Climate change may be to blame for decreasing populations of pikas, a furry relative of rabbits. Pikas make their home in the mountainous regions of the western United States but are threatened by rising temperatures. While other animals are able to move as a way to adapt to changing temperatures, pikas will not migrate. Once they decide on a home they will stay there, even if it results in their death.
If the pika becomes listed as a threatened or endangered species, laws can be changed or created to curb activities that create greenhouse gases.
Bai Yun, who was reported last month to be pregnant, has given birth to a cub this week. She has given birth to four other cubs in her life: Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen. The most recent cub has yet to be named.
Although it was possible that she would give birth to twins, it appears that she will not give birth to the second cub. Pandas have the ability to reabsorb a fetus if it is not fully developed.
This month marked another significant step in the conservation of clouded leopards. Three cubs were born to parents Jing Jai and Arun at the Nashville Zoo. As mentioned in a previous post where two clouded leopard cubs were born at the National Zoo, breeding these wildcats in captivity has proven difficult. Many times the male leopard will kill the female or the female will kill her cubs. So the birth of three cubs is a momentus occasion.
Clouded leopards are endangered in the wild (southeast Asia) due to hunting.
Arriving on April 18, this endangered primate is only the second aye-aye born in a North American zoo. Native to Madagascar, aye-ayes have a monkey-like body, a squirrel-like tail, large eyes, and an elongated middle finger (which they use to pick insects out of tree hollows).
A pair of golden lion tamarins were born at the Santa Ana Zoo in late March. Shown here grabbing hold of mother Abril’s back, the babies will put on public display as soon as they start exploring on their own.
Golden lion tamarins are considered endangered in their native home of Brazil.
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.
The Florida panther, a small subspecies of the cougar that inhabits southwest Florida, has grown in population from a mere 20 cats in the 1970s to 100 panthers currently.
However, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will only deem their conservation plan successful when three colonies of 240 panthers thrive. In the current space of 3500 square miles, this may not be possible. Scientists believe the area has reached maximum capacity for the large felines.
So far, possible plans to establish cougar colonies in Arkansas, Georgia, and northern Florida have not come to fruition. In the meantime, human population and development has increased significantly in southwest Florida in past years, decreasing the possiblity of expanding the panther population there.
The National Zoo in Washington, DC has announced the birth of a female dama gazelle. The female joins her mother and several others at the zoo. In the wild, the dama gazelle is critically endangered with only 500 left in the world.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an environmental network of government agencies, non-government organizations, and volunteer scientists, released their latest findings on the status of the world’s mammals. Their results paint a bleak picture of the future for many animals.
The IUCN estimates that 1 in 4 mammals are at risk for extinction and that 1 in 2 mammal populations is declining.
According to Julia Marton-Lefevre, the director general of the IUCN,
Within our lifetime, hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live. We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives.
On the bright side, IUCN’s research also shows that many species can recover from the brink of extinction when focused conservation efforts take place.
On September 17, Melbourne, Florida’s Brevard Zoo welcomed a new arrival: a female Visayan warty piglet. In the wild, Visayan warty pigs are critically endangered forest dwellers living in the Philippines. While they once roamed all six islands, Visayan warty pigs have become extinct on four of them. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) had appealed to zoos to participate in an emergency breeding program to help stabilize the Visayan warty pig population.