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Bison: Our New National Mammal

The American bison is now the first National Mammal of the United States, as stated by The National Bison Legacy Act, passed in the House on Tuesday, April 27 and is expected to get Senate approval this week.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bison-injures-woman-posing-selfie-yellowstone-park-article-1.2301596

The recognition of the bison, is a recognition of a conservation success story, and it’s a rare bipartisan moment in Washington D.C.

“No other indigenous species tells America’s story better than this noble creature,” Rep. Lacy Clay, a progressive Missouri Democrat who sponsored the bill that passed the Republican-controlled Congress, said in a statement recently. “The American bison is an enduring symbol of strength, Native American culture and the boundless western wildness.”

A camera trap captured these bison crossing the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park. By Ronan Donovan. (Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160509-pictures-bison-us-national-mammal-yellowstone/)

But aside from the symbolism, not much will change about how we Americans interact with bison. The law has a provision saying as much: Native Americans can still hunt them, ranchers will still ranch them, zoos can still house them, and, people can still eat them.

“None of that is necessarily a bad thing”, said John Calvelli, an executive vice president with the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Ranchers, wildlife experts, politicians and Native American groups were actually pretty much in agreement that this animal needs to be honored. It’s just that every group has its own idea about how to do that, and that’s fine. Bison are a connection to healthy communities,” Calvelli said. “This law brings this all together into something that is a bit more coherent. Maybe we’ll all feel a bit more patriotic when we eat a bison burger,” he added.

 

Source: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2016/01/12/djg-genetically-pure-bison-found-in-utahs-henry-mountains/#.VzNZgIQrIdU

In the early 1800s, there were about 30 million bison in the United States, stretching from Alaska to the Mexican border. By the time Congress made it illegal to kill bison in 1894, there were fewer than 1,000. Teddy Roosevelt, a frontiersman in his own right, led a conservation effort to nurse them back to health at the Bronx Zoo and ship them out west. It worked. Today there are bison in all 50 states and close to 5,000 in Yellowstone National Park.

 

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/government-agencies-to-cull-up-to-900-yellowstone-bison/

It’s still illegal to shoot and kill bison without a permit. The exception to that latter rule is Native American lands. Ranchers, wildlife experts and Native American groups are working to increase the number of bison on reservations to help these communities return to their ancestral tradition of hunting and eating bison. They’ve identified about 1 million acres of reservation land they want to bring bison onto for this purpose.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bison-coming-home-montana-indian-reservation-140-years/

When the bison and the Native Americans were run off the frontier, so was Native American culture and their contributions to building this nation. This bill is an effort to pause and honor that.

Now, when school children learn about their new national mammal, they’ll also learn about its relationship to the conquering of the West. It’s not always an easy story to hear, but it’s an important one, say its supporters.

 

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/obama-signs-legislation-designating-bison-national-mammal-n570801

If you would like to see bison, you can go visit Yellowstone, or you can just go to your local zoo. Bison are in zoos in 49 out of 50 states, including in Washington D.C. For the first time in more than a century, the National Zoo welcomed back bison in 2014, two females named Wilma and Zora.

 

Source: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Bison/

 

Happy Humpday (^_^)

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/10/bison-are-our-our-new-national-mammal-heres-what-you-can-and-cant-do-with-them/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/bison-return-to-national-zoo/2014/09/02/43efaea0-2f36-11e4-994d-202962a9150c_story.html

 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160509-pictures-bison-us-national-mammal-yellowstone/

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/government-agencies-to-cull-up-to-900-yellowstone-bison/

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Bison/

https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2016/01/12/djg-genetically-pure-bison-found-in-utahs-henry-mountains/#.VzNZgIQrIdU

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/obama-signs-legislation-designating-bison-national-mammal-n570801

 

Orangutan Photographed Fishing with Spear

Gerd Schuster, co-author of Thinkers of the Jungle: The Orangutan Report, took this photograph of, “a male orangutan, clinging precariously to overhanging branches, flails the water with a pole, trying desperately to spear a passing fish… The extraordinary image, a world exclusive, was taken in Borneo on the island of Kaja… This individual had seen locals fishing with spears on the Gohong River. Although the method required too much skill for him to master, he was later able to improvise by using the pole to catch fish already trapped in the locals’ fishing lines.”

