How the Giant Panda Almost Got Extinct

china and the giant panda extinction saved
Photo Credit: worldwildlife.org

The beautiful big black and white colored giant panda with thick hair that shields it from cold is one of the world’s most beloved and famous animal, as it has featured, in movies, books and cartoons especially the comic martial “Konfu Panda” cartoon movie but yet it has suffered a great deal of misdeed from so many factors, putting it in an endangered spot in 1990 but that changed in 2006, drawing a new status of the IUCN as a “Vulnerable specie”.  Now, what factors could have led the pandas to the endangered list, and how were they able to bounce out of it to the vulnerability state in the IUCN watch book?  But Let’s talk about the Famous giant panda a bit and why it is so famous.
 
saved from extinction by the Chinese government
Photo Credit: time.com

The Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is native to mountain forest of southwest china. With a distinctive black and white coloring, their eyes, ears, muzzles, shoulders
and leg are black while every other part of their body is white. Although they belong to the order carnivore, their main diet which makes up 99% of their feeding culture is bamboo. Bamboo is not too rich in nutrient and that’s why the giant panda consumes 20-40 bamboos a day, they can as well feed on fish, egg and rodent but this barely makes 1% of their diet. In captivity, they are compelled to feed on whatever they are fed.
They have a protruding wrist bone, a pseudo thumb, an adaptive feature that helps them grab bamboo while they munch on it. Panders reach sexual maturity between 4-8 years and may reproduce until the age of 20 years. Gestation period is usually from 95 to 160 days.
 
china and the giant panda endangered extinction saved
Photo Credit: csmonitor.com

Now, let’s see what led the giant panda to the endangered list in the first place

Deforestation: this is the major cause of reduction in the population of the giant panda. Humanactivities in the 80s altered their natural habitat, destroying the forest and bamboos in a bid to build more houses and develop lands, forcing the giant panda to starvation and death.

Reproduction: A mother bear can give birth to 3 cubs but sadly, she will give attention to just one forcing the other two to malnutrition and possible death, this is because their basic bamboo diet has not enough nutrient to support a lactating mother and her 3 cubs.

Poaching: Poaching has always been a major problem in the animal kingdom. Illegal hunting of the giant panda for their fur, bones, skins has contributed effectively in reducing their population.

Adaptation: some animals adapt perfectly well outside their habitat, like the raccoon. Sad enough, the giant panda cannot adapt very well outside its natural habitat even when put in captivity.

So how where they able to bounce out of the danger zone?

Panda Population increased by Chinese government conservation program
Photo Credit: time.com
Since 1940, TheChinese has put efforts to conserve the habitat of the giant pandas. Today there are more than 67 panda reserves in the country breeding them in captivity.

The census taken in 2014 has indicated a 17% increase in population since 2003. Now the total number of pandas found in the wild has now reach 1864 individuals. Furthermore, reforestation has increased the occupied habitat by 11.8% and useable habitat by 6.3%.

The Chinese government has put up more conservation programmes to ensure push up in the panda population and some other organizations like the world wild life are still putting efforts together to ensure that the Giant panda doesn’t rest on the vulnerability status but  totally safe from extinction.



Should Animals be Kept in the zoo?

should animals be kept in the zoo? zoo animals freedom, animals in the zoo, animal welfare
Photo Credit: CHRGD.ca
Zoos has been a major point where people comfortably view and study animals both for pleasure and research purposes. There are so many zoos in the world housing different kind of animals ranging from the small sized mouse to the big sized elephant. The first modern day zoo opened in 1793, in Paris, France following the London Zoological Gardens, which was opened for scientific study in 1828 and to the public in 1857 and since then the love for viewing wild animals in captivity increased. It is a stale truth that one cannot just walk into the forest, unskilled to view or study animals, it will be putting the individual in a great risk of life and death. Over the years, the growth of zoos around the world increased the captivity of wild animals. Being held in captivity takes  away your natural freedom, limits you motor activities and mobility and then causes a lot of mental stress. Now, these animals are just like humans with developed body system and a brain (some are not too advanced though) and they are bound to feel all the downtrend coming up from Captivity in the zoo. Zoos hold strongly that they maintain a strong welfare standards for animals in their care but nevertheless, going round some of the zoos will tell you otherwise. This will bring me to the big question in a bit, Should animals be kept in the zoo?
should animals be kept in the zoo? zoo animals freedom, animals in the zoo, animal welfare
Photo Credit: topchinatravel.com

