Thursday, April 28, 2011
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Because in addition to controlling vast numbers of insect pests and pollinating many of the world's most valuable plants, bats are responsible for up to 95% of the seed dispersal essential to regeneration of tropical rain forests.
And without rain forests, the world's entire ecological balance would be destroyed.
However, die to people's fears and misconceptions, bats are being randomly and brutally exterminated. Many valuable species are endangered or already extinct.
Bat Conservation International (BCI) was founded to educate people worldwide about these intelligent, useful mammals. As a result, many important bat populations have been protected. But much more needs to be done. And BCI needs additional funding to implement many of its conservation projects.
Please help BCI by becoming a member and making a donation. ( As a BCI member you'll receive our quarterly publication, Bats.)
Please send your check or money order as soon as possible.
The bats' survival - and possibly your grandchildren's - depends on it.
Bat Conservation International
P.O. Box 162603, Austin, TX 78716
Telephone: 512- 327- 9721
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Kangaroos and Their Interesting WaysAuthor: Patrick Daniels
Kangaroos are possibly Australia's most famous animal. They are a marsupial and only found on this continent and come in a variety of sizes, the Red Kangaroo is the largest wallabies are smaller members of the kangaroo family. The Kangaroos should also be considered a danger to cars while driving down the roads in Australia.
Kangaroos, especially larger species, have adapted to the Australian landscape and weather. They hop, as this is the most efficient way to travel at a decent speed. The energy of the Kangaroo's bounce is stored in their leg tendons, While the intestines bounce up and down, emptying and filling the lungs. This efficiency is important when the kangaroo is required to travel long distances in search of food. A comfortable speed for a kangaroo is around 25 kilometres an hour, but they have been known to go as much as 70 kilometres over short distances; faster then most cars on the road.
The name kangaroo is from an Aboriginal word gangurru. Male kangaroos are also known as bucks, boomers, jacks or old men. The female kangaroos are known as does, flyers or bills, while their young is known as joeys. Kangaroos have muscular hind legs, large feet and a long muscular tail for balance. In order for the kangaroo to walk at slower paces they do what is considered a crawl walk. This is simple when they put their tails on the ground to form a tripod and lift their hind legs up bringing them forward.
The joeys are born after 31 days and continue their development in the mothers pouch, known as the marsupium. They will remain in the pouch to continue postnatal development and will only come out for short periods of time until they are eighteen months. This whole time their main food source is from the mother kangaroo. The kangaroos evolution is a very interesting development as they mother has the ability to freeze embryo development in periods of drought or in areas with a lack of food source. Female kangaroos will also not conceive in periods of drought and male kangaroos will not produce sperm during these times.
By nature the kangaroo is a shy animal. They box amongst other kangaroos, however they are no danger to humans. A kangaroo will only attack a human unless provoked. The main danger that humans face, when talking of kangaroos is if they accidentally hit one while driving. These animals are extremely heavy ad the force of impact can total a car. It is important to look for kangaroo crossing signs while driving on the Australian roads. It is also extremely important to take out renters insurance when using a car hire for your Australian travels.
When planning to travel to Australia be sure to check out www.budget.com.au. They will be able to help you with all your car rental Brisbane needs. You will after you have you will feel secure that you have the best car hire Brisbane has to offer.
Monday, January 5, 2009
“Better stand back a little, you are in his strike zone,” the animal trainer told me. I looked down at the lion cub…he probably weighed close to 200 lbs. I stepped back a few more feet. Someday Truman, (the lion cub’s name), would weigh over five hundred pounds and would truly be an impressive animal. Right now I am at the animal trainer’s compound to shoot a baboon…so the lion will have to wait.
