Founder of the Photo Ark, a 25-year project to show the world the beauty of biodiversity in all its forms, and inspire action to save species.
This is Mosi, a patas monkey who lives at the @houstonzoo. This is the fastest primate species on earth, running at speeds of up to 34 miles per hour! They have diverse means of communication, using different calls in response to different situations and types of predators. If faced with an aggressor, the male will make a diversionary display, bouncing on the bushes and trees before fleeing through the grass. This detracts attention from the females and young, allowing them time to flee silently or stay hidden in the grass. Female patas monkeys typically use a ‘moo’ call to stay in contact while on the move. Males of this species are nearly twice the size of females, and are also more brightly colored.
This male splendid sunbird lives @houstonzoo. This family of brightly colored birds fill the niche that the hummingbird fills in the Americas by feeding primarily on the nectar of flowers in Africa, Asia and Australia. As a conservation effort, the Houston Zoo asks its guests to participate in cell phone recycling because the minerals found in cell phones are mined from the region where this species is native and destroys habitat for other more well-known species like gorillas. It is hoped that recycling cell phones will reduce mining in sensitive areas and save the animals of this region. Time will tell. Visit the link in my bio to learn about making an impact by recycling your old cell phone.
This spectacular bird is an Andean Cock-of-the-rock, photographed at @dallas_world_aquarium. The national bird of Peru, this species is easily identified by its fan-shaped crest and brilliant orange plumage. They get their name from their preference for rocks and ledges as the base for their mud cup nests, which the females are responsible for building. Males gather in groups in a location called a lek to perform elaborate courtship displays. They even try to attract females with a call that sounds like a pig squealing! They bob up and down, bowing and hopping around to display their bright plumage. Males will mate with more than one female and, once she lays her eggs, she cares for the chicks by herself. Visit @natgeo to see another video of this amazing bird!
This bonnethead shark was born at Shark Reef Aquarium along with 9 other pups. Though sharks are commonly feared— only one attack on humans by this species has ever been recorded, and they are generally considered to be harmless. This species can be found throughout the western Atlantic Ocean and eastern Pacific along continental shelves, coastal areas, coral reefs, and muddy and sandy bottoms. They can reach 5 feet in length yet only can weigh up to 20 pounds. Using the small, sharp teeth in the front of their jaw for grasping their prey, and flat, molariform teeth at the back to crush the hard shells-- they feed mainly on invertebrates like crabs, shrimp, crustaceans, bivalves, octopi, and small fish. During the winter, large schools migrate to warm latitudes and then to cooler areas during summer. Threats include being eaten by humans and also processed for fishmeal, though happily they are not listed as threatened or endangered. Shark Reef Aquarium is predator based, with a focus on sharks and educating the public on the importance of predators in the oceans. They have successfully bred hundreds of sharks, including bonnethead, sandbar, black tip reef, bamboo and zebra sharks— which have also moved to other facilities supporting conservation. To see another photo of this shark visit @natgeowild#sharkawarenessday#nationalsharkawarenessday
Plowed Under |
In the heart of US farm country there once was a thriving prairie dog town.
Though just 50-acres, this site was famous among conservationists. It was likely the easternmost colony of black-tailed prairie dogs in the country, and represented one of the last vestiges of what the prairie ecosystem looked like in eastern Nebraska before European settlement.
In May, it became just another soybean field.
So how did this come to be?
Nearly 20 years ago, this special place was given to Doane University. However, at the time of the donation, the land was not permanently protected from the plow with a conservation easement.
Then this past spring, Doane’s management decided to sell it to local farmers, who plowed it immediately.
We understand proceeds from the sale will go towards scholarship funding. And of course, farmers have bills to pay.
But it should have never come to this.
Saving the Earth takes effort. It takes thought, and then, it takes real commitment. And yes, sometimes it even costs money.
The good news is the farm family permitted wildlife rescue groups to trap and relocate many of the surviving prairie dogs before the rest were killed. Doane helped fund this trapping effort. These things were heartening at least.
Still, it boggles the mind that a place this significant took so little time to erase; the little prairie dog town that we all failed to appreciate in time.
