Blog

Wildlife In and Around Albany - Woylie

The Brush-tailed bettong or Woylie (Bettongia penicillata) was until recently very abundant in the south west but, starting in 2006, it has suffered a dramatic decline and is now currently listed as Critically Endangered. Nobody knows why. This underlines the critical need for protection of these unique species and their habitat in a biodiversity hotspot under increasing pressure from urbanisation.

Bettongia_penicillata_(Woylie)1.jpg

This species is strictly nocturnal and is not gregarious. It can breed all year round if the conditions are favorable. The female can breed at six months of age and give birth every 3.5 months. Its lifespan in the wild is about four to six years.[5] The woylie is able to use its tail, curled around in a prehensile manner, to carry bundles of nesting material. It builds its dome-shaped nest in a shallow scrape under a bush. The nest, which consists of grass and shredded bark, sticks, leaves, and other available material, is well-made and hidden. The woylie rests in its nest during the day and emerges at night to feed.

The woylie has an unusual diet for a mammal. Although it may eat bulbstubers, seeds, insects, and resin of the hakea plant, the bulk of its nutrients are derived from underground fungi which it digs out with its strong foreclaws. These fungi can only be digested indirectly. In a portion of its stomach, the fungi are consumed by bacteria. These bacteria produce the nutrients that are digested in the rest of the stomach and small intestine. When it was widespread and abundant, the woylie likely played an important role in the dispersal of fungal spores within desert ecosystems.

The woylie once inhabited more than 60% of the Australian mainland, but now occurs on less than 1%. It formerly ranged over all of the southwest of Eastern Australia, most of South Australia, the northwest corner of Victoria, and across the central portion of New South Wales. It was abundant in the mid-19th century. By the 1920s, it was extinct over much of its range. As of 1992, it was reported only from four small areas in Western Australia. In South Australia, a several populations have been established through reintroduction of captive-bred animals. As of 1996, it occurred in six sites in Western Australia, including Karakamia Sanctuary run by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and on three islands and two mainland sites in South Australia, following the reintroduction program and the controlling of foxes. Today, this species lives mostly in open sclerophyll forest and Malee eucalyptus woodlands with a dense low understory of tussock grasses.However, this versatile species is also known to have once inhabited a wide range of habitats, including low arid scrub or desert spinifex grasslands.

"It is believed the woylie population peaked a decade ago at more than 250,000, but numbers have since declined by about 90 per cent." However, despite these losses woylies continue to thrive as small localized populations in fox- and cat-free sanctuaries, including a population at Wadderin Sanctuary in the central Western Australian wheatbelt established in 2010. Wadderin is one of very few sanctuary projects within Australia managed by a local community. The community group includes current and retired farmers and townsfolk. This project was set up to exclude foxes and feral cats and so allow reconstruction of the past native fauna.

 

Image Source: By arthur_chapman [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife In and Around Albany - Western Brush Wallaby

The western brush wallaby (Macropus irma), also known as the black-gloved wallaby, is a species of wallaby found in the southwest coastal region of Western Australia. The wallaby's main threat is predation by the introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes) The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the western brush wallaby as Least Concern, as it remains fairly widespread and the population is believed to be stable or increasing, as a result of fox control programs.

Western Brush Wallaby.jpg

The western brush wallaby has a grey colour with distinctive white colouring around the face, arms and legs (although it does have black gloves as its alternative common name implies). It is an unusually diurnal macropod that eats mainly grass.

Little is known about the behaviour of the western brush wallaby, however much of their behavior is consistent with that of other members of the family Macropodidae.

Although quite small, the western brush wallaby's coloring resembles the larger kangaroos of the region. The western brush wallaby's head and body length usually falls around 1.2 m. Their tail length, which ranges from 54–97 cm, is proportionally long to their smaller body size. The adult western brush wallaby weighs anywhere from 7.0-9.0 kg. Their coloring consists of a pale to mid gray coat with a distinct white facial stripe. Other distinct features include black and white ears, black hands and feet, and crest of black hairs on the tail. The size of the male and female are quite similar.

The western brush wallaby is a herbivore, although there is disagreement on whether it is a browser, eating mainly leaves, or a grazer, eating mainly grass, as there has not been extensive research done. It is a diurnal animal, which is somewhat unusual for macropods, and is active during dawn and dusk, making it crepuscular. It rests during the hottest part of the day and at night either singly or in pairs, taking shelter in bushes and small thickets . The wallabies will consume most species of plants, with the Carpobrotus edulisCynodon dactylon, and Nuytsia floribunda being the common dietary items. One source suggests that the wallaby’s diet is made up of 3-17% of grasses and sedges, 1-7% forbs, and 79-88% browsing material (mainly the leaves of low shrubs).The stomach is divided into four compartments where microorganisms can ferment the fibrous plant material. They appear to be able to survive without free water.

