Film still from “Last of the Longnecks.” Courtesy of Iniosante Studios.
The IUCN has recently reclassified giraffes from a species of least concern to one vulnerable of extinction. Giraffe populations in Africa have declined 40% since 1985. All nine subspecies of giraffe are officially in trouble.
Iniosante Studios has spent the last three years documenting the situation in their film, “Last of the Longnecks,” which has helped bring global awareness to the plight of giraffes and instigated a reclassification by the IUCN. To obtain accurate figures for the IUCN, more than a dozen researchers combed the savannas in trucks, wandered trails on foot, flown in aircraft, and studied remote cameras.
“We’ve been working alongside the researchers in our film for the past three years to sound the alarm,” said Ashley Scott Davison, the film’s director. “Until recently, few people were even aware of the situation facing giraffes. This reclassification by the IUCN is pivotal to get the public to take action for our planet’s tallest animal.”
Today is World Elephant Day, a day focusing on the conservation of elephants across the globe. The two main species of elephant are African elephants and Asian elephants. Both species are in danger of becoming extinct in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss.
Although many countries have banned the killing of elephants, the illegal ivory trade has skyrocketed in recent years. Decreasing the demand for ivory is essential. Never buy, sell, or wear ivory. Write to your politicians to speak out against poaching. (Americans can write a letter to the Secretary of State on the Wildlife Conservation Society website.) For information on organizations that combat the illegal ivory trade, see National Geographic’s page, Blood Ivory: How to Help.
In addition, you can help provide captive elephants with the best possibly life. Boycott circuses, whose unethical treatment includes chaining elephants up by their feet and trunks, as well as beating them frequently. Encourage zoos to create environments similar to African elephants’ native habitat. They should be able to encompass elephant families and their travel patterns, and they should be located in a warm climate so that the elephants can spend all year outside.
A recent study of zoo elephants found that the best way to promote elephant well-being in captivity is to ensure they can spend time in groups, and not be socially isolated. Human interaction was also beneficial. The study, titled Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare, is available online and is accessible to the public. (See journals.plos.org.)
Adia and her new foal, born June 18. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago celebrated Father’s Day weekend with the arrival of a female Grevy’s zebra foal. It was the first zebra birth at the zoo since 2012! The baby zebra is the third foal for mother Adia and the first for father Webster.
In the wild, Grevy’s zebras are considered endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. They are native to eastern Africa, ranging from Ethiopia to Kenya.
Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
“Research tells us that fostering an emotional connection between humans and animals is key to creating a real commitment to wildlife conservation,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Vice President of Education and Community Engagement Dana Murphy. “Species like zebras, with which we are relatively familiar—and become so at an early age—help us forge that connection and inspire our guests to care about their future.”
Awww! Busch Gardens Tampa recently welcomed three baby ring-tailed lemurs. First-time mother Canada gave birth to Squirt on March 19, and twins Schweps and Seagramms were born to Ginger on March 27.
Photo by Busch Gardens Tampa.
Photo by Busch Gardens Tampa.
See the adorable baby ring-tailed lemurs in the video below:
Ring-tailed lemurs are considered endangered by the IUCN Red List. The main threat to their population is habitat destruction. Much of their habitat is being converted to farmland or burned for the production of charcoal.
Cholita, an abused spectacled bear and former circus animal, waits for her trip to the United States, where she can live out the rest of her life in a sanctuary. Photo provided by Animal Defenders International (ADI).
Cholita has had a hard life. She is an Andean/spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), a species considered vulnerable of extinction in the wild. She was kept illegally at a circus in Peru. There, she was severely abused.
Due to the gruesome abuse she suffered at the circus, Cholita now has no claws, teeth or hair. She is barely recognizable as a spectacled bear. But there is hope for Cholita, to live out the rest of her days in a United States sanctuary.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Peruvian authorities to get Cholita on a special ‘Spirit of Freedom’ flight to Colorado scheduled for April 20. The huge rescue mission, which also includes the rescue of 70 other circus animals, is expected to cost ADI over $1.2 million.
February 24th saw the birth of an endangered female lowland gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL. The little baby ape has been named Bella and is doing well with her mother, Bahati, and father, Kwan.
Aww! Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a pair of cheetah cubs!
A pair of cheetah cubs have joined the ranks at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. The cubs, named Tendai and Thabo, weighed 12 pounds when they were born on November 22, 2014. Once old enough, they will start their own coalition of cheetahs at the Cheetah Run habitat.
Just in time for Halloween, a Francois langur named Pumpkin gave birth to a bright orange baby. This is the fifth baby for mother Pumpkin and father Cartman.
“The newest Francois’ langur is healthy, nursing regularly and is showing signs of growth,” said Curator of Primates, Maureen Leahy. “Older sister Orla has already shown her support by alloparenting, a process in which the other female monkeys take turns carrying and providing care to the young.”
Although adult Francois langurs are distinguished by their black and white coloring, baby Francois langurs have an orange coat. Scientists believe this encourages alloparenting because the infants are easily identified. The orange fur fades to black after 3-6 months.
In the wild, Francois langurs inhabit southern Guangxi province of China, northern Vietnam and west-central Laos.