“Hopping to Camelot -Bristol Zoo”


With one third to one half of all amphibian species around the world  threatened with extinction and more than 160 species lost in the last decade alone, a Sir Lancelot is needed if the world is going to “hop” with success.

The extinction crisis is mainly due to man’s destruction of amphibians’ natural habitats, but in a deadly combination with pollution and climate change, they now face an even bigger and deadlier threat – a fungal disease called Amphibian chytrid.
This killer Chytrid fungi, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, (Bd) is steadily spreading throughout the world and is a major factor in the decline of amphibian population on every continent.

Saving endangered lemur leaf frogs


Who will save the hopping damsels in distress?

Golden mantella frog

Enter the Bristol Zoo in London. It has become the Sir Lancelot for two critically endangered  rain forest frog species. The Lemur Leaf Frog and the Golden Mantella Frog will live in the Camelot of amphibian enclosures the Amphipod.

This Camelot love shack  will  encourage breeding in a “safe house” until the threat from the fungus declines in the world. That may take 100 years, but the frogs hopefully will survive.
The building will be managed like a quarantine facility, that will keep frogs safe and away from any threat of disease,while allowing their keepers the opportunity to provide the specialized care needed.

Bristol Zoo believes if each zoo in Europe could save one or two species that would  save hundreds of endangered species that might otherwise be lost. Raising funds to build AmphiPod took nearly a year. Bristol Zoo says it still needs around $45,000 to run the facility for the next three years.

Will you help? Click here.

The Lemur Leaf frog (Hylomantis lemur) from Panama and Costa Rica and Madagascar’s Golden Mantella frog (Mantella aurantiaca). According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Leaf frog has lost 80 percent of its population in the past 10 years, largely because of the chytrid fungus. The Mantella frog lives in a tiny habitat less than 10 square kilometers ( 3.9 sq. miles) in size, which is rapidly being destroyed along with most of Madagascar’s biodiversity-rich forests.

For these very lucky frogs, hopefully it be a paradise where their numbers will increase and multiply and once again fill the earth.

Nature’s Crusaders helping to save our world one inspired person at a time.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/bUJUtm

Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/bKCb5q

Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/9snqym


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“Aussie Toad Wars-battle rages Meat ants vs Cane toads-ants winning “


In the wild west of Western Australia the toad wars are on. The Cane toads are still winning the battle for territory against humans, animals and plants. The imported toxic Cane toad is the nemesis of the environment and is spreading across Australia.

Cat food to the rescue

Humans are leading the attack against the poisonous  Cane toads on many fronts but their efforts have failed.
They have tried battering, gasing, shooting, running over and even freezing the toxic toads out of existence, but  scientists say just a spoon full of Whiskas could stop the warty horde. When fighting a predator war one must fight with another predator or the toads will continue to win the Toad Wars. Their poison kills all comers. The toads reproduce prolifically, eat anything, are incredibly tough, secrete poison that kills pets and wildlife and injure humans. They have withstood various campaigns to wipe them out.

Now an enterprising Aussie research team lead by Professor Shine has discovered a secret weapon to use against the toads. It seems that the newly emerged baby toads are extreemily vulnerable to Meat ant attacks.

Meat Ants or Gravel ants are the most abundant ant in Australia and measures up to 1 cm long. They build large nests underground and use sand, gravel or dead vegetation to line the surface around the nest entrance. The worker ants have powerful jaws and communicate using chemical signals. The workers are very aggressive and often attack in large numbers when they feel the vibrations of an intruder. Meat Ants do not sting but do have a nasty bite and can discharge a defensive chemical which really smells awful. Meat ants are omnivores eating plants and animals. The look for food during daylight hours.  Australian farmers sometimes use the ants as a quick and easy way to remove an animal carcass by placing the dead animal over a nest. Within a few weeks the ants would have stripped the carcass to bones.

