Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grevy's Zebra

True Wild Life | Grevy's Zebra | The Grevy's zebra , also known as the Imperial zebra, is the largest extant wild equid and one of three species of zebra, the other two being the plains zebra and the mountain zebra. The Grevy's zebra is found in Kenya and Ethiopia. Compared with other zebras, it is tall, has large ears, and its stripes are narrower. It is more ass-like in appearance as compared to other zebras, which are more horse-like. Among their kinds who were hunted for their hides, Grevy's Zebra is the largest kind of zebra. The Grevy's Zebra's pattern is like a painting, so it is called the most beautiful of zebras. However, its beauty is its sadness, because it is hunted for its hide. Its numbers keep becoming lower and lower.

Grevy's zebras grow up to nine feet long, weigh up to 990 pounds, and stand up to almost five and a half feet at the shoulder. On average, males are about ten percent larger than females. Big heads, large and rounded ears, and thick, erect manes make the Grevy's zebra appear more mule-like than other zebras. In fact, many experts consider Grevy's zebras to be striped asses that are not closely related to other zebras. Their coats sport dazzling narrow stripes that wrap around each other in a concentric pattern and are bisected by a black stripe running down the spine. Grevy's Zebra is hunted for its beautiful hide and so it has had a shocking drop in numbers.

Males are highly territorial, claiming prime watering and grazing areas with piles of dung called middens. They generally live alone in their territories, except when females move through during mating season. Non-territorial males travel together in groups of two to six animals. This social system differs from that of other zebras, which typically form female harems that live in one male's territory all year. During dry months, many Grevy's zebras migrate to greener mountain pastures, but males on prime territories often remain there year-round. Grevy's zebras inhabit semi-desert areas, including arid grasslands and dusty acacia savannas. The most suitable areas have water year-round.

Normally only one foal is born to a female after a gestation period of thirteen months. Most of the babies are born between May and August. The young zebra has brown stripes and a mane which stretches from the shoulder to the tail. The background colour of the foal's coat is light brown instead of white. This protective colouring helps the foal to "freeze" and blend instantly with its background. The foal can stand on its feet within one hour of its birth and can run with the herd after only a few hours - this gives it a much better chance of escaping from predators, usually lions. Young males leave the herd when they are about two years old and join bachelor herds. Eventually they will collect mares to form their own new herds or perhaps challenge old or weak stallions and take over their herd.

Today, the surviving wild Grevy's Zebras are protected in national parks. The Grevy's Zebra has other things to worry about. Domesticated animals are growing in number, and the grass that the zebra eats has been taken away. Its living space is also disappearing because people are building. Experts speculate there are only around 1,900 to 2,500 wild Grevey's Zebras left.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Asian Wild Ass

True Wild Life | Asian Wild Ass | The Asian Wild Ass was once considered to be among the largest population of ungulates, along with horses, cows, camels, and deer. Herds of 1,000 or more Asian Wild Asses have often been observed in Central and West Asia. Like many other large grazing animals, the asian wild ass' range has contracted greatly under the pressures of hunting and habitat loss, and of the six subspecies, one is extinct and two are endangered. The kiang , a Tibetan relative, was previously considered to be a subspecies of the asian wild ass as E. hemionus kiang, but recent molecular studies indicate that it is a distinct species. 

Asian Wild Ass are a little larger than donkeys at about 290 kilograms  and 2.1 metres , and are a little more horse-like. They are short-legged compared to horses, and their coloring varies depending on the season. They are generally reddish-brown in color during the summer, becoming yellowish-brown in the winter months. They have a black stripe bordered in white that extends down the middle of the back. They are notoriously untameable.

The Asian Wild Ass lives in the grasslands and deserts of Central and West Asia.Most people associate a donkey with a slow moving animal, but the Asian Wild Ass is one of the fastest running asses in the horse family. They can run 70 kilometers or more per hour in short spurts.

