Watch a cute and informative video about how elephants communicate with each other as they play. Elephant biologist and conservationist Joyce Poole and her husband, Petter Granli, founders of ElephantVoices, created the video. Poole interprets and explains the elephants’ behavior as they interact.
You can watch in real time the lives of two bald eagle chicks and their parents on National Geographic’s live eagle webcam! The eagle nest (called an eyrie) is located in Washington D.C. The young eaglets, who were born in March, are covered in brown feathers. They won’t develop their characteristic white heads until they are about 4-5 years old.
Click the image to view the live webcam on National Geographic’s website.
Like bald eagles? You can see more live eagle cams here:
Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed three Malayan tiger cubs on March 31st. There were two males and one female, each weighing around 6 pounds.
These births were part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Malayan tiger births are rare in captive breeding programs. There was only one successful birth in 2012, and this is the first Malayan tiger birth at Busch Gardens Tampa. The animal care team is monitoring the cubs and parents around the clock.
According to the IUCN Redlist, Malayan tigers are considered endangered in the wild. There are only 500 Malayan tigers living in their native habitat, which is the southern tip of Thailand and the Malay Peninsula. Threats include habitat fragmentation and poaching.
Baby sifaka at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill.
A little Coquerel’s sifaka (pronounced CAH-ker-rells she-FAHK — it’s a species of lemur) was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on March 30. The newborn, named Max, resembled a tiny gremlin when born, with a bald black face, round yellow eyes, and pointy ears. Now, the white fur has grown in, and Max resembles his parents, Ana and Gratian.
For the first month, baby Coquerel’s sifaka ride on their mother’s bellies, and then transition to riding on their mother’s backs. Carey Ricciardone, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Maryland Zoo said of Max: “By the end of April, he will begin to sample solid food and crawl on Ana’s back periodically and he should begin to venture a few feet away from her by six to eight weeks of age.”
In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka live solely on the island of Madagascar, which is off the southeastern coast of Africa. They spend most of their lives in the treetops in two protected areas in the sparse dry, deciduous forests on the northwestern side of the island. As with many species of lemur, Coquerel’s sifaka are endangered, threatened by deforestation.
Sifaka have a very interesting way of moving on land. Here’s a video of some of them leaping!
The new porcupette at one day old at the Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA welcomed a baby North American porcupine on April 18. The male porcupette (baby porcupine) and his mother Molly are living in a den and are being monitored by zoo staff. The pair will be on exhibit in just a couple weeks!
Porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth, providing quick protection against predators. After a few weeks, the babies develop their tree-climbing abilities. Once they wean themselves off their mother’s milk, they climb trees to forage for leaves, twigs, and bark.
Today is Earth Day! There are many small steps you can take to help the environment, starting today.
Here are a few examples:
1. Use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike instead of using a car.
2. Grow your own fruits and vegetables in a backyard garden.
3. Plant a tree or three!
4. Bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping.
5. Swap out household cleaning products with biodegradable/eco-friendly versions.
A new study has revealed that from 2002 – 2011, 62% of forest elephants had been wiped out in central Africa. Organized criminal gangs have been slaughtering whole herds of elephants to profit from a rapidly expanding illegal ivory trade.
Elephants, who are highly intelligent creatures, are aware of the danger they face and have tried to adapt. They avoid roads and travel silently during the night. But these tactics are not enough when facing the onslaught of gangs wielding automatic assault weapons and grenades.
If nothing changes, African elephants are on a short path to extinction.
To learn more about the plight of African elephants, see:
If you would like to help elephants, you can 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.