Meat ants to the rescue Toad Wars take new turn

Now back to the Toad Wars

So cat food is placed near the shores of the emerging young cane toads. The ants being meat eaters are attracted by the smell of cat food find it a short “hop” (pun intended) to go from eating canned to dining on raw meat. The toads freeze when bitten by the ants rather than flee so the ants are treated to fine  toad a la cart.  Humans and the ants are happy.
Toad mortalities has increased by fourfold with the addition of cat food baits.
Meat ants have already killing millions of cane toads, but seem to be willing to up their consumption.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.sciencealert.com.au.html
Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/bM2M1N

Image courtesy of  http://www.stardestroyer.net/mrwong/Cane-toad-2.jpg

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/azVgvl

“Poaching +aphrodisiacs + greed + ignorance = the ‘blood diamonds’ of species survival”


You may be seeing the last of these species

It seems even those we pay to protect our animals make more money poaching than caring for the future of animals in their country. Zimbabwe security forces poached 200 rhinos during these past two years. Ivory is worth more now than gold on the black market. They are not alone.

As terrible as this is, we are supporting this behavior every time we purchase something made from ivory, tiger aphrodisiacs or wear a fur pelt from some skinned animal, go hunting for sport or chop up our forests or lands to plant non sustainable crops, build nuclear plants or drill into the sea bed for oil.

Only we can create a new healthier world.

Why do we bother to try to save endangered animals on one hand

– we wipe them out with the other?

Is there president for continuing to work with animal populations that have very few members thus limiting their genetic pool? Especially when “the blood diamond effect” is so pervasive? Why is the gene pool diversity needed?

As current genetic knowledge has it, the more diverse the number of genes contributing to the reproductive pool the stronger the chance that healthy, genetically strong traits to be passed down to offspring insuring the survival of the species.

Many of our most well known animals like the South China tiger, the orangutan, the Sumatran elephant and rhino, the panda, the tortoise, many of the whales, the sea turtles, the cheetah, monarch butterfly, pacific salmon, the North American bears, the wolf, jaguar, sharks, tuna, hundreds of frog, toad and other amphibians… are a few of thousands of animals and plants destroyed along the way to the bank or for aphrodisiacs or to make homes by slashing and burning or long lining their lives to the brink of extinction.

As the blood diamond, the African diamond mined at the expense on the backs of the blacks in the mines of South Africa, so to is the ivory horns, tiger penis, animal pelts, turtle shells and eggs, shark fins, roe of fish, palm oil, illegal animal trade , over fishing, etc are the bloody diamonds rampant in modern society.

Should we try to save an endangered species?

Junaidi Payne chairman of the Borneo Rhinoceros Alliance (BORA) and longtime conservationist with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), Malaysia answers this question this way, “There are estimated to be 11,000 orangutans [in Sabah alone] and probably 1,500 [Bornean pygmy] elephants, but there are no more than forty rhinos… New populations have stagnated and are going down slowly. It’s about need.

Bornean rhino probably has only 6-7 fertile females. MAYBE THEY CAN BE SAVED.

It is the maybe that keep us going against all odds as explorers of old trying to cross Antarctica and the success stories along the way like the miracles from medical field. Against all odds and commonly held genetic theory some will survive and flourish outside of captivity in their natural habitat. We can do it.

Intensive conservation measures pulled the white rhino back now about 17,480 white rhinos live in east and southern Africa and are the most populous rhino species in the world. Rewilding of the tigers in China is under way trying to help the South China tiger’s numbers. We cannot give up on our world.

Life in all forms is too precious.

Thanks to everyone who loves enough to give their time, energy and money to save our world. Everyone can help become a Crusader for Nature.” – Mother Nature

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://news.mongabay.com/2009/1201-hance_tam.html

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/bEKRms

Image courtesy of  http://www.ens-newswire.com/20090716_rhinopoaching.jpg

Image courtesy of  http://english.people.com.cn/200605/24/images/tiger1.jpg


“Black and grey Venezuelan pebble toad bounces away from predators”


The best offense is a good defense.

This black and grey Venezuelan pebble toad bounces to the top of the list of great defense weapons. It seems this tiny rainforest toad (Oreophrynella niger) a little over an inch in length (3 cm) method of escape from his dreaded enemy the tarantula is to throw himself off the mountain top and bounce down the hill.

When threatened the toad folds its arms and legs under its body, tucks in its head and tenses its muscles, just like we used to do in PE class for tuck and roll. However, PE class never had us roll backwards off a hill – just to keep the story straight. The toad is so small and light that the forces of impact are too tiny to cause it any harm.

Why would they need such an extreme flight mechanism?

This pebble toad rests on an incline, where rolling is faster than jumping. Their jumping legs won’t win any races either. The hop is only about one inch in distance (2.5 cm). By rolling no tarantulas could catch them. Many times as they roll they will land in a crack or crevice where they are out of sight or difficult to reach. The toad’s coloration helps it blend in with its sandstone habitat. Pebble toad (Oreophrynella niger) Camouflage is another defense.