Like all others in the family Macropodidae, the western brush wallabies are characterized by powerful hind limbs and long hind feet. It runs by weaving or sidestepping, utilizing its powerful hind-limbs, while keeping its head low and its tail extended straight, making it very speedy.

How Australia’s animals and plants are changing to keep up with the climate

Image 20170315 11555 cknzgv
Flora and fauna can adapt to climate change, but some are more successful than others. allstars/shutterstock
Ary Hoffmann, University of Melbourne

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing Australia’s wildlife, plants and ecosystems, a point driven home by two consecutive years of mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

Yet among this growing destruction there is a degree of resilience to climate change, as Australian animals and plants evolve and adapt.

Some of this resilience is genetic, at the DNA level. Natural selection favours forms of genes that help organisms withstand hotter and drier conditions more effectively.

Over time, the environmental selection for certain forms of genes over others leads to genetic changes. These genetic changes can be complex, involving many genes interacting together, but they are sufficient to make organisms highly tolerant to extreme conditions.

Some of this resilience is unrelated to DNA. These are “plastic” changes – temporary changes in organisms’ physical and biochemical functions that help them deal with adverse conditions or shifts in the timing of environmental events.

Plastic changes occur more quickly than genetic changes but are not permanent – the organisms return to their previous state once the environment shifts back. These changes also may not be enough to protect organisms from even more extreme climates.

What about Australia?

In Australia there is evidence of both genetic and plastic adaptation.

Some of the first evidence of genetic adaptation under climate change have been in vinegar flies on the east coast of Australia. These flies have a gene that encodes the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. This gene has two major forms: the tropical form and the temperate form. Over the past 30 years, the tropical form of the gene has become more common at the expense of the temperate one.

Plastic adaptation due to climate change has been demonstrated in common brown butterflies in southern Australia. Female butterflies are emerging from their cocoons earlier as higher temperatures have been speeding up their growth and development by 1.6 days every decade. According to overseas research, this faster development allows butterfly caterpillars to take advantage of earlier plant growth.

Higher temperatures are causing the common brown butterflies in southern Australia to come out of their cocoons earlier. John Tann/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

In many cases, it is not clear if the adaptation is genetic or plastic.

The average body size of Australian birds has changed over the the past 100 years. Usually, when comparing birds of the same species, birds from the tropics are smaller than those from temperate areas. In several widespread species, however, the birds from temperate areas have recently become smaller. This might be the direct result of environmental changes or a consequence of natural selection on the genes that affect size.

In the case of long-lived species like eucalypts, it is hard to see any adaptive changes. However, there is evidence from experimental plots that eucalypts have the potential to adapt.

Different eucalypt species from across Australia were planted together in experimental forestry plots located in various environments. These plots have unwittingly become climate change adaptation experiments. By monitoring the plots, we can identify species that are better at growing and surviving in extreme climatic conditions.

Plot results together with other forms of DNA-based evidence indicate that some trees unexpectedly grow and survive much better, and are therefore likely to survive into the future.

What’s next?

We still have much to learn about the resilience of our flora and fauna.

There will always be species with low resilience or slow adaptive ability. Nevertheless, plastic and genetic changes can provide some resilience, which will change the predictions of likely losses in biodiversity.

Much like how our worst weeds and pests adapted to local climate conditions, as demonstrated many years ago, our local plants and animals will also adapt.

Species with short generation times – a short time between one generation (the parent) and the next (the offspring) – are able to adapt more quickly than species with longer lifespans and generation times.

For species with short generation times, recent models suggest that the ability to adapt may help reduce the impacts of climate change and decrease local extinction rates.

However, species with long generation times and species that cannot easily move to more habitable environments continue to have a high risk of extinction under climate change.

In those cases, management strategies, such as increasing the prevalence of gene forms helpful for surviving extreme conditions and moving species to locations to which they are better adapted, can help species survive.

The ConversationUnfortunately, this means doing more than simply protecting nature, the hallmark of our biodiversity strategy to date. We need to act quickly to help our animals and plants adapt and survive.

Ary Hoffmann, Professor, School of BioSciences and Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Mountain lion returned to forest after life in back of circus pick-up truck

The Rescue of This Mountain Lion, Chained For 20 Years In A Circus, Will Move You To Tears  

An animal performer’s life in a circus is anything but glamorous, and keeping them captive for the sake of entertainment should no longer be tolerated.

When Mufasa, a mountain lion chained for 20 years in a Peruvian circus was first rescued by Animal Defenders International, you could see in his eyes how his spirit was absolutely crushed. Listless and perhaps clueless, and used to having many staring eyes on him, he watches on as his rescue unfolds, and it is about to change his life forever.

