Maybe you’ve read some past blog posts, or been following my journey, or maybe you just read the tagline at the top of my website, but I’m sure you’ve figured out that while I might be in Dallas, my heart lives in Indonesia. I will soon be pursuing a graduate degree at Oxford Brookes University to get my masters in Primate Conservation, which I will be talking about in my next ‘my journey’ post. But while perusing the Facebook page of my future school I came across this lovely blog titled “The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project” which talks about the animals of Borneo and life of a field researcher.
There are many natural ways that the population of a species is controlled; natural disasters, wars, and disease outbreak. The human population has had minor disease outbreaks in the last few decades, but nothing on the scale of the bubonic plague in the mid 1300’s. The human population is long overdue for another plague, which is a sad truth. There unfortunately is a disease outbreak in another species that has had a lot of press recently.
As my study abroad plans to spend a semester in Costa Rica fell through I had to begin looking for an apartment back in Dallas. I was not thrilled because, as much as SMU has done for me, for a while it wasn’t my favorite place. I probably shouldn’t have chosen a school known for business and not at all for science, but at the time I was desperate to get away from Florida for a little while. But my plans of transferring were not looking bright and I was hoping to find a ray of sunshine to make my stay in Dallas more appealing. Enter, the Dallas Zoo.
Down in South America lives the maned wolf, and like the last OAP, it’s name is a little deceiving. The maned wolf is related to wolves, but only very distantly, it is actually much more closely related to the fox, even then it is the only animal in its genus. The maned wolf is an odd animal because of its odd appearance of a fox on stilts, and its unique temperament.
Hiding deep in the Andean Cloud Forests of Columbia and Ecuador was the little, brown, arboreal animal that avoided detection until very recently. The olinguito is the first carnivore discovered in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. For quite some time it was mislabeled in zoo’s and museums as an olingo, which looks fairly similar but tends to be about double the weight, but with a similar body structure. People simply believed it was just a small olingo.
Happy World Orangutan Day! A day especially for those fuzzy arboreal apes, orangutans! Orangutans are very special apes, they are the only arboreal ape and they are the only ape in found outside of Africa! The name orangutan is derived from the Malay words ‘orang’ and ‘hutan.’ ‘Orang’ means person and ‘hutan’ means forest, giving the orangutan the name person of the forest. These people of the forest are an incredible look into the evolution of humans, with their intelligent eyes and knack for gentle parenting, but unfortunately we are destroying their habitat at an alarming rate. 300 football fields worth of forest are cut down every single day in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Yasuni National Park in Ecuador has been dubbed the most diverse place in the world. The nearly 4,000 square miles are home to 150 species of amphibians, 121 species of reptiles, 382 species of fish, 596 species of birds, over 100,000 species of insects, and a number of un-contacted indigenous tribes. It comprises a mere 0.15% of the Amazon Basin but holds almost 1/3 of its amphibian and reptile species. This area is teeming with life, and yesterday, the government of Ecuador approved a plan to begin drilling for oil inside the boundaries of Yasuni National Park.
Normally this would be horrible news, but these traps are animal friendly. Are any traps animal friendly, you may ask? Well yes! Camera traps! 225 camera traps have been set up over 390 square miles in hopes to get a sense of how the Serengeti functions as an ecosystem without humans being present.
It’s not a lemur, and it doesn’t fly, so the name is a little misleading. But I bet you’ve never heard of it before! This little gliding animal is pretty rare and in fact, there’s not much known about them. They’re not a new species, people just don’t seem to concerned with learning more about this fuzzy little creature.