Check out this BBC One video showing this pebble toad in action. Click here.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/

Video courtesy of YOU Tube and bbcwildlife1

“Nature’s Gallery of blue wonders – really true blue” part 3″


The Blue penguin Eudyptula minor is the smallest of all penguins on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It weighs in at 2.2 lb/1 kg and is only about 18 inches/45 cm in height. Unlike all other penguins, the male is a little larger than the female, although their plumage is similar. The head and upper parts are indigo in color, with slate-grey ear coverts fading to white underneath, from the chin to the belly. The flippers are indigo above and white underneath. The dark grey-black bill, the irises pale silvery or bluish-grey or hazel, and the feet whitish above with black soles and webbing. An immature individual will have a shorter bill and paler upper parts.
These birds feed by hunting fish, squid and other small sea animals, for which they travel and dive quite extensively. They are generally inshore feeders. The use of recording devices has provided information of the diving behavior of Little Penguins. Fifty percent of their dives go no deeper than 6.6 ft /2 m and the mean diving time is 21 seconds.
Little penguins in air had insulative values similar to the emperor penguin. Penguin feathers provide the major component of insulation and their function as a waterproof barrier implies relatively high rates of heat loss on land.

The extent to which the muscles powering swimming in the little penguin utilize aerobic and anaerobic metabolism was investigated by examining oxygen stores, muscle ultrastructure shows that the muscles used to power swimming in the little penguin are basically aerobic (oxygen needed for maximum functioning) with limited capacity for producing ATP during muscle anoxia (oxygen deprivation). This suggests that these birds do not rely extensively upon short bursts of rapid swimming or indulge in prolonged deep diving to a point where oxygen stores available to the swimming muscles are exhausted. hey could not maintain body temperature at water temperatures below 5°C. Their small size,muscle physiology and metabolism has limited their range to a southern distribution primarily to the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand.


The female Blue Dart frog fights for her mate. Then lets the male raise the the young

The Blue Dart Frog Dendrobates azureus is blue through and through and listed as a threatened species.
It is native to southernmost part of Suriname in a region known as the Sipaliwini Savannah in South America.
Weighing about 3 grams, it is about 1.2 to 1.57 in/3 to 4.5 cm in length with four toes each has a wide, flattened tip and a suction cup pad.  The intensely bright coloration tells potential predators to stay away because its skin hosts poison glands all over it that secrete alkaloid poisons capable of paralyzing, even killing some predators.

D.azureus has an azure-blue hue on the limbs, a sky-blue on its dorsal surface, and a darker blue on its ventral surface. An irregular pattern of dark blue and black spots of various sizes cover this background coloration with the majority of the spotting located on its back as well as head. Sometimes, the ventral surface of the body has a dark blue or black midbelly stripe. Its skin is generally smooth, but often portions of the posterior ventral surface and thighs have a granular texture.  This species is also characterized by its hunch-backed posture.
During the breeding season,  Blue Poison Dart Frog  the males sit on a rock and produce quiet calls, which the female follows and tracks down the male. The females then physically fight over the male. The male takes the female to a quiet place by water to mate, which becomes the site of the egg-laying.
Between five to ten offspring are produced, and eggs are laid in the male’s territory, which he defends. The male takes care of the eggs most of the time, but sometimes the female does as well. The eggs hatch between fourteen and eighteen days, and after anywhere from ten to twelve weeks, the tadpoles are fully mature.

The only natural predator of most of the poison dart frog family is a snake called Leimadophis epinephelus, which has developed a resistance to the frogs’ poison.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.springerlink.com/content/t96417446t26571g/

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.jstor.org/pss/30156056

Excerpts courtesy of  http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/Dendrobates_azureus.htm

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrobates_azureus

Image courtesy of  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/Little_Blue_Penguin.jpg

Image courtesy of   http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/blue-poison-dart-frog-two.jpg

“Rare Mexican salamander may help amputee regain limb use”


In its native habitat in Mexico City canals and backwaters, the rare axolotls are threatened by chemical run off from greenhouses on the banks of the city canals, waste water from surrounding neighborhoods and non-native fish species that compete with the salamander for food.