It’s cited in DoSomething.org that major circuses have violated the minimal standards of care for their animal performers set by the United States Animal Welfare (AWA). It is very likely that these animals are first broken to ensure their obedience, and then trained by whips and other dreadful and painful tools. They would spend most of their lives in chains and cages, and the quality of how they are transported from one place to another as the circus travels are far from ideal. It is also very likely that the same cruel treatment are experienced by animals in circuses around the world.

Mufasa has been finally released into the Peruvian forest through efforts of ADI and the locals alike. He seems to be in disbelief as he experiences freedom for the first time in 20 years, but you could at last see the light returning to his eyes as he roams the greenery to his heart’s content.

This beautiful mountain lion has since passed away on December 2015, but this video shows how human kindness can still triumph over human ruthlessness, and that initiatives for the rescue of circus animals should be whole-heartedly supported.

This article (Watch: The Rescue of This Mountain Lion, Chained For 20 Years In A Circus, Will Move You To Tears) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

Amazing Quotes Will Inspire You to Fight For Animals and Nature

These Amazing Jane Goodall Quotes Will Inspire You to Fight For Animals and Nature

Her endless compassion for animals, humans, and the natural world that unites us all has inspired millions of people across the world to stand up and make a difference. Whether that difference comes in the form of standing up for abused animals, planting a tree to help regrow a forest or simply speaking to others about the importance of respecting all living things, innumerable actions have been spawned by Goodall’s influence. There is no debating the fact that Dr. Jane Goodall has changed the world for the better.  (Source One Green Planet)

Jane remains a constant beacon of hope and reminder that we all have the power to make a difference.

The only question is what difference will you make?

We are doing something at HideAway Haven
Respect for all animals at HideAway Haven
Caring for animals is everyones responsibility at HideAway Haven
At HideAway Haven we do make a difference
Learning the true nature of our wildlife at HideAway Haven
At HideAway Haven we speak for those that cannot speak for themselves

Bull That Escaped Slaughterhouse is Rescued

Jon Stewart rescued a bull that likely would have been returned to the slaughterhouse he escaped from.

Credit: Farm Sanctuary

Credit: Farm Sanctuary

As some already know, former talk show host Jon Stewart recently began making plans to start an animal sanctuary with his wife, Tracey, as a New Jersey branch of Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary is an organization that has several branches throughout the U.S. where their goal is to rescue animals meant for the meat or dairy industry, promote a vegan lifestyle and compassion for animals.

Stewart is still new to this organization, as the sanctuary he and his wife planned to open up in late 2015 went through renovations before they ended up buying a different location in October 2016 to start the sanctuary. In the midst of all this planning, Stewart made news again for doing the unthinkable: he rescued a bull that was running through the streets of Queens, NY and deemed dangerous as officials attempted to capture the terrified bull.

Credit: WABC

Credit: WABC

The bull, now named Frank, had escaped from a slaughterhouse and made a run for it. He was so determined and frightened that when he was shot with tranquilizer guns, he still didn’t go down. Though these stories, which are common in this area, often end with the bull being sent back to the slaughterhouse, Frank’s ended much differently.

Credit: Farm Sanctuary

Credit: Farm Sanctuary

When the young bull captured Stewart’s attention, he decided to arrange for Frank’s transport to Farm Sanctuary’s branch in upstate New York. He was named Frank Lee, after a famous Alcatraz escapee, and he now spends his days lazing around and having fun with the other bulls and cows at the sanctuary. Stewart said, 

“Frank had never done anything wrong. He was just a being…trying to live.”

Stewart’s own sanctuary is still in the works, as the couple just bought a $4 million property in Colts Neck, NJ instead of starting the farm on their current Middletown property. Their sanctuary will be the New Jersey branch for Farm Sanctuary, which currently has three branches around the country.

Credit: Farm Sanctuary

Credit: Farm Sanctuary

This is probably not the last time we’ll hear about the Stewarts going above and beyond to help animals in need; in fact, it’s probably just the beginning. The natural transition from comedian/talk show host to animal advocate for Jon was natural, as he always advocated for compassion for animals on his show. Tracey, who is vegan, encourages her husband as much as possible as they continue their work in changing the country’s views on animals in the meat and dairy industries.

Footnote:  Jon Stewart is an American comedian, writer, producer, director, actor, media critic, and former television host.  Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey, now have the official go-ahead to open on animal sanctuary on their 45-acre Hockhockson Farm in upscale Colts Neck,  Monmouth County.  The farm would care for rescued farm animals, including cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens

What are your thoughts on this story? Please share, like, and comment on this article!

This article (Jon Stewart Rescues Bull That Escaped Slaughterhouse And Ran Around Queens, NY) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com  

Saving a Dying Baby Bear

He was told by many people that moving the bear could result in his arrest.

Saving Wildlife is a HideAway Haven Focus #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Corey Hancock

When hiker and photographer Corey Hancock was walking along Santiam River Trail in Oregon, he expected to see tiger lilies in a meadow-like area just off the path as he returned to his car when it started to rain. Though he was disappointed that he wasn’t able to make it to his destination because of the unexpected rain, he continued to remain observant of his surroundings and instead of seeing tiger lilies on his path, he saw something that shocked him: a baby bear.