Today, in the silence of a soybean field, we can all share a lesson. There are surely other pockets of virgin soil out there, somewhere. Will we steward those at least? |
To see my full opinion posted in the Lincoln Journal Star today, visit the link in my bio.
This is a wild common carp at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Center for Aquatic Mollusk Programs. Listed as vulnerable, the IUCN gives this designation when a species could eventually become endangered if circumstances are threatening its survival and reproduction. This fish has very particular habitat needs; it lays sticky eggs that are attached to water plants or other submerged objects. Reproductive success is restricted to years when the water level starts rising in May, followed by high temperatures and the flooding of vegetation into June.
Did you know that giant anteaters have a sense of smell that is 40 times better than a
human's? This heightened sense allows them to sniff out ants or termites up to several miles away. This is a helpful feature for this ant-hungry species, who consume up to 30,000 of the insects a day! Amazingly, their tongue is usually two feet long, the largest in relation to body size of any mammal, with small backward-pointing spines covered in sticky saliva that aid in feeding.
Sadly, giant anteaters like this one at the @sunsetzoomhk have experienced a population decline of around 30% over the past decade and are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Habitat loss, roadkills, hunting, and wildfires have been substantially impacting the populations over the past 10 years. In some areas, giant anteaters are hunted for food; this is especially true in the Caatinga area of Brazil. Their skin is often used to manufacture harnesses and other leather products, as well as for medicinal use. In Central America and southern parts of its range, there have been many records of local population extinctions. For a close up of this anteater visit @natgeo.
This cute little critter is an African gray climbing mouse, found in sub-Saharan Africa. Like other species of climbing mice, this nocturnal and largely terrestrial species eats seeds and invertebrates. They climb through low bushes and grass stalks using their slender fingers to grip and climb and their long tail for balance. This species can be solitary, or live in pairs and small family groups. It breeds seasonally, with females usually producing litters of between two and four. Although small, this species plays a role in regulating invertebrate numbers, seed predation, nutrient cycling, and is an important prey species for predators.
Fluttering in for this #pollinatormonday is the Black-chinned Hummingbird. This species is widespread across the United States, often entering suburban gardens while nesting and pollinating in backyards. They extract nectar from flowers and often feed on insects, they will also eat sugar-water mixtures from hummingbird feeders. To get the female’s attention, the male hummingbird will perform a "pendulum" display, flying back and forth in wide U-shaped arc, making whirring sounds on each dive. Young Black-chinned hummingbirds are typically 20-days-old at first flight.
The Starlight bristlenose gets its name from the small white dots that appear all over its body, resembling stars in the night sky. These dots are helpful in illuminating them as they inhabit everywhere from deep, dark waters of rivers to shallow low oxygen floodplains throughout the Amazon river basin in South America. Males can be incredibly protective of their offspring, and a fight over territory can result in the ousting of the submissive fish from its cave and the victor will then swim inside and consume the other’s eggs. Some of these fish can ingest oxygen and utilize it through their highly vascularised stomachs.
What's on this sharp-nosed crab’s shell? Barnacles, algae, sponges and other small invertebrates, which are frequently seen covering this species. Unlike its cousin the decorator crab, the sharp-nosed crab doesn’t actively adorn itself. While it might occasionally put a little something on itself, it appears to just let its hitchhikers colonize its bumpy carapace on their own. This roughly pear-shaped member of the spider crab family is common in tide pools and shallow ocean habitats along the Pacific coast, and was photographed at @montereybayaquarium
This is a brazilian rainbow boa at the @greatplainszoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Their
iridescent skin acts a prism to reflect light, creating a rainbow-colored effect, seen here as a glimmering blue-purple.They are native to the Amazon River basin, coastal Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname and southern Venezuela. Interestingly, sexual maturity is determined by length rather than age – males may breed at 4 feet and females at 4.5 feet. The Great Plains Zoo, where this boa was photographed, cares for more than 1,000 animals across 137 species and is a key player in 24 endangered species breeding programs. Visit @natgeo to see a full length image of this glimmering snake!