Today marks the first time in almost two decades that new species of great ape was discovered. Scientists have found an isolated population of orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia, and studies show that it is a new species, and that it has been separated from the other population of Sumatran orangutans for over a million years.
I got to meet up with lead okapi keeper Megan Lumpkin at the Dallas Zoo last week and she told me all about the DZ’s leading okapi breeding program! She was so nice and welcoming and let me see the DZ’s new baby okapi and the process by which they weigh her every morning and I even got to meet their oldest okapi and give her a good ear scratching!
Many of us hear the word drone and cringe; we picture the military using drones to drop bombs and other negative things. But recently drones are become cheaper and cheaper as the technology becomes commonplace, so what better path for the drone to take than to aide in conservation!
Gregg Treinish is described by National Geographic as an adventurer and conservationist. Avid hiker and explorer turned biologist, Treinish began to work doing field research. After wandering the globe studying many species, from sturgeon to lynx, he founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. If you dream of being an avid conservationist but don’t have the wallet, this is a great way to get involved.
A new study suggests that orangutans (and one young gorilla) may be more capable of identifying types of animals than we had previously given them credit for. In the 1700’s Carolus Linneaus gave two names to each species, organizing species for the first time. He classified them in a hierarchical system, starting broad with kingdom, phylum, class, then getting more specific with family, genus, and finally the most specific, species. It took humans an embarrassingly long time to become so organized and look more critically at the animals we share our planet with.
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.
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.
I’m such an emotional sap. This brought tears to my eyes! But how could it not? It’s the miracle of birth seen in a completely new way. This captive Sumatran orangutan named Dana gave birth to a beautiful new baby girl, now why is this so fantastic? Well firstly because Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, but secondly because it was the first ever orangutan birth caught on film so completely.