As I watched the squabbling vultures at a nearly finished wildebeest carcass, I noticed a Marabou stork behaving strangely. It jerked from side to side and leaned close to the ground as if about to pick something up, only to jump back again wings spread. I focused my binoculars on the bird to get a pick at what was happening.
Lying in front of the cunning Marabou lay a long slim green snake, head raised in attack as the bird reached for it again. The snake lunged but the Marabou still got in a nice bite to the back and easily avoided the fangs. Again and again the snake lunged and the Marabou ducked until finally the Marabou grabbed the snake by the head. …read more of Snake in the Grass here
Many animals inhabiting this world are noted for their beauty, intelligence, or some other redeeming quality that sets them apart from hundreds of other similar species. On the contrary, some animals are noted for their grotesque appearances. Of these, the North Sulawesi Babirusa, Babyrousa celebensis, probably deserves the title of the ugliest mammal on the planet.
The North Sulawesi Babirusa is a primitive species of pig that lives only on the island of Sulawesi, a part of Indonesia. The species is notable due to the large, curved tusks that protrude abruptly from the faces of males. These tusks are modified canines and their purpose is still largely unknown.
“I don’t see any bonefish!” I said, standing on a flatboat in the middle of shallow aqua green waters of Fresh Creek in Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas 30 miles west of Nassau.
I walked to the edge of the boat, trying to catch a glimpse of the much sought after fish, which brings many around the world hoping to try their hand at this delicate art of hunting. The fish are almost always released back into the water. At the back of the flatboat, Ricardo navigated slowly from the poling platform. In a hushed tone, he told Glaister who is up front to cast the line 20 feet as we floated quietly.
“There are hundreds of bonefish here!” Glaister said handing me his sunglasses, which apparently help with seeing the dusky finned fish in the clear waters. I still couldn’t see any, which explains why the fish are called “gray ghosts”. …read more of Andros, Bahamas: Unexplored Paradise here
Photo: Clockwise, from upper left: Greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino, black rhino, white rhino.
If you love rhinos, you’ll be excited to know that World Rhino Day is almost here!
September 22nd marks the Second Annual World Rhino Day – a tradition established last year by WWF as an opportunity for people all over the world to take a stand against rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.
The focus in the Mara is generally on the carnivores (and in my case the vultures), but there are so many other fascinating little creatures to behold in this amazing savannah. Banded and dwarf mongoose are common and I often stop to watch the antics of these social little creatures.
Most recently I even saw a small group of banded mongoose at the crossing, darting among the vultures and Marabou storks in search of some wildebeest meat. Then while over in Musiara marsh I had some great views of this dwarf mongoose. The tiny creature wandered around in search of its small insect prey only to find a nice hollow tree to scavenge through. …read more of Anecdotes here
Nearly 600 wildebeest have drowned in the last week. It isn’t so much that the water is high as the fact that the wildebeest are stupid. After watching the crossing, it really is the only impression one is left with.
Why, why do they cross that way? You sit as the herds approach, anticipation building as they near the beckoning water, filled with crocodiles and completed with a cliff.
Rhino conservation efforts in Nepal received a big boost in awareness, thanks to the formation of “Eco-Clubs” in schools located in the Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone.
It was the grassroots efforts of Partnership for Rhino Conservation (PARC/Nepal) and the Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone Lothar User Committee that helped create Eco-Clubs at three different schools.
When you want to dig a big hole, what do you do? You could get down on your hands and knees and dig with your fingers, right? That would probably take a while though and your hands would get tired. There’d be dirt stuck under your fingernails for a while too.
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
I’m back in the Mara and what a spectacular field season it is looking to be. The wildebeest have returned in great numbers and have been crossing the Mara river every few days. Lions are looking healthier than ever and several mating pairs have been seen.
On my first day back, I managed to see a beautiful Black rhino mom and baby relaxing peacefully in the shade. In the afternoon, we came upon one of my favorite small cats – the serval. Sleek and slim it was sneaking through the grass in search of some unsuspecting songbird.
Elephants have been plentiful with some adorable small babies witnessing their first wildebeest migration. I suspect the little ellies are also amazed by the number of odd-looking new neighbors that have moved in. …read more of Cat Up a Tree here
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.