Today, the Asian Wild Ass is on the brink of extinction. This is partially due to the expansion of grazing land. Livestock animals have taken over their grassland and watering areas. But it is also because of an expansion of farmlands which has shrunk their habitat and forced them to separate. No longer is it possible to see herds of 1,000 asses. Conservation efforts have helped them recover their population in some areas, but as a whole, the Asian Wild Ass is still an endangered species.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

African Wild Ass

True Wild Life | African Wild Ass | The African Wild Ass is a wild member of the horse family, Equidae. This species is believed to be the ancestor of the domestic donkey which is usually placed within the same species. They live in the deserts and other arid areas of northeastern Africa, in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia; it formerly had a wider range north and west into Sudan, Egypt and Libya. About 570 individuals exist in the wild. The African Wild Ass is suited for life in the desert, capable of going on for up to three days without drinking water.

African wild asses are well suited to life in a desert or semidesert environment. They have tough digestive systems, which can break down desert vegetation and extract moisture from food efficiently. They can also go without water for a fairly long time. Their large ears give them an excellent sense of hearing and help in cooling. Because of the sparse vegetation in their environment wild asses live somewhat separated from each other (except for mothers and young), unlike the tightly grouped herds of wild horses. They have very loud voices, which can be heard for over 3 km, which helps them to keep in contact with other asses over the wide spaces of the desert.

The African Wild asses can run swiftly, almost as fast as a horse. However, unlike most hoofed mammals, their tendency is to not flee right away from a potentially dangerous situation, but to investigate first before deciding what to do. When they need to, they can defend themselves with kicks from both their front and hind legs. The African Wild Ass eats plant material, often eating thorn bushes and tougher plants that other animals ignore. They need to have water at least every three days, but they are able to survive on water that is dirty and brackish and can get a lot of their moisture from the plant material that they eat.

Sexual maturity of the female ass usually happens by the time she reaches two. Males can also reproduce at two, but it is so competitive that they usually are forced to wait until they are around four. Males are very territorial and will often hold a huge territory that is about 23 km, and they mark the edges of their territories with dung. Other males are allowed in, but they are kept away from the females as much as possible. Male donkeys will bray when the females are in season, and a dominant male of a territory has first right to breed with any female that comes around. The gestational period usually lasts 11-12 months, and the females in the wild usually give birth only once every two years. The young are weaned at about six months of age, and the animals can live approximately 40 years.

In addition to their struggle with domesticated livestock to secure food and water, the African Wild Ass also became a hunted animal for consumption and medicine. Many dangerous weapons found their way into the homeland of the African Wild Ass due to the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. There is a concern that these weapons will be used more often from now on to hunt more of the African Wild Ass. Currently, there is a protection program in progress to move the African Wild Ass into a protected area of Israel.
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Thursday, August 11, 2011


True Wild Life | Quokka | The Quokka is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family , the Quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal. It can be found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, in particular on Rottnest Island just off Perth and Bald Island near Albany. Quokkas resemble a small wallaby, with small rounded ears, and brown or greyish fur.

In the wild, its roaming is restricted to a very small range in the South-West of Western Australia, with a number of small scattered populations on the mainland, one large population on Rottnest Island and a smaller population on Bald Island near Albany. The islands are free of foxes and cats. On Rottnest, it is common and occupies a variety of habitats ranging from semi-arid scrub to cultivated gardens.

Quokka weighs 2.5 to 5 kg and is 40 to 90 cm long with a 25 to 30 cm tail  which is rather short for a macropod. It has a stocky build, rounded ears, and a short, broad head. Although looking rather like a very small, dumpy kangaroo, it can climb small trees and shrubs. Its coarse fur is a grizzled brown colour, fading to buff underneath.

Quokka feeds at night on native grasses and the leaves of shrubs. They need drinking water, but can survive long periods without it. This is helped by the remarkable ability of the Quokka to reuse a portion of their bodies waste products. These animals breed year round, and have a gestation period of 4 months before a new joey is born. The joey lives in its mother's pouch for the first 25 weeks of its life. After leaving the pouch, the joey continues to suckle at its mother's teets for a further 10 weeks.