Source: https://primatology.net/2008/04/29/orangutan-photographed-using-tool-as-spear-to-fish/

Tool use among orangutans was first documented by Carel van Schaik. In 1994, Schaik observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.

Specifically the orangutans were using sticks to pry open pulpy fruits that have “Plexiglas needles” capable of delivering a painful jab covering them. Using the tools, the orangutans were getting past handling the prickly husk and into the nutritious fruit.

 

From an anthropological viewpoint, tool use represents an aspect of culture, since the entire group participates in a behavior that has developed over time. One unique thing to clarify is that only Sumatran orangutans have been observed to use tools, not orangutans from Borneo.

 

If this image doesn’t fill you with intrigue, I don’t know what will.

 

 

Happy Monkday :_)

 

https://primatology.net/2008/04/29/orangutan-photographed-using-tool-as-spear-to-fish/

http://www.amazon.com/Thinkers-Jungle-Gerd-Schuster/dp/0841602859/kkamrani-20

http://fds.duke.edu/db/aas/BAA/faculty/carel.vanschaik

 

Baby White Lions for Zoo in Germany

The Magdeburg Zoo in Germany is celebrating a new birth: a pair of super- adorable white lion cubs. They were presented to the public for the first time today.

Source: http://www.wilx.com/news/haveyouseenthis/headlines/Two-White-Lion-cubs-presented-to-public-at-a-zoo-in-Germany-378437701.html

The floof twins, who at present are smaller than ordinary house-cats and each weigh about 4.5 pounds, were born 10 days ago.

Magdeburg Zoo said the pair represented the first real success it has had in breeding white lions. The arrival of the cubs, who have yet to be named, came as something of a surprise, as keepers didn’t realize Kiara was pregnant. After some concern that the twins’ 3-year-old mother Kiara might be too inexperienced to care for them, the zoo said it was increasingly optimistic.

“There are only some 70 white lions in Europe,” said Magdeburg Zoo Director Kai Perret. “In that respect, these two new arrivals are, of course, something special.”

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Pets/photos/baby-animals-3351912/image-white-lion-cub-sits-scale-38930653

The youngsters, who at present sleep for 22 hours each day, won’t be on display in the zoo’s outdoor enclosure for some five weeks, Perret told German public broadcaster MDR. However, visitors were invited to see them for the first time at daily weigh-ins, today, on May 7th.

“We want to give a lot of animal lovers the chance to have a look at them,” Perret said. “It just made sense to do their health checks in public.”

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Pets/photos/baby-animals-3351912/image-white-lion-cub-sits-scale-38930653

White lions are a color variant of the tawny African Lion and are thought to be indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa, where locals traditionally regarded them as holy. A large proportion of the animals now live in zoos, with the animal hard-pressed to preserve its genetic distinctness in the wild.

 

Happy Caturday =^_^=

 

http://www.dw.com/en/german-zoo-welcomes-arrival-of-rare-white-lion-cubs/a-19240287

http://www.wilx.com/news/haveyouseenthis/headlines/Two-White-Lion-cubs-presented-to-public-at-a-zoo-in-Germany-378437701.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Pets/photos/baby-animals-3351912/image-white-lion-cub-sits-scale-38930653

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_lion

 

The Octopus Photographer

An animal trainer at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand, was able to train an octopus to take photographs. In fact, it only took Rambo the octopus three attempts to understand how the process works.