The baby bear was reportedly a mere one to two feet off of the path, which Hancock had just passed by only thirty minutes earlier. He said that the bear hadn’t been there before, but that he must have stopped there at some point within that time to slowly let himself die.

“His lips were blue. His eyes were open, but unmoving and hazy. The rain was pouring down, drenching his belly. I might have seen a shallow breath,” Hancock said in a Facebook post about the incident.

Saving Wildlife is a HideAway Haven Focus #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Corey Hancock

His first thought was that of any rational person: was the mother close by? Hancock was quickly overcome with fear, so he snapped a quick photo of the bear and retreated downhill to observe from a distance and see if the mama bear returned. With no indication that there was another animal around, and seeing the baby get closer to death as the rain hit his belly, Hancock decided he needed to help.

Hancock sprang into action, running towards the bear, wrapping him up in his flannel shirt, and sprinting the remaining mile and a half to his vehicle. Once they were there, Hancock sped off in search of signal for his phone so he could post an online plea for help and suggestions on what to do. Unfortunately, the baby bear didn’t have time to wait. Hancock had to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation twice on his way to Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center, a place that someone on Facebook had suggested.

“Examining him in the Turtle Ridge facility, Mary [the veterinarian] could see right away that the cub was near death. He should have had a lot more fat on his body. He was starving and dehydrated, and would have had to have been in this condition for some time to end up so thin and weak,” Hancock said.

Saving Wildlife is a HideAway Haven Focus #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Corey Hancock

It was clear from this examination that the baby bear, who Hancock named Elkhorn because of the area that he was found in, had been alone for at least several days. He believes that it’s possible that Elkhorn had picked up on his scent and may have moved towards the trail in one last cry for help. Elkhorn was injected with electrolyte fluids to rehydrate him and put on a heating pad to raise his body temperature.

Mary took Elkhorn overnight to continue his treatment, but Hancock was informed in the morning that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife would be arriving to pick up Elkhorn after his Facebook post garnered so much attention, both good and bad. Hancock’s feed was flooded with malicious comments about how he should not have moved Elkhorn because they were unaware of the outstanding circumstances.

Saving Wildlife is a HideAway Haven Focus #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Corey Hancock

Several early reports reminded readers to never move a wild animal unless you’ve witnessed the death of the mother, which is great advice in general but didn’t necessarily apply to Hancock and Elkhorn’s situation. It was immediately clear that Elkhorn was within minutes of dying, and he hadn’t simply been alone for a few hours while his mother searched for food. Though many people scolded Hancock for not calling ODFW or the state police to handle the situation, Hancock is confident in the decision he made to rescue this dying baby bear.

Hancock’s hope now for Elkhorn, whose condition he receives regular updates on, is that he is taken in by one of the wildlife sanctuaries that works with ODFW so that he can still live a rich life. Since he is so young, it’s unlikely he can be released back into the wild, but Hancock hopes he isn’t brought into a zoo or another facility that has a small enclosure for this black bear. You can read his post here and spread the word about this baby bear that’s looking for a good home.

What would you have done in this situation? Please share, like, and comment on this article!

Mini-Cow Rescued From Auction Lives With 12 Dogs, And Now Thinks She’s One Of Them

"I think she just knows that there's a lot of different friends in the world.”

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

 

Moonpie is an incredibly special miniature rescue cow who was once destined to become ground beef. Fortunately for her, she was spotted at a livestock auction and was purchased by a friend of Janice Wolf, the founder of the Rocky Ridge Refuge Sanctuary.

“These auctions are huge — millions and millions of animals are auctioned off everyday,” commented Wolf. “I stay away from them because they kind of make me crazy. Many of the animals aren’t being treated that well.”

Because Moonpie is tiny, she was allowed to stay indoors with Janice’s 12 dogs due to poor weather upon arrival. In no matter of time, the canines befriended her and the story goes that she now believes she’s part of the pack. In an interview with The Dodo, Janice said:

“She accepts them as her buddies. Babies like that — they don’t know a whole lot about what it’s supposed to be, so they kind of just accept things.”

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

The dogs serve as her surrogate moms, said Janice. “They clean her face, the way her mother would have. They love to do that… They were all thrilled to see her.”

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

One of Moonpie’s favorite friends is a deaf bull terrier named Spackle.

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

“The picture with the white bull terrier — that was Moonpie’s first day here,” Wolf said. “Spackle loves babies, and immediately became her protector and buddy. She wouldn’t leave that calf’s side. They instantly bonded.”

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

“My dogs have a lot of experience with various critters I rescue or otherwise end up with! A calf is just another friend to love,” Wolf told Bored Panda.

