Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bermuda Skink Facts and How You Can Save Them

Bermuda skinks may not give you the warm fuzzy feeling at first glance, but they do feast on beetles and pesky cockroaches so that's got to count for something. They are also excellent rock and stone climbers but avoid climbing plants and trees. Bermuda skinks are endemic to Bermuda, meaning they are only found in Bermuda. Bermuda skinks have not been extensively studied so not much is known about these elusive reptiles.
Why Bermuda Skinks Need Our Help
Bermuda skinks are listed by the IUCN as critically endangered, that's one level below extinct in the wild. I find it hard to believe that such a small harmless animal who exists off of insects can be in such great danger. It just goes to show how destructive humans can be. There are a few pockets of Bermuda skink populations with the smallest at 23 individuals and the largest at 400 individuals.
Loss of habitat is the Bermuda skinks biggest threat with expanded agriculture and residential buildings being the two largest causes. Introduction of predators and trash are further threatening Bermuda skinks.
Sources and for more info: ARKive, IUCN Red List
Help Save Bermuda Skinks

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chimpanzee Facts and How You Can Save Them

Not only are chimpanzees smart, capable of building and using tools, they also demonstrate a range of emotions far greater than what we may have ever thought possible, including grief and mourning.

At the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, Dorothy, a beloved 40 year old chimp, passed away. The photo on the right, by Monica Szczupider shows the other chimps watching in pained silence as Dorothy, is wheeled past them and prepared for burial at a sanctuary in Cameroon. The amazing story is featured in National Geographic. Source: Monkeys in Mourning. (Note that chimpanzees are actually apes not monkeys, since they don't have a tail, but I digress.) Notice that the chimps have their arms wrapped around each other and are silent, even though they are normally quite vocal. Once again we are reminded that chimpanzees have so many qualities that us humans can relate to.

Why Chimpanzees Need Our Help
Chimpanzees are an endangered species. Their population is estimated to be between 150,000 - 235,000. They now only live in 13 out of the original 25 African countries they used to inhabit and only 6 of those countries have healthy breeding populations.

Chimpanzee's biggest threat is that they're hunted for bushmeat which is consumed by humans. This needs to stop if chimpanzees are to survive - more info on Bushmeat. Habitat loss and deforestation are also threats to chimpanzees. The illegal capture of chimpanzees for pets or amusement is also threatening chimpanzees, not to mention it leaves to a poor life for the chimp. Jane Goodall estimates that for every baby chimp taken illegally for the pet trade, 10 are killed since the chimpanzee family will try and protect the baby chimp. Source: Save Chimpanzees from Extinction.

Help Save Chimpanzees
Thank you for taking actions to help save chimpanzees!If you like monkeys, you may also like:  Cute Monkey Pictures & Monkey Mountain in Germany

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Proboscis Monkey Facts and How You Can Save Them

Ladies, on the right you are looking at a very handsome male proboscis monkey. How do I know this? Why by the size of his nose of course! Large noses on males are considered attractive to females, - the bigger the better! Noses on male proboscis monkeys can be up to 7 inches long! Females also have large noses but not nearly as big as the males noses.

The noses also amplify warning calls and the more upset the proboscis monkey is the larger the nose gets and the louder the warning call!

Why the Proboscis Monkey Needs Our Help
Proboscis monkeys only live in Malaysian Borneo and are threatened by habitat loss and hunting. Habitat is extremely important for any animal, but especially the proboscis monkey who requires such a specialized habitat and can only thrive in one place in the entire world. There are ~ 3000 proboscis monkeys and they are a threatened species.

Help Save the Proboscis Monkey
Thank you for taking actions to help save the proboscis monkey!
Photo courtesy of: Austin King
If you like primates check out these links:
Cute Monkey Pictures  
Monkey Mountain in Germany
Observing Endangered Samango Monkeys in iSimangaliso Wetland Park 
Cheeky Vervet Monkeys in Uganda
Macaques in Thailand

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dolphin Facts and How You Can Save Them

When baby dolphins position themselves to the right and just behind their mothers, they are sucked forward by the motion of their swimming mothers. This assists the baby in swimming who has not yet developed all its strength. Now you know why baby dolphins swim close to their mothers! Source: Dolphin Fun.

