Fifty mountain chicken frogs, rare amphibians native to the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Montserrat, have been airlifted to three European zoos when news spread that the mountain chicken frog population was succumbing to a deadly fungal disease called chytridiomycosis. The frogs are now housed in captive breeding units at the London Zoological Society, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, and the Parken Zoo in Sweden.
Although they are called mountain chicken frogs, the large frogs actually live in the lowlands. Before their population was decimated by disease, they were eaten by locals; their flesh tastes similar to chicken.
Thousands of people have been watching Hancock Wildlife Foundation‘s live streaming video footage of a bald eagle’s nest on Vancouver Island, Canada to try to catch a glimpse of three eaglets hatching. The mother laid the eggs in early March. As the gestation period of a bald eagle is around 35-40 days, the eaglets are expected to hatch this week.
Jilly, a baby eastern grey kangaroo pictured above, was treated for burns to her feet, paws and tail. She also suffered severe dehydration and weight loss after losing her mother to the fires, so the Healesville staff has taken to bottle feeding her.
Before they can release the animals back into the wild, they’ll need to assess the suitability of the habitat as much of the land is completely scorched.
A recently hatched rare reptile, the tuatara, has been discovered in New Zealand for the first time in 200 years. The species’ lineage dates back to the dinosaur age. The tuatara was found in the wild in the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington.
While numbering in the tens of thousands on the islands surrounding New Zealand, the tuatara was nearly extinct on the main island. Their near extinction was brought about by the introduction of predators, including rats.
The hatching of the tuatara is a sign that reintroduction and conservation efforts are working.
To celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, a philanthropist in the UK has promised to double any donations made to six different wildlife charities on charity website, www.theBigGive.org.uk.
This means that anyone giving £5 or over will have the same amount donated to their chosen charity on their behalf. Donation doubling will start at 10am on Monday, February 23rd and will finish when £50,000 has been spent.
A young harbor seal was discovered in a state fish hatchery in the town of Sandwich in Cape Cod. There she had her pick of delicious trout to eat. Her all-you-can eat buffet came to an end, however, when the Cape Cod Stranding Network captured the seal, tagged her, and released her back into the Atlantic in West Dennis.
What is interesting is the tremendous journey this seal had to make to reach the hatchery. According to Misty Niemeyer of the Cape Cod Stranding Network, the seal would have had to waddle on land for 2 miles, including stretches on the boardwalk and through a tunnel under Route 6A.
Over the weekend, 64 pilot whales were stranded on the northern coast of Tasmania. In general, it is rare to save any whales in a mass stranding such as this one, however, rescuers were able to release 11 of the whales back into the water.
Rescuers aren’t certain why the pilot whales got stranded, but scientist Rosemary Gales offered this theory:
“At Godfrey’s Beach where we are, it is very shallow and sloping. It has an extraordinary tide span and so the whales one minute can be in quite deep water and as soon as the tide changes, they get caught out and they are stranded essentially on sand bars and very shallow sloping beach.”
The scientists attached satellites to the ones who were released and have determined that the whales have regrouped into a small pod, thereby making the rescue a success.
In northern Brazil, 1600 Magellanic penguins were found wandering around in an emaciated state. Usually, Magellanic penguins breed in Argentina and Chile, and the juveniles migrate north between March and September in pursuit of anchovy. However, these penguins ventured hundreds of miles north of their intended feeding grounds, leaving many in a weakened physical state. While it is normal for a few penguins to stray off track every year, the overwhelming influx of penguins this year raised enough concern that the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other wildlife rescue groups decided to intervene.
After rehabilitating the emaciated birds, rescue workers loaded 373 healthy penguins into crates and transported them to Pelotas, in southern Brazil, via a C-130 Hercules military plane. The juvenile penguins were then released at Cassino Beach along with a small group of adult penguins who had been rescued from an oil spill. It is expected that the adults will help guide the younger birds back to the feeding grounds.
According to Dr. Valeria Ruoppolo of the IFAW, “We are overjoyed to see these penguins waddle back to the ocean and have a second chance at life.”