Taking pictures of Truman the lion
Fast-forward several years. I am in my San Francisco studio and Truman has just been led out of his trailer producing a collective gasp from my staff and myself. The lion had indeed become an impressive animal…tipping the scales at 500 lbs., with an impressive mane, and with an unexpected muscularity, Truman indeed, seemed like a “King of Beasts”. The lion was owned by Bow Wow productions. I had recently asked one of Bow Wow’s trainers about working with the Lion and the Tiger and if she felt one was more dangerous than the other. She thought about it and answered that the Tiger might actually be more dangerous. The lion, in order to keep his mane, could not be neutered.
When Truman walks into a room people sense his dominance, his wildness…his danger…and respect it. With the tiger, having been neutered, they feel like he is a big kitten and drop their guard. She was right. When Truman walked into my studio we all felt not just a sense of awe but a sense of danger too.
Rules for photographing lions
There were three animal trainers and each carried a pick handle and a can of mace. I can’t imagine that a pick handle would have done any good if they had been needed, and I think the mace would just make the lion madder! The lion was kept on a chain at all times, though having once seen a tiger effortlessly run across a field with a helpless trainer bouncing behind; the chain didn’t bolster my confidence either.
The first thing the animal trainers (there were three of them) did before letting Truman out of his trailer was to explain the ground rules to us. None of us should separate from the group they told us. That might trigger his hunting instinct.
They asked me to get rid of all of the sandbags (we use sandbags to hold down the light stands and such). When I asked why, the trainer replied that Truman might be possessive of them. When I told her that wouldn’t be a problem she said that I didn’t understand… if the lion wanted the sandbags he would have to kill us to make sure we didn’t take them from him. We got rid of the sandbags. Other rules include directions not to approach a piece of meat (rewards for the Lion) that might end up flying across the studio, and if we had anything we didn’t want him to “mark” we should put tarps over it. No sudden movements or distracting noises were to be made either.
The photo shoot -Lion pictures ahead!
I arranged to shoot the Lion because, frankly, I wanted to get close to a Lion. I also figured that I could make a couple of great stock photos. I sure hoped so…the Lion costs $5,000.00 to rent (When I asked the trainer how long I would get she replied “As long as he wants…”). I needed to get the poses necessary to create a lion trainer with his head in the lion’s mouth, and the poses to have the lion sitting on a throne being the “King of Beasts”.
I discussed what I needed with Stephanie, the owner of Bow Wow. She would be able to have him open his mouth really wide, stand up on his hind legs (resting his forelegs on a bar) and sit on a stand. That would be enough.
The shoot went smoothly. We managed to get him standing and resting his front legs on a large camera stand we had braced for that purpose. One of the trainers would put a piece of beef heart on a stick and entice the lion up, just like one would entice a cat with a small morsel of food. And just like a cat, Truman would try and catch the treat with a quick swat of his paw. Sometimes he would catch it, but when he missed and the trainer would rise up the treat ever higher, he would rise up and brace himself on the camera stand. I remember how his muscles would ripple and he seemed immensely powerful and self-assured in a lazy kind of way. He begrudgingly sat on a circus pedestal for us, rolled around on the floor, gave us a few big yawns and paced the studio in larger and larger circles. Each circle brought him closer to me. The trainer said he was curious about me and was trying to slyly get close enough to investigate.
Finally, the trainer said Truman was getting a little agitated and it was time to quit. Elapsed time: forty-five minutes. But it was worth every penny! Oh yeah, and before getting back in his trailer he did manage to “mark” the art director’s car.
Taking pictures of Lions keeps my excitement level up.
It is opportunities like shooting the lion that keep me excited about stock photography and that help me make images that don’t get lost in the crowd. That, as I see it, is the biggest challenge in stock today…not getting lost in the shuffle.
To succeed you have to try and be the King of Beasts…you don’t have to be it…but you have to reach for it. And you do that by taking risks, by getting out of your comfort zone and by stretching yourself to do a little bit more and do it a little bit better.
Stock Photos of lions, cows, sheep, elephants and more: Stock Photos Online Concept stock photos, Fine Art Prints, and printed merchandise.