Source: http://www.diyphotography.net/sony-gave-an-octopus-at-a-new-zealand-aquarium-a-camera-trains-it-to-photograph-tourists/

Now, the aquarium charges $2 for a visitor to sit for a portrait taken by the “octographer”. The small donation goes directly to the aquarium to help offset expenses.

http://www.diyphotography.net/sony-gave-an-octopus-at-a-new-zealand-aquarium-a-camera-trains-it-to-photograph-tourists/

In front of her tank, there’s a backdrop where visitors can pose for their photos. It appears these children on a school trip to the aquarium thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

 

http://www.diyphotography.net/sony-gave-an-octopus-at-a-new-zealand-aquarium-a-camera-trains-it-to-photograph-tourists/

The camera, a Sony DSC-TX30, was secured into a custom made housing to mount onto Rambo’s tank. The campaign was sponsored by Sony to help show how durable their camera is and to raise awareness of the high level of intelligence in an octopus.

 

http://www.diyphotography.net/sony-gave-an-octopus-at-a-new-zealand-aquarium-a-camera-trains-it-to-photograph-tourists/

http://www.kellytarltons.co.nz/

http://www.diyphotography.net/sony-gave-an-octopus-at-a-new-zealand-aquarium-a-camera-trains-it-to-photograph-tourists/

 

New Rodent Species Discovered

An international team of scientists has discovered a new species of wild rodent in a remote mountainous area of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. The creature had eluded discovery for many years by mainly foraging for food among the roots of trees.

Known as Gracilimus radix, this slender rat inhabited the thick forests at the slopes of Mount Gandang Dewata on Sulawesi Island. The region has long been considered a hotbed for various creatures.

Photo by Kevin Rowe. Source: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/151625/20160420/meet-the-slender-rat-a-new-rodent-species-discovered-in-indonesia.htm

According to the research, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, the slender rat belonged to a new genus of its own since it had such a vastly different anatomy compared to other wild rodents. This placed the animal on a separate step in the taxonomic rankings just above a new species.

“We discovered the new genus and species doing mammal surveys in 2011 and 2012 on Mt Gandang Dewata,” Kevin Rowe, a biologist from Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia said. “This marks the third new genus and fourth new species discovered there in the last four years.”

Photo by Kevin Rowe. Source: http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/science/nature/article/2016/04/20/brand-new-mammal-species-joins-ranks-biology

Rowe added that aside from the five rodents they came across with, there are still a number of other rat species waiting to be discovered in the wilderness of Sulawesi Island.

He explained that identifying these creatures will not only provide researchers with new insight regarding the origin and evolution of native rodents in Australia, but it will also allow them to understand how animals are able to evolve in response to challenges presented to them by Nature.

After conducting several genetic analyses, the research team found that the Gracilimus radix is closely related to the Sulawesi water rat (Waiomys mamasae), which was first discovered in 2014. The slender rat and the water rat belong to the same rodent group that can only be found on Sulawesi Island.

 

Unlike most other wild rodents that are mostly carnivorous, the slender rat was revealed to be omnivorous.

Rowe pointed out that despite being close relatives, the Gracilimus radix and the Waiomys mamasae are very much different from one another. The slender rat evolved to become more adept at living on land, while the Sulawesi water rat developed skills more suited for swimming and living in the water.

 

It’s amazing to me that there are still unknown mammals unknown to science. There is so much we still don’t know!

 

Happy Bunday (|^_^|)

 

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/151625/20160420/meet-the-slender-rat-a-new-rodent-species-discovered-in-indonesia.htm

http://jmammal.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/03/23/jmammal.gyw029

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/science/nature/article/2016/04/20/brand-new-mammal-species-joins-ranks-biology

 

Celebrating Otter Day in New Mexico

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, more than 150 first graders celebrated Otter Day yesterday by learning more about the animals and their environment. The first graders went on a hike, scavenger hunts and took part in other activities focusing on ecology. Students celebrated the reintroduction of the river otter to New Mexico’s rivers.

 

Source: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/legacy/publications/press_releases/documents/2008/101408otters.html

More than 60 years after they disappeared from their natural New Mexico habitat, river otters are thriving in the state once again.

