One of only five white rhinos left in the world, mountain gorillas in the wild and threatened gray wolves are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world.
A northern white female rhino named Najin, one of only five sub-species left on the planet, rubs against a tree at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya. Conservationists and scientists are working on a plan to save the species from extinction.
Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images
A juvenile and a young gorilla of Nyakagezi group, at Mgahinga gorilla national park, the smallest in Uganda. The group frequently moves into the adjacent forests of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Uganda has about 400 gorillas. The country is one of only three in the world where mountain gorillas can be found in the wild.
Photograph: Edward Echwalu/Reuters
This picture issued by the Michigan Technological University shows the last three wolves known to live at Isle Royale national park in Lake Superior, Michigan, US. Some scientists are opposed to the idea of removing grey wolves in the Great Lakes region from the endangered species list.
Photograph: Rolf Peterson/A
Source: The week in wildlife – in pictures | Environment | The Guardian
Orangutans have been used in degrading performances at Safari World, Bangkok, and many other locations for decades.
Such shows were temporarily stopped in 2004 amid international pressure but they have since resumed – taking place twice a day, every day – with hundreds of people paying to watch the the clever animals box, dance, play the drums and more
Image Credit: Photograph: Aaron Gekoski,/2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Standing just 8 to 10 inches tall, the African black-footed cat resembles a petite version of your average neighborhood tabby.
But though the speckled feline is unequivocally adorable, a vicious, adept killer lies beneath its charming exterior.
Felis nigripes, as the black-footed feline is formally named, is, in fact, Africa’s smallest cat. To give you some perspective on that statistic, the black-footed cat, which averages 2.4 t0 4.2 pounds, weighs roughly 200 times less than your typical lion.
Still, don’t be fooled by its demure stature—the species is also the deadliest of all the world’s felines, capturing more prey in a single night than a leopard does in six months.
As Live Science’s Mindy Weisberger reports, the cat’s skills were featured in the ongoing PBS Nature miniseries “Super Cats,” which spotlighted the tiny predator in a suitably creepy Halloween installment.
Producer Gavin Boyland tells Weisberger that the filmmakers worked with Cologne Zoo curator Alexander Sliwa to secure footage of the elusive feline. Unlike big cats, the black-footed cat tends to disappear into the tall grasses of the African savannah, making its exploits difficult to track via camera.
Luckily, the zoo had previously outfitted several South African-based cats with radio collars, allowing the team to detect their nocturnal hunts with the help of an advanced light-sensitive camera.
The segment itself focuses on a female cat named Gyra. Narrator F. Murray Abraham explains the cat’s excellent night vision and hearing turns “almost anything that moves…[into] a potential meal.”
For years, environmentalists have been warning that the world’s seemingly insatiable demand for palm oil, the reddish oil extracted from palm fruit that’s used in thousands of everyday products from margarine to cosmetics, poses a major risk to animals in the southeast Asian rainforests that are being cleared for palm cultivation.
In Indonesia — a major palm oil producer which Nature reports is losing rainforest at the most rapid rate on the planet — hundreds of endangered orangutans have been killed by plantation workers, according to a disturbing BBC News report.
Now, a newly-published study in Cell Biology warns that the growing push to clear forests for palm oil cultivation in Africa may spell doom for that continent’s great apes as well.
In some African countries, 80 percent of the land suitable for palm cultivation overlaps with the habitat of chimpanzees, bonobos and other apes.
“There is an urgent need to develop guidelines for the expansion of oil palm in Africa to minimize the negative effects on apes and other wildlife,” Liverpool John Moores University primate researcher Serge Wich and colleagues conclude.
Friends of the Earth warns that palm oil cultivation is a threat in particular to the Cross River gorilla, one of the least known and most endangered ape species.
Only about 250 of the creatures still survive on the border of Nigeria and Cameroon — an area where palm oil producers happen to be developing 50,000 acres of new plantations.
While on an Alaskan cruise my wife chose an excursion where we flew by float plane from Ketchikan to Neets Bay in the Tongas National Forest to hopefully see some ‘wild’ black bears in their natural habitat salmon fishing.
We were not disappointed
Image Credit: Photograp by JennerTaylor/GuardianWitness