Moonpie even learned how to “use the bathroom,” according to Wolf. Like the dogs, she holds the urge to defecate or urinate until she is outside.

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

“She does what the dogs show her, so she learned how to do that,” Wolf said.

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

Now that the weather is nice and Moonpie is beginning to venture outdoors more. However, there’s still a lot more growing to do before she can be introduced to the other rescue animals, including a water buffalo, a zebra, capybaras, pigs, dogs, goats, an emu, other cows, and chickens. Fortunately, she has a large family of canines to keep her company.

Animal Kindness and Welfare a priority at HideAway Haven  #everylifeisprecious

Credit: Rocky Ridge Refuge

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

Why you shouldn't feed bread to ducks or birds

Feeding bread to ducks and other birds is actually a nightmare for everyone.

We’ve all done it: gathered up our stale bread, walked to our nearby park that has a pond, and thrown pieces of bread to ducks that follow us around there. If you haven’t done this, then kudos to you, but for most people this was a childhood pastime that they then grew to teach their kids as well.

Though it may seem like a win-win situation because humans can get rid of their old bread and ducks can indulge in a snack, it turns out that it’s bad for humans, ducks, fish, and the park when bread is thrown into the water.

It should come as no surprise that bread has little to no nutritional value to it for humans and therefore ducks are even less equipped to process such processed foods. While humans are used to these types of carbohydrates making their way into our diets, a duck’s digestive system is not. S0 feeding bread to ducks can not only fill them with unhealthy carbs but also make them ill.

Something that some people might understand but not exactly worry about is the ducks’ reliance on human-sourced food, which usually tends to be the bread but can also be chips, popcorn, crackers, and other snacks that humans might have on them. Needless to say, these other snacks are even worse than bread, but the dependence on human food in general is the over-arching problem. Since the ducks rely on human food, which is often plentiful because of the many visitors to neighborhood parks, they don’t attempt to hunt for their own food, which actually has nutritional value and is sustenance that the ducks need.

In the wild, ducks typically eat small fish and their eggs, snails, worms, grass, algae, frogs, seeds, fruits, nuts, and other types of food found outside. When they stop attempting to scavenge for their own healthy food, the problem of only eating bread becomes even more monumental.

Credit: Wabby Twaxx/Flickr

Credit: Wabby Twaxx/Flickr

Environmentally, the problem of bread in the water is also a total nightmare. Any bread that goes uneaten can rot in the water, making the fish in the pond sick and causing the nasty-smelling algae that often surfaces around the edges of the pond.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Instead, here are some other food suggestions to bring to the park with you if you find that you must feed the ducks: halved seedless grapes, any type of bird seed mix, cut up earthworms, cooked rice, oats, corn, chopped lettuce, and many other healthy choices.

Please be conscientious when feeding ducks and other animals in the future. Just as you wouldn’t want your pets to consume the wrong foods for the entirety of their life, you shouldn’t inflict the same on ducks.

Credit: Crafty Morning

Credit: Crafty Morning

Would you take this advice into consideration next time you think about feeding ducks? Please share, like, and comment on this article!

Bridges Being Built For Wildlife Are Saving Thousands Of Lives

The wildlife bridges allow animals to safely pass over or under main roads

An increasing number of animal bridges are being put up across the globe by conservationists to ensure the safety of the world’s animals. These relatively new wildlife crossings are a huge and innovative upgrade from the simple road signs on highways which show a brief warning that animals may be in the area. These bridge methods are being employed with the sole purpose of protecting wildlife and preventing human-animal conflict and in turn preserving the world’s ecosystems, by helping to stop habitat fragmentation. In the United States alone, estimations have shown that the current road systems affect the ecology of a huge one-fifth of the country’s land, whilst vehicle-animal collisions are costing the US around $8 billion a year, according to a recent report.

Wildlife Care

These wildlife bridges, which have been built in different areas as either overpasses or underpasses depending on what is best for the wildlife in a particular area, hugely assist animals in safely passing through an area that consists of busy roadways. The passes provide the wildlife with a safe alternative, which in turn does not disrupt people who are also using the roads. The animals can, therefore, continue their path within their natural habitat, which would otherwise have been blocked.

Montana. Credit: The Pedigree Artist

Montana. Credit: The Pedigree Artist

The first of these animal bridges was built in France in the 1950s, and since then Europe has remained to be the leader in the animal bridge sector. The Netherlands currently have around 66 overpasses and ecoducts, which all protect the country’s natural populations of badgers, boars, and deer. As well as being the country with the most plentiful passes, they also have the world’s longest wildlife overpass. The huge Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo is half a mile long and crosses a rail line, river, business park, and sports complex.

