The Carbonell’s wall lizard, Podarcis carbonelli berlenguensis (Lacertidae) is an endemic lizard to the small Berlengas archipelago, off the western portuguese coast near Peniche. Here, these lizards are present in one of the highest densities ever recorded for a reptile and are a predominant species.
Males are brighter coloured, appear stronger and are larger than the more gracile females.
Because of its very restricted distribution (Spain and Portugal), Podarcis carbonelli has been classified as a Endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
The male Banded Cotinga is a strikingly beautiful bird… The more low-key female is mottled dusky brown and white. Males also have specially modified primaries (the biggest flight feathers) that produce a whirring sound as the bird displays.
These are treetop birds that live high in the forest canopy, where they feed on mainly on fruit, sometimes supplemented by seeds and insects.The biggest threat to the Banded Cotinga is habitat loss; extensive, continuing deforestation within its range has restricted populations to a few protected areas, including the Stresemann’s Bristlefront Reserve, managed by ABC’s partner Fundação Biodiversitas. These birds have been collected for their feathers by local indigenous people, and capture for the cage-bird trade has also posed a threat…
In 2013, we planted 93,000 trees in Michigan as habitat for the threatened Kirtland’s warbler. Since we began restoring warbler habitat in 1990, their population has rebounded from 167 to 1,800 singing males. Help us restore more forests for wildlife in 2014.
While the Sumatran Orangutan gets the majority of the media play, it’s the elephants who are facing a higher proportional threat to their home range in Aceh, and the impact from this is likely to be much greater.
When the home range of the elephants are damaged through the expanse of roads, mining and industrial agriculture (palm oil and other commodity plantations such as rubber, timber and soy), it’s often elephants and communities who suffer as human wildlife conflict escalates while elephants seek new lands.
Protecting the forest for the elephants also protects the communities. It’s a win win. http://a.ran.org/a7
This month National Geographic magazine features an article on bluefin tuna—a super creature being relentlessly overfished—written by Kenneth Brower with photographs by Brian Skerry. Here, Skerry tells of his experience swimming with Atlantic bluefin tuna, and the power of being underwater with these “thoroughbreds of the sea.”
In the dark, chilly waters they materialized—massive beings with large eyes that I knew were watching my every move from deep below long before I ever saw them. The fish were nearly 10 feet in length and several feet thick, weighing around 1,000 pounds, and moved unlike anything else I had seen underwater.
Spinning around in circles I would see them rocket up from the depths, turn on a dime while flashing colors, then disappear back into the gloom. At least a dozen of them swam around me, and I scanned all axes trying to follow their movements. As they passed by I rolled in the wake of their mighty bulk…
The gaur is the tallest living species of wild bovine. It is native to mainland southern Asia and southeast Asia and is listed as vulnerable since 1986 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their primary habitat is evergreen forests, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests. Because of their large size, they have few predators. Tigers and saltwater crocodiles are the only natural predators that can take down an adult gaur; leopards and dholes have been known to prey upon young gaur.
Gaur photographed by PN member Dr. Namgyal T.Sherpa
This time, however, it’s a much different and important battle…
by Kit Fischer
As deep snows continue to accumulate on the high Yellowstone Plateau and bison begin their inevitable migration out of the national park, Montana’s Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, and Board of Livestock once again are at odds over where America’s largest wild bison herd should be allowed to roam.
Government agents have begun capturing and sending to slaughter bison from Yellowstone National Park. They’ve announced plan to slaughter as many as 600 this winter. But while wildlife managers agree that the park can sustain just so many bison, significantly more habitat could be available to bison just outside the park…
There are only 160 Florida panthers left in the wild. One hundred and sixty! These incredible cats are teetering on the brink of extinction. We’re so close to reaching our $20,000 goal to help protect the critical lands and waters threatened and endangered wildlife like the Florida panther depend on. Every last one of these panthers is precious and every gift counts – make your gift by MIDNIGHT tonight.
We now have solid evidence that elephants are some of the most intelligent, social and empathic animals around—so how can we justify keeping them in captivity?
by Ferris Jabr
One day in 2010, while taking a stroll in his backyard, Kandula the elephant smelled something scrumptious. The scent pulled his attention skyward. There, seemingly suspended in the air, was a sprig of bamboo decorated with bits of cantaloupe and honeydew. Stretching out his trunk, he managed to get the fruit and break off a piece of the branch, but the rest of the tasty leaves remained tantalizingly out of reach. Without hesitation he marched straight to a large plastic cube in the yard, rolled it just beneath the hovering bamboo and used it as a step stool to pull the whole branch to the ground.
Seven-year-old Kandula had never before interacted with a cube in this manner. Determined to satisfy his stomach and his curiosity, he did something scientists did not know elephants could do: he had an aha moment.
A couple weeks earlier a team of researchers led by Diana Reiss and Preston Foerder, then at City University New York, had visited Kandula’s home at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. They placed sticks and sturdy cubes around the yard and strung a kind of pulley system similar to a laundry line between the roof of the elephant house and a tree. From the cable they dangled fruit-tipped bamboo branches of various lengths both within and without of Kandula’s reach.