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Monday, December 8, 2008
Lions were once found the length of Africa and the middle east all the way to India, where a small population still remains in the Gir Forest. Currently the lion is found in savanna and plains habitat across the continent, although is now absent from north and the far south of Africa. The last large remaining populations are found in the Serengeti National Park and Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania, and Kruger National Park, South Africa. The main reason for the decline in the lions range since the nineteenth century is competion with man due to hunting and loss of habitat.
Lion gestation lasts 3 1/2 months, with typically four cubs being born blind and helpless, weighing only 1-2kg. The cubs will be born in a den, which is often situated in a kopje or dry river bed, to provide them protection for the first few months of their life when they are especially vulnerable to predation by hyenas, leopards and other lions. The cubs will stay with their mother in the den for the first 2-3 months before being introduced to the rest of the pride, which allows them some time to grow and toughen themselves up a bit before having to deal with the rough and tumble of pride life. A pride can range from two to 19 related adult females plus their offspring. During this period the mother will often leave her cubs for upto 24 hours in order to feed and socalise with the rest of the pride. When you first see a new litter of cubs they will be around three months old, but often by this stage there will only be 2 or 3 cubs surviving as there is an 85% mortality rate in the first year, with 25% of this being due to infantacide, the rest to starvation and abandonment. The risk of starvation only receeds when the cubs are able to hunt for themselves. Tlhe cubs will start to eat scraps of meat when they are first led to kills by their mothers at around 2 months, and will be fully weaned by around 8 months.
As the females in the pride tend to have a synchonous oestrous, and lots of cubs born at the same time, mums and cubs will often form large creche groups. The creche will provide protection for the cubs as they grow up as there is safety in numbers. Another advantage of having cubs of a similar age is that older cubs won't monopolise the milk when females suckle one anothers cubs. Generally mothers won't tolerate cubs other than their own suckling, but as lions spend upto 20 hours a day sleeping, cubs often take advantage of this to sneak an extra feed from a lactating female. Over the next two years the cubs are dependant on their mothers and they will learn how to hunt and form bonds with siblings and other pride members. By the time the cubs have joined the rest of the pride they will be able to observe prey movements, and will imitate hunting behaviour such as stalking and killing actions in their play. The adult females, unlike adult males, are very tolerant of cubs playing with their tails and jumping all over them, and will occassionally join them in play.
At two years old the cubs become sub-adults and the males and females take two different paths. Females tend to be recruited back into their natal pride, whereas the males are kicked out by theirparents. Males will have a nomadic existance for the next 2-3 years, roaming around in unoccupied/poor lion habitat, such as the short grass plains of the Serengeti. During this time they try to avoid trouble with resident males and will grow in size and strength and develope a full mane. This is an important period for develping strong bonds with their littermates, as the coalition they form now will decide their future sucess at having a pride of their own one day. Males unfortunate enough to be born into a cohort without any other males will often team up with other lone males to increase the size of their coalition. Coalition size can range from a single male to up to seven males, with typically three or four males in a coalition. If less than three males there is a chance they might not be related, but if more than three will be related. Sometimes young females will leave the pride with their brothers, particularly if there has been a pride takeover or the pride has become very large. These females may set up a new terrirory adjacent to their natal territory or could return to the natal pride when they reach sexual maturity at 4 years old. By the time an adult female is fully grown she will weigh 126kg and stand at 110cm.
Adult males become sexually mature at five years and will weigh 198 kg and stand at 120cm. and this is the time when a coalition of males attempts a pride takeover. This is a bloody and brutal affair, with males often fighting to the death. Incoming males will kill or chase away all the cubs and sub-adults sired by the previous coalition. Cubs less than 9 months are generally killed, and cubs older than that are able to run away and are expelled from the pride, but will often starve as they are unable to fend for themselves. Female lions will vigorously defend their cubs from incoming males and occasionally do succeed in chasing away single males. It has also been observed that females will leave the pride with their cubs to avoid the infanticide of their cubs by new males. Male tenure of a pride is fairly short, only 2-3 years, which is just enough time to rear one cohort of cubs before the next coalition will take over the pride. The reason for the males committing infanticide is that due to their short tenure of the pride they don't have time to spend raising another males cubs. When a female loses her cubs, she will come back into eostrus fairly within weeks. However it has been observed that after a takeover females will mate repeatedly with the new males without ovulating. This allows the females not only to bond to the new males, but also to delay reproduction until the strongest coalition in the area vieing for the pride has made a successful challenge.