While there continue to be challenges in the global implementation of animal welfare standards, the world association of zoos and aquariums (WAZA) has set up codes of ethics and animal welfare , guidelines on animals interaction  and positive animal welfare.  "The World Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Strategy recommend that zoos and aquariums should apply a simple welfare model – the "Five Domains" – and make an ongoing commitment to animal welfare in all operations and to all animals in their care. The Strategy recommends continued education and training of staff in animal welfare, and a commitment to animal welfare research, to applying animal welfare knowledge to exhibit design and to being leading centre for animal welfare".

Keeping wild animals in the zoo and in captivity has its benefits and demerits, and we will take them one at a time.

BENEFITS
* Endangered Species: The zoo is quite a safe place for some of the endangered species as against their natural habitat where they will be opened to poachers  who care for nothing more than economic gain.
* Research and study: A lot of scientific research has cropped up from zoos with animals in the zoo as subjects. This has helped in the mental, social and physical study of animals which has led to the development of vaccines and drugs to maintain a good health condition.
* Health: Zoo managements keep up with the routine of checking the health status of animals to prevent illness and possible death
* Educate: Students from different schools around the world visits the zoos to get a firsthand experience of what they are being taught in their various institution.

DEMERITS
* The health standards in some zoos are and comparatively too low
* Some animals does not do so well in captivity
* Zoo owners puts their profit motives before the welfare of the animals

The world association of zoos and aquariums and governments at all levels should put up enforcement measures to ensure that the welfare of animals is a priority to zoos and zoo owners. Cruel treatment of animals should be discouraged and zoos selling animals to circus should be frowned at. Some animals do not do well in Captivity, as such they need to be left in their natural habitat, where they can live freely and reproduce to ensure continuity and prevent extinction.

At this point, I will say that Animals but not all animals should be kept in the zoo.

Now tell me, what do you think, should animals be kept in the zoo?




The Australian Thorny Devil

reptiles, thorny devil, thorny dragon, mountain dragon, dragon, animals, desert, australia
Photo Credit: australiangeographic.com.au
Thorny devils  (Moloch horridus) are thought to have branched away from another lineage of lizards, about 15 million years ago. The thorny devil  is  quite different when compared with other lizards. It is found in Australia. its look; the two large horned scale on its head gave it its name.

The thorny devil also known as the mountain dragon or thorny dragon dissuades attackes by predators with its hard spines and scales covering all part of its body. Swallowing the thorny devil is quit a difficult and painful task and that sure gives predators a frustrating and tough time. Most of the lizards are camouflaged in shades of desert brown and tan.

reptiles, thorny devil, thorny dragon, mountain dragon, dragon, animals, desert, australia
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
Thorny dragons grow up to 7.9 inches and the females are usually larger than the males. Their life span is usaully between 15-20 years.

reptiles, thorny devil, thorny dragon, mountain dragon, dragon, animals, desert, australia
Photo Credit: flickr.com

The Thorny dragon lives in arid scrubland and deserts, feeding mainly on ants. The Moloch horridus is of least concern in the IUCN  redlist.

Poaching! Poachers, who are they?


Poaching, poachers, who are they? Poaching is the illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals
Photo Credit: theplaidzebra.com
Poaching is the illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals; usually to sell a part of their body in the black market for monetary gains or for meat by locals whose forest mass has been taken over by forest reserve and conservation with little or no animals to cover for the basic protein faction of their diet. Rhinos, elephants and leopards have been a major target  by poachers in the African region, this has led to drastic reduction in world's rhino population, although there is a  light of hope  that the rhino population will assume a reasonable figure in due time.