“The last known wild, or native river otter was trapped and killed in the Gila River in the 1950s,” Rachel Conn said.

Conn is the projects director for Amigos Bravos, a water conservation group based in Taos. Amigos Bravos helped in creating New Mexico Friends of River Otters back in the early 2000s.

 

Source: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/environment/article/6-wild-otters-released-into-New-Mexico-river-858690.php

The coalition’s goal was simple: get otters back into their natural habitat after pollution, deforestation and illegal trapping caused them to vanish from the state.

“[We] approached the Department of Game and Fish, their game commission, and advocated for a program to reintroduce river otters,” she said.

 

Source: http://wilderness.org/blog/best-recreation-new-rio-grande-del-norte-national-monument

Their plea worked. Between 2008 and 2010, 33 river otters were introduced into the Upper Rio Grande at the expense of $1,000 an otter. Since then, reported sightings were the only way the group knew how the otters were doing. That is, until this year.

“This year we initiated a new project, and that was our wildlife camera that we put out on the river in two places,” she said.

 

Source: http://www.desertusa.com/desert-animals/river-otter.html

Now there’s photographic proof that the otters are alive and well. Although there isn’t a way to track the population growth, Conn is confident that the otters are thriving and reproducing. Sightings of small otters have been reported.

“They’re a beautiful species, they’re at the top of the food chain, they provide critical, important functions to the rest of the ecosystem,” Conn said.

Otters can also help diminish the amount of invasive species in our area, like crayfish. “Otters love to eat crayfish,” she said.

 

Source: http://tucson.com/news/science/environment/nm-pulls-the-plug-on-gila-river-otters/article_3d05fc55-e3d7-570c-95c6-2e673564ae35.html

Happy Ottersday :#)

 

http://krqe.com/2016/04/20/student-learn-celebrate-otters-on-otter-day/

http://krqe.com/2016/03/27/wild-river-otters-thriving-in-new-mexico-rivers-again/

 http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/legacy/publications/press_releases/documents/2008/101408otters.html

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/environment/article/6-wild-otters-released-into-New-Mexico-river-858690.php

http://wilderness.org/blog/best-recreation-new-rio-grande-del-norte-national-monument

http://www.desertusa.com/desert-animals/river-otter.html

http://tucson.com/news/science/environment/nm-pulls-the-plug-on-gila-river-otters/article_3d05fc55-e3d7-570c-95c6-2e673564ae35.html


Kipling’s Monkey Temple

I had the good fortune of seeing Disney’s new The Jungle Book this weekend, and it got me thinking, is there really a Indian forest temple that monkeys live in? It turns out, I was not the only one wondering this.

The Monkey Temple Jaipur. Source: https://www.tourmyindia.com/states/rajasthan/monkey-temple-jaipur.html

According to The Telegraph, Kipling actually never visited the Indian jungles depicted in The Jungle Book. The author was born in Bombay, but at age five, his family moved back to Britain. Later on, Kipling returned to India for seven years to work as a journalist, but he was based in Shimla, and far from Kanha and Pench national forests (the most Jungle Book-esque location in India).

The Swayambunath temple is perched on a few hills overlooking Kathandu. Source: http://www.theworldeffect.com/buddhist-temples-of-kathmandu

This hasn’t stopped people from searching for a similar Jungle Book setting, which recently led Taj Safaris in India to launch two travel experiences called “Mowgli’s Trails.” One takes place in Kanha National Park, while the other snakes its way through Pench National Park, both in the state of Madhya Pradesh. According to Travel Daily Media, the travel experience includes rides through the jungle to spot wildlife, visits to tribal villages, Jungle Book trivia, and stargazing.

Source: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bodyhorrors/2014/02/17/temple-monkeys-pathogens/#.VxU6Y_krIdU

No word on whether temple trips are included in the experience, but luckily, India has many temples to its name and quite a few are in Madhya Pradesh, and monkeys are easy to find there too.