When a female is in oestrus she will mate roughly every 15 minutes for four days. Before a female comes into oestrus she will be mate guarded by the male in the coalition who gets to her first. There is no agression between males at this time and there is a 'first come, first served' approach. Within the male coalition there will be a dominance hirarchy and the most dominant individual will generally get to the female first at the peak of her oestrus. The next dominant male will then mate with her afterwards, but still has a chance of sireing cubs. As there is often synchonous eostrus within a pride, less dominant males will have the opportunity to mate as several females will be in heat at the same time and females will have a degree of mate choice at this time.
Lions are oportunistic hunters and will readily scavenge kills from other predators, such as hyenas and cheetahs, and will follow vultures to a carcass. Although lions do the majority of their hunting at night, they will hunt in the midday sun if an opportunity presents itself. Lions favourite prey is wildebeest and zebra, but in the dry season they will take warthog and buffalo. Females do the majority of the hunting due to being smaller, faster and more agile than the males. Also they don't have a big mane to give them away when stalking prey! However, males will often help to bring down larger prey such as buffalo and giraffe. A lion hunt will be more successful if several individuals cooperate to bring down an animal, but it has been found that a lion will get more food over time when hunting on their own even though the percentage of successful hunts is much lower. After a kill it is each lion for himself around the carcass, with smaller, weaker animals losing out. As there is no hierarchy in lions they often get into scrapes round the kill which results in injuries such as ripped ears, missing eyes and missing tail tufts. A lion can eat up to 1/4 of its body weight in one sitting, although they will normally consume between 5-7kg per day.
Lion territories range in size from 20km2 to 400km2 depending on habitat type. Territories generally larger in poor habitat, as the lions have to range wider to find food and water. In woodland habitat, which is good for lions, territory size is much smaller as there is a greater concentration of resources. Both males and females actively defend their territories from other lions and patrol territory boundaries regularly scent marking by either spraying urine against trees or bushes and scraping the ground, along with head rubbing on trees and rocks. Roaring also has a territorial advertisement function, with bouts of roaring often occurring at dawn or dusk. Roaring also helps pride members locate each other and reinforce social bonds. Whilst patrolling their territory if lions encounter non-pride members they will drive them away and often get into fights. They will also chase and kill other carnivores, such as cheetahs, leopard and hyenas they find in their territories.
Visit Wild Things Tanzania Safaris for more information on visiting the Lions in the Serengeti.
About the Author
Kirsten Skinner is a former research scientist who works with Wild Things Safaris Ltd Wild Things
Friday, October 17, 2008
1. Mountain Lion is the most widely distributed big cat in the Americas.
2. Over time it has earned more names than any other animal, including cougar, pi-twal, puma, catamount and many others.
3. Even with its strong physique, the Mountain Lion is like smaller cats in its bodily make-up and is often not included in big cats due to the animal's inability to roar.
4. With its rudder-like tail and sleek physique, Mountain Lions are often said to be related to Cheetahs in their evolution, even as there is a dearth of evidence at the moment to substantiate this theory.
5. Mountain Lions are agile creatures. Their long hind limbs enable them to jump a distance of nearly thirteen metres in one go.
6. Skilled hunters, Mountain Lions are able to prey upon a wide variety of creatures, ranging from small ones like mice to big animals like moose. The most commonly hunted animal though, in majority of regions, remains the deer.
7. Ambush predators, Mountain Lions bring to use their considerable athleticism and momentum to bring down their hunted animals, and afterwards go on to make the kill with a bite on the animal's neck.