Poaching in all part of the world has been frowned at by Government at all levels, boosting their anti-poaching efforts to the maximum to curb the menace. The Philippines were the first country to destroy their national seized ivory stock In 2013. China came next as they destroyed six tons of ivory as a symbolic statement against poaching.  The international anti-poaching foundation has also played a major role in this fight.

wildlife poaching and trafficking of endangered species alarming
photo Credit: guardianlv.com

Who are the poachers?
Hunting  has been the main source of animal protein for tribal people, and is central to their identity. But where control of their land has been taken from them, such as when an area is made a national park, hunters suddenly become poachers.

Also, Organization and industries in need of animal products, seeks the professional help of hunters who hunt for commercial gains to carry out poaching. Then throwing up an employment space for poachers.

Poachers are not just the tribal people, professional hunters but also the organizations, industries and companies who pays and delegates hunters to poaching.

Poaching, poachers, who are they? Poaching is the illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals
photo Credit: noanimalpoaching.org

Effect of Poaching
1. Reduction of animal populations in the wild and possible extinction.
2. The effective size of protected areas is reduced as poachers use the edges of these areas as open-access resources.
3. Spread of Virus and diseases.
4. Wildlife tourism destinations face a negative publicity; those holding a permit for       wildlife-based land uses, tourism-based tour and lodging operators lose income; employment opportunities are reduced.

All these poaching effects can be summed up as economic, environmental, health and social effects. Poaching has been fought with great strength and force over the years and this should continue with renewed effort and strategy as the poachers get creative each day on how to go about their poaching stride with sophisticated weapons.
Endangered animals poaching might take us forever
Photo Credit: pri.org


The Unicorn of the sea, Narwhal.

The narwhal known as the unicorn of the sea, with a large long tusk protruding from the canine.
Photo Credit:www.naturalhistoryonthenet.com

The narwhal with a large "tusk" from a protruding canine tooth is a medium-sized whale (Monodon monoceros), whose IUCN red list status is "least concern". It lives in the Arctic waters around Canada, Russia and Greenland. Males are distinguished by a long, straight, helical tusk, which is an elongated upper left canine. It is often called the unicorn of the sea.

Its total body size can range from 13 to 18 ft; the males are slightly larger than the females, with an avaerage adult weight of 800 to 1,600 kg.

The pigmentation of narwhals is a mottled pattern, with blackish-brown markings over a white background. They are darkest when born and become whiter with age; white patches develop on the navel and genital slit at sexual maturity. Old males may be almost pure white. Narwhals do not have a dorsal fin, possibly an evolutionary adaptation to swimming easily under ice. The tail flukes of female narwhals have front edges that are swept back, and those of males have front edges that are more concave and lack a sweep-back. This is thought to be an adaptation for reducing drag caused by the tusk.

Narwhals can live up to 50 years. Mortality occurs when the narwhals suffocate after they fail to leave before the surface of the Arctic waters freeze over in the late autumn.

Learn More basic facts about the Narwhals on Defenders

The Colorful Peacock spider ( jumping spider )



The Maratus spiders also known as the peacock spiders belong to the spider genus of the family Salticidae, regarded as the jumping spiders.The Maratus spiders also known as the peacock spiders belong to the spider genus of the family Salticidae, regarded as the jumping spiders.