The rare axolotl

The rare Axolotl

The Axolotl is unusual in nature because it retains its larval form into adulthood. In fact, it becomes sexually mature in its larval form state. This adaptation prevents the Axolotl from living on land, and as a result, it can’t colonise new habitats. However, it has led to the axolotl being quite successful in its native habitat, at least until the arrival of man.

The Axolotl is carnivorous and but has teeth that look like small stumps or cones. It grips its food with these teeth, manoeuvering the prey into position before swallowing it whole.

Does the Axolotl hold the key to regeneration of human tissues?

Scientists are genetically modifying the Axolotl salamander tissues, which according to ancient mythology is a transformed Aztec god, in the hope its ability to regenerate body parts will one day help human amputees. This slippery skinned animal topped with frilly gills like a headdress, beady eyes and a drunken smile, is thriving in the protected environment of the lab where it reproduces easily. It can regrow injured limbs, jaws, skin, organs and parts of its brain and spinal chord when removed

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of Reuters.com/article/scienceNews

Excerpts courtesy of Axolotl.org/biology

Image courtesy of  kierstinpry.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/9-axolotl

“Water-holding frogs – Take a big drink and hold it”


Living on the dry mudflats, grasslands, temporary swamps, claypans, and billabongs of Australia, this frog can hold enough water to hibernate until the next big rains come . Now that may not sound impressive, but the rains in dry seasons may not come for a year or more! It holds a large water supply in its’ bladder then seals itself inside a water tight cocoon or bag made from skin that has been shed. Now that shows self sufficiency.

The Water-holding frog Cyclorana platycephala. has small eyes and a flattened head. The coloring of the skin matches his habitat.  It is a dull gray through dark brown to green. The rounded shape of his body and a flattened head give him the appearance of water jar. They do not possess toe discs but have a hardened ridge on the under surface of the foot, which acts like a spade to assist in digging. Most species may have webbing between the toes. The male frog is 4.2 (1.65 inches) to 6.4 cm (2.6 inches)and the female is 5.0 (1.97 inches) to 7.2 cm (2.84 inches) in length. The hatched tadpoles can reach a maximum of 6.0 cm (2.4 inches) in length.

water- holding frog C.platycephala

water- holding frog C.platycephala

Another member of the Water-holding frog family is called the short-footed Water-holding frog (Cyclorana brevipes). It has a yellow-beige background color on its skin with broken brown stripes or blotches down its back.

Australian short-footed frog

Australian short-footed frog

All Water-holding frogs survive the dry months by encasing themselves in a ‘bag’ made from their skin. They ‘hibernate’ in this bag until the heavy rains return. When the rain water soaks into the area their hibernating in, touches their bag a hormonal signal is sent from their brain to wake up the body. Stimulated by the rain water, they know that conditions above are good for breeding. The frogs climb back to the surface, swallow the bag and find a mate and breed quickly before the waters dry up again. They will lay large amounts of spawn in still water after floods. The tadpoles will grow quickly and then burrow into the wet mud before their water hole has dried up.

Check out this video on these amazing frogs.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of animals.jrank.org/frogs

Excerpts courtesy of frogatlas.com.au/frogspecies/water-holding frog

Video courtesy of National Geographic.com and YouTube.com

URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuWo_kWMihs

Image 1. courtesy of frogs.org.au/Cplatycephala

Image 2. courtesy of frogs.org.au/JB-frog-Cycloranabrevipes-Male

“The Smallest endangered frogs in the Americas”


Endangered Monte Iberia Eleuth, Eleutherodactylus Iberia. is the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere. It lives in Cuba. Iberia is second in size to a diminutive South American beauty the Brazilian Gold Frog

Eleutherodactylus_iberia

Eleutherodactylus_iberia

Monte Iberia Eleuth measures just over 3/8 inches (9.6 – 9.8 mm long) is the smallest living frog in the northern hemisphere. Its “voice or song box” and its throat is about the size of the head of a pin. With such a tiny throat apparatus its’ croak sounds like a high-pitched series of irregular chirps,

This endangered frog Monte Iberia lays only a single egg to a few in each clutch and both parents are closely involved in raising the young.

Requiring high humidity to survive, this tiny frog lives in areas of closed rain forest with poorly-drained soil.

The smallest frog in South America

The Brazilian Gold Frog (Brachycephalus didactylus), also known as Izecksohn’s Toad, is the smallest frog in the Southern Hemisphere.