There were once a lot of Quokkas, but they are now in danger of extinction. They are under threat from development that has destroyed the wetlands where they live and are also threatened by other animals that have been introduced by humans. Quokkas are preyed on by cats and foxes, who are non-native animals in Australia. Their wetland habitat is also disturbed by feral pigs. While efforts are being made to protect them, it is thought that the numbers of Quokka still have not recovered.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Huon Tree Kangaroo

True Wild Life | Huon Tree Kangaroo | Huon Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei), also known as the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo is a tree kangaroo  native to the Huon Peninsula of North Eastern New Guinea. Under the IUCN classification, Huon Tree Kangaroo is endangered. With a body and head length of 20 to 32 inches, Huon Tree Kangaroo are much smaller than Australia's well-known red kangaroo. 

There is no particular season in which they breed. Gestation lasts 32 days and joeys of captive bred individuals leave the pouch after 13 ½ months. The average life span of the Huon Tree Kangaroo in the wild is unknown, but is at least 14 years. The life span of the kangaroo in a zoo is about 20 years. The Huon Tree Kangaroo can only be found on the Huon Peninsula on the northeast coast of Papua New Guinea. They live in forests that are usually foggy.Unlike other species of kangaroos, the Huon Tree Kangaroo spends most of its time living in trees. They even eat and sleep in trees.

The most distinctive trait of all tree kangaroos is the hair whorl they possess. It is a patch of hair that goes out in many directions and its location ranges from up near the shoulders all the way down to the tail. The Huon Tree Kangaroo is golden on its ventral side, lower parts of its limbs, ear edges, belly, and tail, and the rest of its body is a chestnut brown color, except for usually having a dark stripe down its back. Their faces are typically an array of yellow and white colors. The Huon Tree Kangaroos are similar in color and size to Dendrolagus dorianus, the Doria’s tree kangaroo. Huon Tree Kangaroos ears are small and bear-like looking and they do not have a good sense of hearing because of it. They have curved claws on their forelimbs and soft pads on their hind limbs that aid in their climbing ability, and they have some independent movement of their digits as well as good dexterity due to their forelimbs being able to bend a great deal.

The Huon Tree Kangaroo are mainly folivorous, eating anything from leaves, sap, insects, flowers, and nuts.  Since they eat high fiber foods, they only eat maybe about 1 to 2 hours throughout the day and the other time of the day they are resting and digesting their food. Their digestion is similar to that of the ruminants; they have a large, “tubiform forestomach”, where most of the fermentation and breakdown of tough material takes place at; in the hind stomach, there is a mucosa lining with many glands that help absorption begin here.

The Huon Tree Kangaroo lives only on the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea. Usually we think of kangaroos as animals that hop around grasslands. However, Huon Tree Kangaroos are an exception. They live in forests and are more adept at climbing trees than they are at moving on land. Today, as the population on the Huon Peninsula grows, more and more of the kangaroo's precious forests are being converted into farmland. Continued habitat loss is pushing the Huon Tree Kangaroo toward the brink of extinction.
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Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo

True Wild Life | Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo | Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo also called the Ornate Tree Kangaroo, belongs to the family Macropodidae, which includes kangaroos, wallabies and their relatives. The species is native to the rainforests  of New Guinea, and the border of central Irian Jaya in Indonesia.  Under the IUCN classification, the species is listed as Endangered, which is a result of overhunting and human encroachment on their habitat.

Like other tree-kangaroos, Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo is quite different in appearance from terrestrial kangaroos. Unlike its land dwelling cousins, its legs are not disproportionately large compared to its forelimbs which are strong and end in hooked claws for grasping tree limbs, and it has a long tail for balance. All of these features help it with a predominantly arboreal existence. Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo has short, woolly fur, usually chestnut to red-brown in color, a gray-brown face, yellow-colored cheeks and feet; a pale belly, a long, golden brown tail, and two golden stripes on its backside.  It weighs approximately 7 kg. 