After preparing the aerial snacks they retreated out of sight, turned on a camera and waited to see what the young elephant would do. It took several days for Kandula to achieve his initial insight, but after that he repeatedly positioned and stood on the cube to wrap his trunk around food wherever the scientists suspended it; he learned to do the same with a tractor tire; and he even figured out how to stack giant butcher blocks to extend his reach…
Conservationist Dr. Paul Salaman describes efforts to save the endangered golden poison frog, which releases enough venom to kill up to 13 adult humans.
by Eric Niiler
For most of his career, conservationist Paul Salaman has been traipsing across South and Central America, looking for unusual animals that call tropical rain forests home. In recent years he has become obsessed by the rare golden poison frog, one of the world’s most toxic animals.
The amphibians — which measure about two inches long and are covered by a secretion of a poison known as a batrachotoxin — number fewer than 5,000, all living in a tropical forest along the Pacific coast of Colombia. The species is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened species.
The golden poison frog is both feared and coveted. Its scientific name, Phyllobates terribilis, includes “the terrible” because its toxins are so poisonous. For centuries, indigenous people used the poison for hunting. They collected the frogs and carefully rubbed their darts on the frog’s back where the toxin is secreted, using it to help bring down game. But doing so was treacherous to humans, too…
Lion-tailed macaques, Macaca silenus (Primates - Cercopithecidae) are found only in India, in the Western Ghats mountains.
They are classified as a Endangered species on the IUCN Red List and are also included in Appendix I of CITES.
According to the last evaluation made by the IUCN Red List (ver. 3.1) the total wild population of Macaca silenus is estimated to be less than 4,000 individuals, made up of 47 isolated subpopulations in seven different locations. The macaque in the photo is from a self-sustainable single population of 32 groups of lion-tailed macaques in Sirsi-Honnavara, India.
A First for the Atlantic Forest: Radio-Tracking the Helmeted Woodpecker
by Victoria @ All About Birds
Researcher Martjan Lammertink has spent the past two and a half years in Argentina studying the rare Helmeted Woodpecker (Dryocopus galeatus), which lives in the heavily deforested Atlantic Forest of southeastern South America. A handsome bird with a spectacular bushy red crest, this woodpecker shows a strong affinity for old-growth forest and makes a perfect flagship species for the Atlantic Forest, a biodiversity hotspot that has just 12 percent of its original forest cover remaining. Here is a field report from Martjan about his work with this fascinating species.
Attracted by the possibility to study a little-known, endangered woodpecker in a region in need of forest conservation, I moved to Misiones province in northeast Argentina in 2011. My aim was to study the requirements of the Helmeted Woodpecker in old-growth and logged forests. I also wanted to learn how it coexists and possibly competes ecologically with two similar large woodpeckers, the Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) and Robust Woodpecker (Campephilus robustus), which both can cope with a higher degree of forest disturbance than the Helmeted Woodpecker can…
Florida Species Spotlight: Have you ever heard of a vole?
The future of the Florida salt marsh vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus dukecampbelli) is precarious. It is figuratively and sometimes literally clinging to salt marsh grass and other vegetation to keep its head above water in high tides and storms. That’s because the vole occupies such a small chunk of Florida’s Big Bend that the torpedo-shaped but fluffy rodent could be wiped out by a natural or environmental catastrophe.
Irony abounds for this mammal that kind of looks like a super-big shapeless rabbit foot with eyes. Rabbit feet are supposed to be lucky, and the definition for the word “vole” means the winning of all the tricks in old card games. However, this species apparently isn’t lucky or winning any tricks because the federal government lists it endangered and says that until recently less than three dozen individuals have been found over two decades.
Its diet is simple – plants (mostly grasses) – and it has only been found in salt grassy meadows. (Don’t confuse voles with moles. Moles have pinkish snouts and wide, paddle-like pink feet for burrowing underground, and they eat insects.)
To see a map showing its small range and learn more about conservation efforts:
There’s simply no way other way to begin this story: The future for Africa’s forest elephant (Loxodonata cyclotis) is exceedingly dire.
The battle to protect this “hidden elephant” from unremitting slaughter is being lost to a more aggressive and merciless demand for the animals’ ivory.
Or as Richard Ruggiero, Africa branch chief at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), bluntly puts it: “There will [only] be a massive decline in poaching when the market demands stop or all the elephants are gone.”
Still, despite the data and the carnage, Ruggiero—and some other conservationists—believes that there is a way for the trajectory to be slowly reversed.
“Although it’s getting very late, it’s not too late.” But, he warns, “we have exhausted all the margins for error and inaction. Every day that lapses, while we do not act in a strategic, concerted, and energetic way, we get closer and closer to the abyss.”…
A project to reintroduce these little brown birds helps protect them from extinction.
by Emma Bryce
In 2011 a rescue mission more than 30 years in the making began to unfold in the Pacific Islands. Scientists were embarking on an expedition to reintroduce the Millerbird to a northwest Hawaiian atoll called Laysan Island. The nondescript little brown bird was last seen there in 1923, after having its habitat destroyed by introduced rabbits and livestock.
The biologists planned to capture birds from a nearby rocky outcrop called Nihoa Island—the Millers’ last stronghold—and transport them nearly 650 miles by boat to Laysan’s shore. The stakes were high: There were only about 800 Millers left, and moving even a small number of them seemed risky. But it was worth it, they decided.
"We believed that if the birds survived the trip, they would flourish," says Sheldon Plentovich, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration ecologist, who planned the translocation.
The expedition made the three-day voyage twice, carrying a total of 50 birds, which appeared “unflappable,” says Plentovich. “Even in the boat, they were eating the whole time.” In the end, they all survived, and Laysan now supports more than 125 individuals…