Tag: Wildlife

Birth of a Birder

Birth of a Birder Photo by Eva Holland

Eva Holland never got too excited about birds. But then she found herself gazing up at the sky in the Galapagos.

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Incredible Video Puts Viewer on the Beak of a Pelican

Pelican YouTube

I love pelicans. I love watching them swoop low over the Pacific, gliding along the top of a wave. I love watching them waddle around the beach.

But I’ve never seen a view quite like this. In Tanzania, someone attached a GoPro to a pelican’s beak. The results are stunning. Incredibly, the pelican doesn’t appear to be too bothered by the camera.

‘Any Bears Around Today?’

‘Any Bears Around Today?’ iStockPhoto

Kim Mance ventured into Canada's remote north looking for polar bears. She didn't anticipate becoming prey.

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‘Some Zoos Go Above and Beyond Expectations of Horrible’

Here are a few spots to avoid on your next trip. Global Post rounds up 10 of the world’s worst zoos—places, it says, where “you don’t want to bring the kids. Or yourself for that matter.”

The list spans four continents, and includes two close-to-home North American offenders.

World Travel Watch: Protests in Thailand, Dingo Trouble in Australia and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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World Travel Watch: Elections in Sri Lanka, Shark Attack in Cape Town and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Video You Must See: At the Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan

Photo You Must See: Snow Monkey in a Hot Spring

Photo You Must See: Snow Monkey in a Hot Spring REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez
REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez

A Japanese macaque (sometimes called a snow monkey) soaks in a hot spring in Yamanouchi.

Political Geography and the Jordanian Gerbil

Foreign Policy takes a look at a fascinating study that suggests political boundaries could have an impact on the development of animals living on opposite sides of the line. One of the test cases: Israeli and Jordanian gerbils. From the story:

A second study revealed that Israeli gerbils are more cautious than their Jordanian friends… The agricultural fields on the Israeli side of the border not only create a gulf between habitats and thereby cause an increase in the number of species in the region, but they also hail one of the most problematic of intruders in the world: the red fox. On the Jordanian side, the red fox is far less common, so that Jordanian gerbils can allow themselves to be more carefree.

(Via Kottke)

Don’t Bring Your Minivan to Yosemite

Why not? Because the park’s resident bear population prefers breaking into the vehicles over other models. Seriously.

Mapping Manhattan in 1609

Union Square in the early 17th century? According to The Mannahatta Project, an interactive map that lets users search block-by-block for the ecological and wildlife history of Manhattan, it was home to the meadow vole and the white-footed mouse, rather than the Greenmarket browsers of today. (Via Boing Boing)

South Africa: A Wildlife Conservation Grand Tour

Slate’s Green Room leads the way.

‘The Cove’ Takes Aim at Dolphin Encounters

‘The Cove’ Takes Aim at Dolphin Encounters Photo by Just Taken Pics via Flickr (Creative Commons)

A new documentary hopes to dampen the demand for “dolphin encounters,” the ever-popular swim-with-dolphins attractions found worldwide. “The Cove,” which won the Audience Award at Sundance before opening in theaters this past weekend, examines the killing and capture of dolphins in coastal Japan—and its star, Ric O’Barry, says explicitly that one of the filmmakers’ goals is to make tourists “think twice before buying a ticket.”

Picturing a staid moralizing tale? Think again. The movie is being billed as part “Flipper” and part “Bourne Identity”—here’s the surprisingly dramatic trailer:

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Photo We Love: Soaring With Cranes

Photo We Love: Soaring With Cranes REUTERS/Johannes Eisele
REUTERS/Johannes Eisele

French microlight pilot Christian Moullec flies with a flock of cranes during an air show in Langenselbold, 25 miles east of Frankfurt.

Can We Interest You in a Whale Meat Spring Roll?

Uh oh. A group of restaurateurs in Yokohama, Japan, is looking to embrace the port city’s whaling heritage with a slew of new recipes—including whale dumplings, whale spring rolls and whale bacon. “Whale meat is a very important part of Japanese tradition,” one of the leading businessmen behind the push told the AFP. “If whaling is not done to excess, I think this is a great thing. ... Whale meat is delicious, high in protein, low in fat.”

Delicious or not, I can already hear the howls of protest from animal-rights activists worldwide.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan REUTERS/Issei Kato

Visitors watch as Pacific bluefin tuna swim in a fish tank at Tokyo Sea Life Park

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Maui vs. the Moorhen

Maui vs. the Moorhen Picture by Charles Lam via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Picture by Charles Lam via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The fluffy little chick paddling in the pond at Waimea Valley didn’t look like much of a keeper of fire. She was all black fuzz and pathetic peeping. The endangered ’Alae ’Ula chick—or Hawaiian Moorhen—was the last of a brood of three that hatched this spring. There are only about 300 of the birds left, according to a State of Hawaii fact sheet.

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No Shark Dives Here, Say Oahu Residents

No Shark Dives Here, Say Oahu Residents Photo by hermanusbackpacker via Flickr (Creative Commons).

There are a handful of critters I hope never to get all that close to. Sharks are on the top of that list; I’d rather share my time in the water with occupants that don’t potentially see me as food. But plenty of tourists are more than willing to shell out $120 (give or take) to get in the water with the thing I so fear, “secure cage” or no.

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No Heart-Shaped Jacuzzis for Couples at the Frog Hotel

No Heart-Shaped Jacuzzis for Couples at the Frog Hotel Photo by chika via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by chika via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Because even amphibians need a place to get away from it all. The Frog Hotel in Edinburgh is more like the Bates hotel in “Psycho” than some smooth-lovin’ honeymoon inn soundtracked by Barry White, said Robert Henderson, Scottish coordinator for the Community Service Volunteers’ Action Earth campaign. But dark, dirt-scented ambience, complete with a compost cafe full of bugs and and a tiny ramp leading to a sleeping area, is just what gets frogs in the mood to schmooze.

Henderson’s group is encouraging people to put Frog Hotels in their gardens and yards in the hopes of preserving biodiversity in urban areas. It could work out really well for the frogs unless one of the hotels ends up next to a chef fond of cuisses de grenouille.



Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin From "HMS Beagle at Tierra del Fuego" by Conrad Martens (via Wikipedia)
From “HMS Beagle at Tierra del Fuego” by Conrad Martens (via Wikipedia)

Charles Darwin, author of the classic travel memoir The Voyage of the Beagle (oh, and that other book, too), would have turned 200 years old yesterday. To celebrate, the BBC’s David Shukman visited the Galapagos Islands, armed with a small Darwin library, and filed a series of compelling dispatches on how Darwin’s observations are holding up today.

A quick sample: “A giant frigate bird circles in the dusk sky. A lurid depiction of Charles Darwin adorns an arch outside our hotel. Once again, there’s a sea lion snoozing beside our table. It’s no longer a surprise. I must be evolving too.”