“The Ngerukewid Islands National Wildlife Preserve is a ‘no entry, no take, no disturbance’ area within the larger Rock Islands Southern Lagoon World Heritage Area [of Palau],” says photographer Stuart Chape.
“The marine and terrestrial areas of the Rock Islands have great biological, cultural, and economic value to Palau and the world, and provide critical habitat for the majority of the country’s threatened and endangered species.
The wider area supports Palau’s tourism industry and the nation’s economy, as well as contributing to people’s health and well-being through commercial and subsistence harvesting of its natural resources.”
Andean cock-of-the-rock, the national bird of Peru, living in ‘secondary’ Peruvian Amazon rainforest, which is regenerating after human disturbance. Secondary forest accounts for 53% of the world’s forests and is of extreme scientific importance for conserving biodiversity.
Photograph: Will Nicholls/Rex Shutterstock
A baby mountain gorilla clings to the back of its mother, on Mount Bisoke volcano in Volcanoes national park, northern Rwanda. Rwanda has named 24 baby mountain gorillas in an annual naming ceremony that reflects the African country’s efforts to protect the endangered animals, which attract large numbers of foreign tourists to the volcano-studded forests where they live
The Jaguar (Panthera Onca) is the third-largest of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and the only living member native to the western hemisphere.
Growing up to 160 kg (350 lb), Jaguars are distinguished by rosette-emblazoned fur, comparatively short tails and an exceptionally powerful bite that enables them to successfully prey on armored reptiles such as caimans and turtles.
(Images via: Fanpop and WWF/Go Wild)
Jaguars are stated to be Near Threatened by the IUCN and while their current range is roughly half of what it once was, these often solitary big cats can still be found from southern Arizona in the United States down to Paraguay and northern Argentina.
A face anyone could love: the western pygmy possum. (Credit: Amanda McLean)
by Becky Crew,
JUST WHEN WE thought it couldn’t get much more adorable than the common spotted cuscus, along comes the western pygmy possum (Cercartetus concinnus) to blow everything we thought we knew about cute right out of the water.
Endemic to Australia, these furry little bundles with whiskers for days are found in the bush and arid shrub lands of southwestern Western Australia, several regions of South Australia and western Victoria, and Kangaroo Island, favouring places thick with bottle brushes, banksia, and grevillea.
They’re also found in parts of south western New South Wales, but their numbers have dwindled to the point where they’re now endangered in the state.
With a body growing to just 7.7cm long, plus an 8cm-long tail, western pygmy possums might be pretty tiny, but they’re actually one of the largest pygmy possums in the world.
Members of the pygmy possum family, called Burramyidae, are found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, and Tasmania has the honour of hosting the smallest possum in the world – the 6.5cm-long, 9g Tasmanian pygmy possum (Cercartetus Lepidus).
Article and Photo by Alex Brown, Doctoral candidate at Murdoch University in Western Australia.
The snubfin dolphin appears to smile from its smooth, round head, like an old friend who’s lost his hair but still has an abundance of happiness to share.
Of course, that’s reading a lot from the unusual – for a dolphin – looks of the snubfin. It’s a marine mammal and smiling isn’t one of its tricks. That’s just the way it is, but those looks do make them endearing to humans.
The snubfin is found only in Australia’s tropical north and probably in the southern areas of the island of New Guinea and was only recognised as a separate species in 2005. Before that everyone thought it was a type of river dolphin found in south-east Asia.
Little is known about them.
Alex Brown, a a doctoral candidate at Murdoch University in Western Australia, says the snubfin’s shy behaviour, coupled with the inaccessibility of much of their habitat, makes them difficult to study.
He’s working on estimating the population size now after several trips to look at different groups of the dolphins along the coast in the north west.
The general scientific thinking is that there are well below 10,000 mature snubfin dolphins.
By numbers alone, this would place them in a vulnerable classification.
The bat reappeared in Papua New Guinea, according to a new study
When the New Guinea big-eared bat, which hadn’t been seen for over a century, was captured, it hadn’t even been hiding.
In fact, student researchers Catherine Hughes and Julie Broken-Brow from the University of Queensland trapped the bat in Papua New Guinea in July 2012 while it was flying in an open area by a logged rainforest now overrun by grasslands, according to their study published in Records of the Australian Museum.
The bat remained an unidentified species for nearly two years at the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery until Dr. Harry Parnaby, a researcher at the Australian Museum, requested to loan the mystery mammal.
He subsequently identified it as Pharotis imogene, a critically endangered species according to the IUCN Red List.
With ears nearly twice the size of its face, the insectivore—so tiny you could lift it with a pair of chopsticks—had last been seen in 1890, said researcher Dr. Luke Leung in a statement.
What is it like to look at the very last of something?
To contemplate the passing of a unique wonder that will soon vanish from the face of the earth? You are seeing it. Sudan is the last male northern white rhino on the planet.
If he does not mate successfully soon with one of two female northern white rhinos at Ol Pejeta conservancy, there will be no more of their kind, male or female, born anywhere.
And it seems a slim chance, as Sudan is getting old at 42 and breeding efforts have so far failed.
Apart from these three animals there are only two other northern white rhinos in the world, both in zoos, both female.
It seems an image of human tenderness that Sudan is lovingly guarded by armed men who stand vigilantly and caringly with him. But of course it is an image of brutality.
Even at this last desperate stage in the fate of the northern white rhino, Sudan is under threat from poachers who kill rhinos and hack off their horns to sell them on the Asian medicine market – despite the fact that he has had his horn cut off to deter them.
Sudan doesn’t know how precious he is.
His eye is a sad black dot in his massive wrinkled face as he wanders the reserve with his guards. His head is a marvellous thing.
It is a majestic rectangle of strong bone and leathery flesh, a head that expresses pure strength.
How terrible that such a mighty head can in reality be so vulnerable. It is lowered melancholically beneath the sinister sky, as if weighed down by fate.
This is the noble head of an old warrior, his armour battered, his appetite for struggle fading.