Banff National Park. Alberta, Canada. Credit: Joel Sartore

Banff National Park. Alberta, Canada. Credit: Joel Sartore

During the past 30 years, Canada and the United States have all increasingly provided animal bridges in order to protect their resident wildlife. One of the animal passes that is extremely successful is situated in the Banff National Park in Alberta, which consists of a network of underpasses and bridges that allow different animals to cross over safely. The frequency that this network is being used has greatly increased since it was first constructed around 25 years ago. This suggests that an array of wildlife are learning and adapting to the construction, meaning an increased protection of the animals of the area.

Despite popular beliefs that these wildlife crossings are only designed for large animals, two clever projects have demonstrated that the animal bridges are efficient in functioning for many different wildlife situations. One of these is a bridge on Christmas Island in Australia, which works by helping 50 million red crabs pass over a busy road in order to continue their migratory route. The other is a special and unique rope bridge in Washington, which has been named the ‘Nutty Narrows Bridge’, and works by safely guiding squirrels across a busy thoroughfare.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

This article (Bridges Being Built For Wildlife Are Saving Thousands Of Lives) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and True Activist.

Half Of All Species Will Be Extinct By The End Of The Century

Although wildlife populations are set to heavily decline, human populations will increase by billions.
 

Latest figures reveal that one in five species on Earth are now facing extinction, which is due to rise to 50% before the end of the century unless urgent changes are made now. A group of the world’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists will gather in a few days time to discuss these figures and strategically determine the social and economic changes needed to save the planet’s biosphere, according to recent reports. Organizers of the Biological Extinction conference, that is being held at the Vatican this week have said, “The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring.”

The male Regent Honeyeater is an Australian Endangered Bird. Dean Ingwersen

The male Regent Honeyeater is an Australian Endangered Bird. Dean Ingwersen

Although the constantly depleting numbers of well-known animals such as elephants, rhinos, and tigers are frequently in the news, there are many other life forms that are quickly becoming eradicated which are not so heavily publicized, meaning that the issue is a lot worse than the majority of people realize. The conference will examine the human population’s heavy reliance on the natural world for food and medicine, including things such as purifying water and air, absorbing carbon emissions from cars and factories, regenerating soil, and providing an aesthetic inspiration. Biologist Paul Ehrlich, from Stanford University in California, said, “Rich western countries are now siphoning up the planet’s resources and destroying its ecosystems at an unprecedented rate. We want to build highways across the Serengeti to get more rare earth minerals for our cellphones. We grab all the fish from the sea, wreck the coral reefs and put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We have triggered a major extinction event. The question is: how do we stop it?”

Australian endangered species: Woylie    Flickr/Arthur Chapman

Australian endangered species: Woylie  

Flickr/Arthur Chapman

Ehrlich, who is speaking at the meeting, believes that the consistent growth of the human population is a key issue in the depleting populations of wildlife. He believes that wider use of birth control is needed to halt the world’s spiraling population, and told the Observer, “If you value people, you want to have the maximum number you can support sustainably. You do not want almost 12 billion living unsustainably on Earth by the end of the century – with the result that civilization will collapse and there are only a few hundred survivors.” He believes that if the world population was around one billion, then this would create a pro-life effect, which would be much more sustainable for future generations compared to the current uncontrolled growth. Biologist Professor Peter Raven, of the Missouri Botanical Garden, who is also attending the conference, agrees and says that “By the beginning of the next century we face the prospect of losing half our wildlife. Yet we rely on the living world to sustain ourselves. It is very frightening. The extinctions we face pose an even greater threat to civilization than climate change – for the simple reason they are irreversible.”

Past UN statistics have suggested that the global population is set to increase from the current 7.4 billion to 11.2 billion by 2100, with the majority of these extra billions appearing in Africa where fertility rates are currently twice that of the rest of the world. Economist and conference attendee Sir Partha Dasgupta from Cambridge University said, “[Africa’s] population is likely to go from roughly one billion now to around 4 billion. Can you imagine what tensions there are going to be there, especially with climate change coming and hitting the continent more than anywhere else? What do you think is going to happen when the arid regions spread, and a hundred million Africans try to swim across the Mediterranean? It is terrifying.” He adds that it is crucial to put the problem of biological extinctions in a social context, “That gives us a far better opportunity of working out what we need to in the near future. We have to act quickly, however.” Ehrlich agreed by adding, “We are wrecking our planet’s life support systems. We have the capacity to stop that. The trouble is that the danger does not seem obvious to most people, and that is something we must put right.”

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

This article (Half Of All Species Will Be Extinct By The End Of The Century) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

Australia is one of the most important nations on Earth for biodiversity. In fact, Australia is one of only 17 “megadiverse” nations and is home to more species than any other developed country.

Most of Australia’s wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, making its conservation even more important. 87% of our mammal species, 93% of reptiles, 94% of frogs and 45% of our bird species are found only in Australia.

Sadly, however, Australia is facing an extinction crisis. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world: 30 native mammals have become extinct since European settlement. To put this in a global context, 1 out of 3 mammal extinctions in the last 400 years have occurred in Australia.

