As we discussed in our gray wolf facts article, gray wolves are keystone predators. They help maintain a healthy ecosystem by preying upon weak animals, thereby strengthening the herd as a whole.
In this video, George Monbiot reveals how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park after a 70-year absence not only changed the ecosystem of the park, it also altered the physical landscape.
The emperor penguin is the largest of 17 species of penguin at 1.15 m (45 in.) tall.
Emperor penguins are specially adapted to living in a cold environment. They have
four layers of scale-like feathers and large amounts of fat.
They can dive deeper than any other bird – as deep as 565 m (1850 ft.) – and they can stay underwater for more than 20 minutes.
Every winter (which begins in March in Antarctica), emperor penguins traverse up 80 km (50 mi.) across the ice to reach stable breeding grounds.
A male emperor penguin must use his own body to create a safe, warm environment for his egg because there are no nesting supplies available on the ice mass. He balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a warm layer of feathered skin called a brood pouch.
Since November 30, SeaWorld Orlando has experienced a penguin chick boom. Fifteen penguin chicks have hatched at their new exhibit, Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin, which features four different species of penguin: king, Adelie, Gentoo, and rockhopper.
From SeaWorld Orlando:
Although currently ranging in size from 6 inches to 21 inches, the king chick, the largest penguin at SeaWorld’s Antarctica will grow to be as tall as 2.5 ft. and its smallest, the rock hopper will grow to be approximately 12 inches tall.
Researchers in Western Australia are trying a new way to warn swimmers about sharks. Three hundred and thirty-eight sharks have been tagged with acoustic transmitters which will send a signal to a computer if a shark gets too close to land. The computer when then send out a tweet to warn swimmers that there is a shark in the area.
One concern is that the new system will provide a false sense of security because there are still many sharks without tags.