Endangered Brazilian gold frog

Endangered Brazilian gold frog

The adult Brazilian Gold Frog measure to only 9.8 millimeters (24.764 inches) in body length. Many have a beautiful golden color after which they are named. named.

It is found in forests of southeastern Brazil. The Gold Frog has bony dorsal shields that are fused to the vertebrae.

They eat worms and insects and they spawn and lay their eggs in puddles or ponds or whatever is available.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Iberia_Eleuth

Excerpts courtesy of tolweb.org/Brachycephalidae

Image 1. courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleutherodactylus_iberia

Image 2. courtesy of hvrsd.k12.nj.us/timberlane

Chicken frogs saved by helicopter


Rescuing people by helicopter or plane from the air has become more common these days-dangerous no-less. Rescuing animals is also fraught with perils, however the dedication is the same. This week it was the rare Mountain Chicken frog of Monserrat that was rescued before a fungus took down any more.

Rare Mountain Chicken frog

Rare Mountain Chicken frog

In San Juan, Puerto Rico scientists in conjunction with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, began airlifting dozens

of chicken frogs, It is one of the world’s largest frogs off

of Montserrat island to save them from a deadly fungus

devastating their dwindling habitat. The dense forest of this tiny British Caribbean territory is the last remaining stronghold of the critically endangered mountain
chicken frog, a 2-pound or about 0.9 kg.


Dramatic animal rescues are not unique to our times.

Operation croc rescue

Operation croc rescue


Seems that in 1970 amid conservationist Dr. Ian Player’s story of his 60 year long struggle to save St. Lucia Lake in South Africa. In 1970, the lake had become so salty it was killing the crocodiles. Dr. Player and his colleagues found themselves wrestling 1,000 Lb crocodiles and airlifting the animals by helicopter to a safer home.

Please send us a link to your favorite animal rescue story in the comments section.

Resources

Image 1. courtesy of Montserrat-Today.com

Excerpts courtesy of .guardian.co.uk

Excerpts and image courtesy of EcoWorldly.com

50 Large Crocodiles Airlifted in 1970 Helicopter Animal Rescue” – Gavin Hudson
http://alphainventions.com/nature.xml

50 new animal species and people living in harmony Papua New Guinea.


Papua New Guinea New Species A large tree frog, Nyctimystes sp. (seen at the right) brilliant greenin color with huge black eyes, jumping spiders and a striped gecko are among more than 50 new animal species scientists have discovered in a remote, mountainous region of Papua New Guinea.

The discoveries were announced Wednesday by Conservation International, which spent the past several months analyzing more than 600 animal species the group found during its expedition to the South Pacific island nation in July and August 2008.

From the 2008 expedition, 50 new spider species, three never seen before frogs and a new gecko have now been detailed in scientific journals for the first time.. The new frogs include a tiny brown animal with a sharp chirp, a bug-eyed bright green tree frog and another frog with a loud ringing call. One of the jumping spiders is shiny and pale green, while another is furry and brown.

A Litoria frog“If you’re finding things that are that big and that spectacular that are new, that’s really an indication that there’s a lot out there that we don’t know about,” said expedition leader Steve Richards. “It never ceases to amaze me the spectacular things that are turning up from that island.”

New healthy frog species, said Craig Franklin, a zoology professor at The University of Queensland in Australia who studies frogs.

glassy green jumping spider

glassy green jumping spider

“They’re often regarded as a great can tell us that if one takes care of the environment our bioindicator species will thrive.

Researchers from Conservation International explored the region with scientists from the University of British Columbia in Canada and Montclair State University in New Jersey, as well as local scientists from Papua New Guinea.

The area the researchers explored provides a critical source of clean drinking water to tens of thousands of people living in surrounding communities and local clans rely on the region for hunting.

Man and nature live in harmony.

Anthropologist William Thomas  State University who worked with the local Hewa clan of native people reminds us that by working with local communities,  you learn a lot more because they already know so much.

Conservation International plans to conduct three more expeditions to Papua New Guinea this year, in the hopes of turning up even more new animals.

At Conservation International, our approach to preserving Earth’s biological riches is based on the premise that no organization can get the job done alone. Our steadfast belief is that together we can make a difference.



Resources

Excerpts and Images courtesy of
Scientists find new species in Papua New GuineaAP.
Photos released by  Conservation International

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