 

Wild macaques lounging at an unknown Hindu temple. Image: Shutterstock. Source: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bodyhorrors/2014/02/17/temple-monkeys-pathogens/#.VxU7FPkrIdU

Happy Monkday :_)

 

https://www.romper.com/p/is-the-monkey-temple-in-the-jungle-book-a-real-place-travelers-are-itching-to-know-9038

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/india/articles/Rudyard-Kiplings-India/

http://www.mapsofindia.com/madhya-pradesh/temples-and-shrines.html

https://www.tourmyindia.com/states/rajasthan/monkey-temple-jaipur.html

http://www.theworldeffect.com/buddhist-temples-of-kathmandu

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bodyhorrors/2014/02/17/temple-monkeys-pathogens/#.VxU6Y_krIdU

http://thailandpackagetours.com/en/featured/the-annual-lopburi-monkey-banquet-festival.html

 

A Cassowary for a Houseguest

An Australian couple had a close encounter with one of the most dangerous birds in the world when a giant flightless cassowary wandered into their home, sending them running for cover.

Photo Courtesy: Sue and Peter Leach. Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/world/giant-bird-surprises-australian-family-1209220

Peter and Sue Leach were in their house at Wongaling Beach in far north Queensland state earlier this week when the bird- which can grow up to 6ft 6ins tall- sauntered in.

“My husband said, ‘look, we’ve got a visitor!’ and there he was walking into the house through the garage,” Sue Leach said. ”My husband quickly ran over behind the dining table and I went outside and stood on the driveway next to the car. At the same time, I was saying to my husband, get the camera!”

Photo Courtesy: Sue and Peter Leach. Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/world/giant-bird-surprises-australian-family-1209220

Leach said the cassowary, nicknamed “Peanut”, walked through the neighborhood regularly as it sits near a rainforest, but this was the first time she knew of it entering a home.

“He didn’t bump anything or look for food or the fruit bowl, which was good, and we didn’t spook him at all, because they’re still a wild animal and they’re spooked by dogs and things like that,” she said, adding that it was “very calm. It’s a very unusual experience.”

The southern cassowary is an endangered species found only in the tropical rainforests of northeast Queensland, Papua New Guinea and some surrounding islands. It is Australia’s heaviest flightless bird and can weigh up to 170 pounds. It has two powerful legs that end in talons punctuated by three-inch-long razor-sharp claws.

Image: Wikipedia/Bjørn Christian Tørrissen. Source: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/what-to-do-when-worlds-most-dangerous-bird-walks-into-your-house-cassowary-queensland

Cassowaries are ratites, which is an ancient family of birds that includes ostriches, emus, rheas, New Zealand’s extinct moa, and kiwis. Ratites began to evolve and disperse approximately 65 million years ago, around the same time as the Cretaceous extinction event that killed all of the non-avian dinosaurs.

It’s been suggested that ratites’ evolutionary ancestors were able to thrive and succeed after the extinction of terrestrial dinosaurs due to the newfound ecological opportunities that arose when no large predators were around to eat them. Cassowaries are so reminiscent of their dinosaur cousins that biologists have studied their low, booming calls to figure out how dinosaurs might have communicated with one another.

 

There have been 221 recorded attacks by cassowaries. Of those, 150 were against humans, in which the birds generally chased, charged, or kicked their victims.  They can reach max speeds of 30 miles per hour. Approximately three-fourths of cassowary confrontations stemmed people trying to feed them. Moral of this story: Don’t try to feed a cassowary, just admire the closest animal we have to a dinosaur from afar.

 

Happy Flyday ~^v^~

 

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/what-to-do-when-worlds-most-dangerous-bird-walks-into-your-house-cassowary-queensland

http://www.thedailystar.net/world/giant-bird-surprises-australian-family-1209220

http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/couple-ran-for-cover-from-the-giant-bird-in-their-living-room-1395844