8. If they are unable to eat the whole of the hunted animal in one go, the wild cats often hide their kill to return to it later.
9. Even with their great predatory ability, Mountain Lions are not the apex predators in many parts where they reside and face considerable competition from larger animals like Jaguars and Bears.
10. Owing to this competition, these cats have evolved into designing unique survival strategies in many areas, including the ability to climb atop trees and swim distances to go after prey.
11. Despite their huge geographic range and survival skills, Mountain Lion numbers are decreasing in nature owing to loss of habitat and prey species.
12. Conflicts with humans also are behind the lowering of Mountain Lion numbers, who are increasingly under threat from people who keep encroaching into their range.
13. The highest numbers of attacks by the Mountain Lions on people reportedly occur in the notorious 'Cougar Island' in British Columbia where Cougars exist in high population density.
About the author:
The author is a blogger about cats and an expert on cougar facts. Article Source: http://www.Free-Articles-Zone.com
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The white tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is indigenous to the continental United States, southern Canada, Mexico, Central America, northern portions of South America, and some countries in Europe. In many of these countries, deer pose problems such as eating residential vegetation and causing car deer collisions on roadways. For this reason, deer population is often an issue of concern.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were an estimated half million deer in the United States. By 1930, that number had dropped to approximately 300,000. At a certain point, the species was nearly eradicated all together by hunters. As the result of an outcry by hunters and other conservation groups, individual U.S. states began passing legislation to restrict hunting, particularly of does (female deer). Most of the laws put in place shortened the hunting seasons and reduced bag limits, or how many deer a hunter can kill at one time.
As a species, deer are known reproduce at a rapid pace. A doe grows fully mature in about two and a half years and then produces twins each year for the next 10 plus years. Therefore, one doe can create 20 offspring. In a relatively short period of time, the population growth of deer can be staggering, if left unchecked.
By the year 2005, the population of deer in the United States was estimated in excess of 30 million. In fact, the deer is the state animal of Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as being listed as the "provincial animal" of Saskatchewan.
Not only is the population up, it also is up significantly in urban areas. Urban areas are highly restrictive of hunting, and as a result, deer have flourished there. Typically, land development increases the animals' available food supply. Old forests do not produce much edible food for deer, usually because the tree branches are too high for deer to reach, and during the cold winter months, low shrubs are eaten very quickly. However, new urban areas with newly planted trees and shrubs can sustain a much higher population of deer. Some suburban areas in the U.S. have reported populations as high as 200 deer per square mile.
eer in urban areas create a number of problems for humans. Gardeners often times find their gardens eradicated after a harsh winter. Deer will eat everything within reach, and they can reach 5 to 7 foot on their hind legs. Deer have been known to eat low hanging tree branches up to 7 foot from the ground. Deer also love acorns, fruits and field corn. Their stomach physiology allows them to eat some things that few other animals can eat, like mushrooms that are poisonous to humans and many other mammals. All of these factors make the deer a menace to urban gardeners as well as agricultural communities deriving their income from field crops.
nother major problem with deer population grown in urban areas is in incidence of car deer collisions. Deer on and around roadways are a serious danger. It has been estimated that deer are responsible for approximately 1.5 million automobile accidents each year in the United States, some of which prove to be deadly for the motorists involved.
The growth in deer population is not all bad, however. In the United States, deer are regularly hunted for sport, and an entire industry has developed around that pastime. Retail outlets specializing in sportsmen's products have entire sections of their stores devoted to deer hunting paraphernalia. In fact, the whitetail deer is considered to be the most popular game in the United States, with approximately 11 million hunters chasing it each year.
About the author:
Ellen Bell works for Home Products n' More, a company dedicated to providing high quality products for your home, garden, and auto. Home Products n' More offers an electronic deer whistle and a deer whistle for cars to reduce the risk of a car deer collision. Visit us at http://www.deer-whistle.com/ Article Source: http://www.Free-Articles-Zone.com