Maratus species are small spiders, with a total body length mostly around 4–5 mm, with a high degree of sexual dimorphism. They are known as Peacock Spiders, based on the peacock-like display of the dorsal (upper) surface of the abdomen of the males, on which there is a "plate" or "fan" of usually brightly colored and highly iridescent scales and hairs, often forming patterns in which the foreground colors contrast with the iridescent background. There may in addition be "flaps" or dense fringes of hairs at the sides of the abdomen, sometimes brightly colored. In both sexes, the abdomen is joined to the cephalothorax by a long and very flexible pedicel. This allows males to raise their abdomens, which may also be capable of being flattened and waved from side to side, thus emphasizing the appearance of the dorsal pattern. Not all species have colors that appear bright to human vision; Maratus vespertilio is relatively cryptically colored, with most iridescence on the lateral flaps. The abdominal display is used in courtship and, in at least one species, also in aggressive interactions with rival males. In almost all species, males have relatively long third legs, often brightly patterned, that are also used in courtship displays. Salticid spiders have excellent vision, with the ability to see in at least two colors: green and ultraviolet (UV). The male display includes vibratory signals in addition to visual ones. At least one species (Maratus fimbriatus) displays with its first pair of legs rather than its third pair. Some Maratus including Maratus calcitrans, Maratus digitatus and Maratus jactatus display with greatly enlarged and decorated spinnerets when their abdomen is elevated. One species from Cape Riche, Western Australia, in a region which is something of a hot-spot for Maratus species, does not use its abdomen in its display at all, instead using a combination of decorated third legs and its bright blue face and fluffy white pedipalps.

The Maratus spiders also known as the peacock spiders belong to the spider genus of the family Salticidae, regarded as the jumping spiders.

Male palpal bulbs are relatively simple in appearance, with a circular embolus, and are rather similar in different species. The palp usually has a simple retrolateral tibial apophysis with a blunt tip.

In contrast to the brightly coloured and distinctive males, females are cryptic or camouflaged in appearance, with mottled patterns of whitish and brownish scales. The epigyne is simple, with a pair of circular "windows" (fossae) to the front and a pair of oval spermathecae to the rear. The long and flexible pedicel allows females to rotate their abdomens by more than 180° during mating.

Find out five flashy fact about peacock spider

The Extinct Sea Scorpions (Eurypterids)

the sea scorpions, the extinct Eurypterids
Eurypterids, known as the sea scorpions got the name from the greek word "eury" meaning broad or wide, and "pteron" meaning wing.

Although they are called sea scorpions, only the earliest ones were marine, later ones lived in freshwater, and they were not true scorpions. According to theory, the move from the sea to fresh water had probably occurred by the Pennsylvanian subperiod. Some studies suggest that a dual respiratory system was present, which would allow short periods of time in terrestrial environments. Eurypterids are believed to have undergone ecdysis, making their significance in ecosystems difficult to assess, because it can be difficult to tell a fossil moult from a true fossil carcass. They became extinct during the Permian–Triassic extinction event.

The earliest discovered eurypterid fossil was unearthed in the fossil-rich Siluric rocks of New York

Eurypterids have been regarded as relatives of the horseshoe crabs, together forming a group called Merostomata. Subsequent studies placed eurypterids closer to the arachnids in a group called Metastomata. They have also been regarded as relatives to scorpions, since they look like them.

Find out five facts about the Sea Scorpion on imgur.com

Save and conserve the biodiversity

Save and conserve the biodiversity, biodiversity, save, conserve, conservation, IUCN, endangered.
Biodiversity has been distinctively defined as the variety of animals and plant in the worlds global system. Biodiversity is such an imperative part of the global system holds all forms life from small living organism to the crawling animals, walking and jumping animals to the flying animals.

Biodiversity  includes  other important things and services such as cultural, recreational, and spiritual nourishment that play an important role in maintaining our personal life as well as social life.

Over the years, activities ranging from indescrimate killings, hunting, poarching, bush fire and fumigation has been a strong cause of concern has it has drastically reduced the population of animals and plants alike. These activies puts the animlas in a spot where the life stands on a knife edge.

Alot of animals and plants have gone extinct and more are going extinct, with a good number of animals being drawn to the endangered and critically endangered status of the international union of conservation of nature.

it became quite pertinent ad imperative to save biodiversity and ensure continuity in a bid to promote a natural balance in the global system, because the inter-dependency status of animals and plants is quite evident and strong that it can not be allowed to slack.