More than 1,700 species of animals and plants are listed by the Australian Government as being at risk of extinction. Around 30% of our surviving (non-bat) mammal species are threatened with extinction.

The primary factors causing this loss of wildlife include:

  • Feral cats and foxes. For example, feral cats kill an estimated 75 million native animals every night across Australia.
  • Feral herbivores including pigs, goats, rabbits, donkeys, horses, camels, buffalo and feral cattle.
  • Changes in fire regimes, especially an increase in the extent and severity of wildfires.
  • Clearing native vegetation.
  • Weeds.

- See more at: http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife.aspx#sthash.evBM9ZoF.dpuf

Bees Prove They Are Highly Intelligent To Amazed Scientists

Bees were able to react in the same intelligent way that apes and birds do.

Bee videos have been making waves on social media as people begin to realize that the tiny insects are actually much more intelligent than anyone has ever given them credit for. Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London conducted experiments with bumblebees to test their intelligence and the little critters did not disappoint.

The experiments are usually used on apes and birds, but the bees’ quick learning showed for the first time that an invertebrate is capable of reacting in the same way in order to accomplish what they want.

“We wanted to explore the cognitive limits of bumblebees by testing whether they could use a non-natural object in a task likely never encountered before by any individual in the evolutionary history of bees,” said Dr. Clint Perry, joint lead author and also from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

In one experiment, scientists trained 23 out of 40 participating bees to use their legs and feet to pull a string to reach their food. The food was placed atop a small disc which was inaccessible because it was underneath a plastic covering. However, if the bees pulled the strings that were attached to the discs, they were able to pull the food out and eat it.

The training part of the experiment was crucial, researchers found, as only 2 out of 110 bees from a separate group that was not shown how to pull the strings were able to figure it out. Researchers allowed yet another group of bees observe the already-trained bees perform the task and 60 percent of them were able to learn it as well.

Bees were able to react in the same intelligent way that apes and birds do.

Credit: Olli Loukola

Credit: Olli Loukola

Bee videos have been making waves on social media as people begin to realise that the tiny insects are actually much more intelligent than anyone has ever given them credit for. Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London conducted experiments with bumblebees to test their intelligence and the little critters did not disappoint.

The experiments are usually used on apes and birds, but the bees’ quick learning showed for the first time that an invertebrate is capable of reacting in the same way in order to accomplish what they want.

“We wanted to explore the cognitive limits of bumblebees by testing whether they could use a non-natural object in a task likely never encountered before by any individual in the evolutionary history of bees,” said Dr. Clint Perry, joint lead author and also from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

In one experiment, scientists trained 23 out of 40 participating bees to use their legs and feet to pull a string to reach their food. The food was placed atop a small disc which was inaccessible because it was underneath a plastic covering. However, if the bees pulled the strings that were attached to the discs, they were able to pull the food out and eat it.

The training part of the experiment was crucial, researchers found, as only 2 out of 110 bees from a separate group that was not shown how to pull the strings were able to figure it out. Researchers allowed yet another group of bees observe the already-trained bees perform the task and 60 percent of them were able to learn it as well.

What’s even more fascinating is that the bees are able to pass this knowledge on to future generations. The researchers put the trained bees into colonies and the skills were spread successfully throughout the colony’s worker bees.

“Cultural transmission does not require the high cognitive sophistication specific to humans, nor is it a distinctive feature of humans,” said Perry.

In another experiment, the scientists essentially taught the bees how to play soccer by training them to move a ball to a certain location and then receiving food as a reward. The first group was first taught where the correct location was and then shown how to move the ball from elsewhere onto the location. Other bees learned under different conditions, such as with a “ghost” demonstration that didn’t involve a live or model bee showing them how to do it, but these attempts proved unsuccessful.

Joint lead author Dr. Olli J. Loukola, said: “The bees solved the task in a different way than what was demonstrated, suggesting that observer bees did not simply copy what they saw, but improved on it. This shows an impressive amount of cognitive flexibility, especially for an insect.”

With the population of bees dwindling rapidly, it’s important to make sure bees stay in the news, even if it is for something unrelated to their decline. Bees are extremely important for food production, wild habitats, and the environment and humans as a whole, and recognizing them for their great achievements and intelligence is crucial.

Watch the videos below to see the bees perform the “tricks” they learned.

This article (Bees Prove They Are Highly Intelligent To Amazed Scientists [Watch]) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and True Activist.

Almost no other insect has helped humans as much as the honey bee has and continues to do.

For hundreds of years, beekeepers have raised them, harvested their wonderful sweet honey, and relied on them to pollinate various crops.

Did you know that honey bees actually pollinate nearly one-third of the food crops in the world?

