Featured

Animal Spotlight: Marbled Cat

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Via Big Cat Rescue

Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Pardofelis
  • Species: marmorata
  • Average Weight: 4.5-11 lbs (2-5 kg)
  • Average Body Length: 18-25 in (45-62 cm)
  • Average Tail Length: 14-22 in (36-55 cm)
  • Longest Captivity: 12 years

A rare and little-known marbled cat possesses an unusual mixture of small and big cat characteristics. It is primarily thought to be an inhabitant of moist tropical forest but its specific habitat requirements are poorly known, with only anecdotal information available. It has been reported in mixed deciduous-evergreen forests and secondary forests as well as other habitats from sea level up to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level.

Reports have shown that the marbled cat’s range can be from northern India and Nepal, through south-eastern Asia, to Borneo and Sumatra. This distribution includes areas of northern India, Nepal, Sikkim, Assam, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo. In the Malay area they are rare and confined to the mainland.

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Conservation News: Macaws, Dams, and Seagulls

Federal Proposal to Protect the Hyacinth Macaw Under Endangered Species Act

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Via LaFeber

The striking, brilliant blue hyacinth macaw, like many other parrots in Central and South America, is facing an uphill battle. With an already naturally low reproductive rate, this macaw is also suffering from habitat loss, reduced growth of new forest, hunting, predation, disease, competition, and the effects of climate change. These stressors have put the hyacinth macaw at a further risk of decline, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to propose protecting the bird as threatened under the Endangered Species (ESA).

At one time, hyacinth macaws were widely distributed in South America, occupying large areas of Central Brazil and to Bolivia and Paraguay to a lesser degree. However, the species is currently limited to the Pará, Gerais, and Pantanal regions of Brazil. For the past decades, native forests have been replaced by crops and cattle ranching, reducing suitable habitat and creating a shortage in nesting sites. In turn, this increases competition amongst the species’ individuals and results in a reduction in population size. The loss of habitat has also reduced the availability of food resources, which is particularly damaging considering that its specialized diet cannot be substituted for other food sources. In total, it is estimated that there are 6,500 hyacinth macaws left in the wild.

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Featured

Is That Dinner? A Look Into a Cat’s Sense of Smell

More so than sight, smell dictates a feline’s behavior and is one of the most important ways it receives feedback about its environment. A cat’s sense of smell is superior to any human’s. Felines have 200 million odor-sensitive receptors, much higher than the 5 million for humans. Even most dog breeds fall short to that number.

Cats are born with a great sense of smell. From the moment they are born, a kitten already has a highly developed sense of smell. This provides them the ability to distinguish their mother’s smell and locate its preferred nipple to nurse from even when their eyes are shut. Until their vision becomes a kitten’s main guide after 3 weeks of age, it relies on its olfactory, the medical term for the sense of smell, cues for navigation. Even then, felines rely on their olfactory senses in order to determine edible prey. It is known that cats with the inability to smell may refuse to eat. Cats with upper respiratory infections and have congested nasal cavities often lose their appetites.

Cats use their sense of smell to smell food and guide them to prey, locate a mate, recognize enemies and dangers, establish territorial lines, and discover where an individual has been.

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Animal Spotlight: Gopher Tortoise

Taxonomy:

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Credit: Randy Browning, US FWS
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Testudinidae
  • Genus: Gopherus
  • Species: polyphemus
  • Average Length: 10-12 inches (25.4-30.5 cm)
  • Average Weight: 6 lbs (2.7 kg)
  • Average Lifespan: 60 years

Named for their ability to dig large, deep burrows, gopher tortoises have since been eliminated from a significant portion of their historic range due to human activities. They still occur in Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia. But, the majority of the remaining population is in Florida, where it is estimated to be under 800,000 in 2003.

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Conservation News: Pangolins, Tigers, and Bees

Further Protections for the World’s Most Trafficked Mammal, Pangolins

Also known as scaly anteaters, pangolins received increased protections under Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at its 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties at Johannesburg, South Africa. On September 28, CITES member nations voted to transfer pangolins from Appendix II to Appendix I of the treaty, therefore increasing protections. Once the highest international protections possible are firmly decided upon, CITES will shut down commercial sales of pangolins and their parts across borders.

“This decision will help give pangolins a fighting chance,” says Sue Lieberman, vice president of international policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society, a nonprofit based in New York City.

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Conservation News: Giant Pandas, Ocean Warming, and Ethiopian Wolves

Giant Pandas No Longer Endangered

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Credit: Getty

On Sunday, it was announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii that the giant panda was upgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ on the Red List of Threatened Species.

This iconic black-and-white bear, native to the Chinese bamboo forests, has been a worldwide symbol of wildlife conservation for half a century. Giant panda populations in the wild has risen steadily by 17% from 2004 to 2014, when a nationwide census found 1,864 adult giant pandas and 196 cubs in the wild. That’s up from the last census of 1,600 animals in 2003.

Continue reading “Conservation News: Giant Pandas, Ocean Warming, and Ethiopian Wolves”