Although it feeds mainly on the leaves of the Silkwood tree, other morsels are accepted when available, including various fruits, cereals, flowers and grasses.  It has a large stomach that functions as a fermentation vat, similar to the stomachs of cows and other ruminant  herbivores, where bacteria break down fibrous leaves and grasses.

Unlike other kangaroos, Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroos like to stay in the treetops rather than hopping around on the ground. They choose to live in the treetops to protect themselves from enemies on the ground. The New Guinea Island used to be rich in nature but as it became the major exporter of lumbers and minerals, the forests were destroyed by the human. The more and more safe places to live for Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroos are now disappearing.

To make the matters worse, roads have been extended to the middle of a forest. It has made Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroos an easy prey for hunters who go after their meat. They are usually active in the morning and evening but those who live in the area where there are many people have become nocturnal. Once they chose to live in the treetops to protect themselves from the enemies; maybe now they have changed their lifestyle for fear of human, their new enemies.
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Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko

True Wild Life | Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko | Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko, or the Okinawan Ground Gecko, is a species of lizard in the Gekkonidae family. It is endemic  to Japan.  Kuroiwa's Ground Geckos only live on the Okinawa Islands and Tokunoshima of the Amami Islands.

The Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko has features similar to what a lizard has. The number of Kuroiwa Ground Gecko is becoming fewer because the outside animals that human have brought in often attack them, and size of forests is shrinking. Kuroiwa's Ground Geckos eat insects, spiders and worms. Kuroiwa's Ground Geckos can't climb up a tree because they have no specialized toe pads like other geckos do. They mainly roam around on the ground.

The Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko is a very unusual creature that only lives on the Okinawa Islands and Tokunoshima of the Amami Islands. Unlike other geckos, it can close its eyelids and has no specialized toe pads. The Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko has features similar to what a lizard has. Because the pattern of the skin varies depending on which island it lives, the Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko is further separated into four different species.

The number of the Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko has become fewer because of forest clearing. It also faces problems like other creatures living in Okinawa may have. For itself being so exotic, Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko is also popular to keep as a pet. Even it is forbidden to keep the Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko as a pet but the human still continue ignore the rule. There are still many trades of the Kuroiwa's Ground Gecko in the black market.
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El Hierro Giant Lizard

True Wild Life | El Hierro Giant Lizard | The El Hierro Giant Lizard is a species that can be found on the island of El Hierro, one of the Canary  Islands (Spain). The species was once present throughout much of the island and on the small offshore Roque Chico de Salmor, but is now confined to a small areas of cliff with sparse vegetation. It is currently restricted to the southern end of the Risco de Tibataje, in la Fuga de Gorreta, located between Guinea and the so-called Paso del Pino. 

El Hierro giant lizard is a thickset reptile with a broad head. Adults are dark grey to brown in colour, with two rows of pale orange patches running along its sides. Its belly is mostly brown, but has an orange to red colouration towards the middle. Older El Hierro Giant Lizards are mainly black with some grey. Males are larger than females. El Hierro Giant Lizard is a very large lacertid that can grow beyond 20 cm in length, and lives only on the Hierro Island of Spain's Canary Islands. It used to exist in a broader area but now only exists in a certain part of Hierro Island. Their number is down to a mere 300 to 400, including those returned to wilderness by humans.

The El Hierro giant lizard is omnivorous. It eats plants and insects. Mating begins in May and the 5 to 13 eggs are laid from June until the end of August. Their eggs hatch after 61 days. Many reptiles become active after raising their body temperature by sunbathing. The body of the El Hierro Giant Lizard can be as hot as 40 degrees Celsius after sunbathing.

The number of El Hierro Giant Lizards has dropped because of a scarcity in food plants and an increase in attacks by seagulls and other animals. Although the extent of human-induced changes to the ecosystem is unknown, with so few El Hierro Giant Lizards in existence, any further human-induced changes to their environment could cause them to go extinct in a flash. To avoid this tragic scenario, Spain has enlisted the entire country to help protect the El Hierro Giant Lizard.

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