, Plant Life

Where I live in the USA, the season of Summer is fading away. This makes me incredibly sad because Summer is my favorite time of the year. The grass is green, the trees are full, the smell of ripe peaches scents the air in my backyard, and shorts and a T-shirt are the official uniform.

Meals are eaten outside, sports are enjoyed outside, and my bare feet find their way onto the patio when I finally sit to read or write. …read more of Kids Connect! Get Out There here

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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.

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