The Honey Bee Brain Is Tiny But Very Powerful

In spite of their small brain sizes, honey bees are very smart. Bees have a remarkable ability to learn and recall things very quickly.

Their brains are about 20,000 times less massive compared to human brains.

The honey bee brain is actually ten times denser compared to a mammal's brain.

The honey bee brain has an oval shape and is about the size of one sesame seed.

The bee brain is a very sophisticated sensory system which gives them excellent sight and smell abilities.

Their small brains are able to make very complicated calculations on distances for different locations. 

Bees can remember various colors and different landmarks quite easily.

In Australia, researchers were able to successfully teach honey bees to identify several different colors.

The bees were shown a color that was used to indicate a specific path in a maze.

The bees were then able to find their way through the maze because they recognized that color.

They were also able to recall that specific color later on, and they use it to guide their way through the maze even when they weren't shown it at the start of the maze.

Unfortunately, many pesticides that farmers use to protect their crops are very harmful to the honey bee.

These dangerous chemicals can scramble the honey bee's brain circuitry.

Research revealed that the learning circuits of honey bees stopped working very quickly when they were exposed to certain pesticides.

This clearly shows that something has to be done to protect the valuable lives of honey bees if we want to continue to eat the various the crops they pollinate.

Cyclist Captures Adorable Photos After Wild Quokka Refuses To Leave Him Alone

While out for a bike ride with his girlfriend in Rottnest, Australia, 21-year-old Campbell Jones became acquainted with possibly the friendliest quokka on Earth. The cyclist told the West Australian:

“As I walked back to my bike, the quokka chased after me. I put down the GoPro and it jumped at me as if to say, ‘Come back.’”

Credit: Campbell Jones

Credit: Campbell Jones

It would seem as if it were love at first site for the Quokka. And humorously, Jones agrees. When asked what made the Quokka approach him, Jones replied: “My good looks I think.”

Credit: Campbell Jones

Credit: Campbell Jones

As was recently reported, Quokkas are quite inquisitive animals who in many cases aren’t abashed to approaching humans. With few natural predators, they are less fearful than many wild animals.

Credit: Campbell Jones

Credit: Campbell Jones

Because the photos of Jones and the Quokka are making rounds on social media, one would hope that the exposure helps raise awareness for the ‘vulnerable’ animal and inspire more protection efforts.

 Quokkas have a very limited distribution in Australia. Most of the population exists on Bald and Rottnest islands. There is also a mainland colony in the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve near Albany on the South coast of Western Australia.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

This article (Cyclist Captures Adorable Photos After Wild Quokka Refuses To Leave Him Alone) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com


 

Real-Life “Animal Whisperer”

Real-Life “Animal Whisperer” Has Mastered The Art Of Taking Selfies With Critters

Allan Dixon has taken hoards of 'selfies’ with animals, such as wild birds, kangaroos, quokkas, and goats. Most importantly, they participate on their own.
 

Wildlife Selfies

The preferred way to ‘shoot’ animals is with a camera, and New Zealand resident Allan Dixon has mastered the art of doing just that. Rather than tear wild animals away from their natural habitats or force them into unnatural poses (like tourists herehere, and here), this Auckland-based adventurer cultivates a calm environment which naturally draws wild animals, such as birds, sheep, and kangaroos, into his space. Then, he captures incredible photographs of their meeting.

It’s no wonder Dixon is known as “the animal whisperer,” as he’s taken selfies with a wide variety of critters. He’s even posed near grizzly bears, though smiley shots with quokkas remain his favorite. He calls them “the happiest animal in the world.”

When he’s not posing with wild animals, the modern day Dr. Doolittle is working on projects such as a book on mindfulness and “some personal quokka projects” (whatever that means). If you’re on Instagram and Facebook, follow Dixon’s adventures by using the hashtag #DaxonsAnimalSelfies.

Birds at HideAway Haven - Red-eared firetail

The Red-eared Firetail is a mainly brown bird with fine black barring (called vermiculations), but punctuated with splashes of colour: a bright-red bill, ear-spot and rump, and a striking black-and-white belly. It also has a bright-red ear-spot, rump and beak, as well as a black-and-white spotted belly.  It is a very pretty bird.

Red-eared Firetail at HideAway Haven

Red-eared Firetails are endemic to the south-western corner of Western Australia.

They generally forage on the ground, among grasses or in shrubs, where they eat seeds. They very occasionally also eat small insects, which are pecked from the leaves of plants. They forage singly or in small flocks, and occasionally in congregations comprising dozens of birds; they very occasionally feed in the company of other seed-eating species, especially parrots.  

At HideAway Haven we often see them in the feeder with the parrots sharing the seeds.

Red-eared Firetails have been described as “the most solitary of the Australian grass finches” and they generally remain sedentary as mated pairs within a small territory of only 100-200 metres.

We are proud of the environment we have created at HideAway Haven with bird-attracting trees, shrubs, and other plants.