Saving the biodiversity is a ball that every individual, organisation and governement have to take up and uphold. Over the years there has been conservation programmmes like the West Visayas Biodiversity Conservation Programme and the world bank biodiversity Conservation Project and alot more,  yet more still needs to be done. The World is growing at an alarming rate and technology is the mother of these growth, which is been fueled by natuaral products, from the land and sea, which are actually some of the products of animals and plants. Some of these products are indescrimately gotten, through paorching, hunting, tree felling, bush fire e.t.c

We have done alot to save the biodiversity but we still need to do more, as its fate rest on our shoulders, yes, it does! on you and i.




The most dangerous ant in the world, (Bulldog Ant)

The most dangerous ant in the world
The most dangerous ant in the world is the bulldog ant (Myrmecia pyriformis) found in coastal regions in Australia. In attack it uses its sting and jaws simultaneously. There have been at least three human fatalities since 1936, the latest a Victorian farmer in 1988.

The bull dog ant earned its name because of its ferocity and determination during an attack. It is extremely aggressive and shows little fear of human beings, stinging a number of times in quick succession and therefore injecting more venom with each bite. In an attack, the ant will hold on to its victim with long, toothed mandibles, curl its body underheath and thrust its long barbless sting into the skin. On a few occasions this sting has been enough to kill adults within 15 minutes.

Body length = 20 mm (0.07 in) weight = 0.015 g (0.0005 oz) Lifespan = 21 days Discovered = 1793

10 Ways to Prevent Birds From Striking Your Windows

10 Ways to Prevent Birds From Striking Your Windows

Migrating birds are magnificent. May 12 marked World Migratory Bird Day, and this year’s theme is to celebrating how we can protect birds every day of the year.

One critical step for conservation is helping birds avoid striking the windows of our homes, since millions of birds die this way every year.

1. DECORATE YOUR WINDOWS WITH DECALS
Place decals no more than two to four inches apart, since birds may try to fly through larger gaps. The idea is to make windows look like barriers. Commercial stickers with designs intended to scare birds away — like spiderwebs or the faces of predators can be effective.

2. PLACE INDOOR PLANTS AWAY FROM WINDOWS
You may think you’re giving your plants a treat by placing them in direct sunlight, but birds could be attracted to them and not notice the pane of glass directly in front of them.

3. CLOSE WINDOW DRAPES OR BLINDS
At least partially close curtains in front of sunny windows to reduce reflections. This has the added benefit of keeping your home cooler during the hot months.

4. MOVE BIRD FEEDERS AWAY FROM GLASS WINDOWS
If a bird sees the reflection of your bird feeder in the window, it may go for that instead of the actual feeder. Alternatively, attach the feeders to the window with suction cups.

5. INSTALL NETTING OR EXTERNAL SCREENS ON PROBLEM WINDOWS
External screens can break up reflections or at least slow birds down before they hit the glass. Many new homes are built with screens on the outside nowadays. Netting might not look aesthetically pleasing, but it is one of the most effective ways to deter birds.

6. SUSPEND UNUSUAL OBJECTS IN FRONT OF WINDOWS
If you don’t want to install netting or screens, consider other objects that will scare birds away Shiny and reflective items like tin foil, aluminum pie pans or strips from a garbage bag should do the trick, letting birds know to stay from the scary, moving material.

7. ATTACH TEMPORARY TAPE STRIPS
ABC Bird Tape is one tape that is easy to apply and remove. Applying tape will help reduce the possibility of a bird crashing into your home during spring and fall migrations.

8. USE BIRD-SAFE GLASS
This is an option if you are building or remodeling a home. Ornilux bird-safe glass has a special layer reflecting a UV spectrum that is visible to birds but not to people.

9. PLANT TREES CLOSE TO YOUR HOUSE
Growing trees near glass reduces the likelihood of bird strikes by obscuring reflections on the window panes.

10. INSTALL A SLATTED FIXED SCREEN ON THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME
Slatted screens will change the open reflective panes of your windows into patterned panels, thereby reducing the risk of bird strikes.

Article First Published in Care2.com