I guess the baby dolpin in the photo on the right didn't need his mother's help off the west coast of Scotland. He seemed to do just fine on his own.

Why Dolphins Need Our Help
Each year over 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are being slaughtered in Taiji Cove, Japan, a remote fishing village out of sight from the public. Dolphins are slaughtered for their meat which contains toxic levels of mercury - not good for the dolphins or the Japanese eating the meat.

Help Save Dolphins

  • Never eat dolphin meat, which is sometimes marketed as whale meat. It is obviously bad for dolphins but is bad for us too due to the high levels of mercury found in dolphins.
  • Sign a letter Help Save Japan's Dolphins to be sent to President Obama and other political heads.
  • Go see the movie The Cove, a documentary on the dolphin slaughter in Japan (movie trailer at The Cove
  • Don't swim with dolphins in captive settings, although fun for you, this is a cruel existence for dolphins. Also don't attend dolphin shows for the same reason. Sign a pledge at Captivity is Cruel - Don't Go to a Dolphin Show
  • Volunteer with dolphins in the Hebrides (off the west coast of Scotland) through the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. I loved it. See my experience at Volunteer Vacations The Pros and Cons.

Thank you for taking the time to help save dolphins!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Black Cats and How You Can Save Them

I couldn't find any actual research to back up this fact but there is a lot of anecdotal research from vets and pet owners (myself included) that report black cats are the most affectionate colour of cats. Fuego, my black cat featured on the right when he was a kitten,doesn't leave my side when I'm sick and follows me everywhere.

Why Black Cats Need Our Help
Unfortunately black cats (and black dogs) are the least likely to be adopted at animal shelters because of superstitions that they bring back luck. More info on Why Adopters Don't Want Black Cats. Also some people still use black cats as part of sacrificial ceremonies at Halloween so if you go to an animal shelter right before Halloween you may not see any black cats since some animal shelters take them off of public viewing at this time to try and protect them.

Help Save Black Cats
  • Adopt a black cat (or black dog) from the animal shelter if you are looking for a new pet

Not looking for a new pet but are a pet owner ? You can still:

  • Buy your pet supplies from your local animal shelter if they have a store or shop online at the ASPCA (U.S.A.) or Humane Society of Canada (Canada)

Not a pet owner? You could still:

  • Buy whatever the animal shelter is selling (calendars, chocolate, cards,etc.)
  • Make a donation to an local animal shelter, to the ASPCA (U.S.A.) or to the Humane Society of Canada
  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter
  • Play Meow Trivia. Each trivia question you answer results in a donation to an animal shelter to help feed hungry cats.

Once you have your black cat (or other cat) at home. Find out fun: Cat Care Tips for a Happy Cat

Spoil your cat with a visit to the Amazon Cat Store, the PURRFECT store for cat lovers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Napoleon Fish Facts and How You Can Save Them

Napoleon fish, sometimes also called Napoleon wrasse or humpback wrasses are comical looking fish with a big hump on their forehead and oversize lips. They can grow up to 2 meters. Despite their large size, they are a friendly fish and will often approach divers and swim along side them. Once the diver leaves the napoleon fish's territory, the napoleon fish will patiently wait for the diver to return, then continue to swim with the diver. I once had the amazing experience of swimming alongside a napoleon fish for 20 minutes in the Red Sea! Who knew fish could be so friendly?

Why Napoleon Fish Need Our Help
Napoleon fish are listed as endangered due to overfishing. They are considered a delicacy in parts of Asia, especially Hong Kong and catch a good price for fishermen. Making things even worse is that they are are frequently caught with cyanide which damages coral reefs and kills other fish. By eating a napoleon fish you will also likely be ingesting cyanide. I'm not a doctor, but that can't be good for either you or the napoleon fish. Don't fret, you can help save the napoleon fish with a few simple steps.

Help Save Napoleon Fish
  • Never eat napoleon fish.
  • In a restaurant that serves napoleon fish either boycott the restaurant and tell the manager why you are doing so, or second best ask the manager where it came from and whether it was caught using cyanide. In Hong Kong, you can ask to see their possession permit.
  • Promote and be aware of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative, and make your choices accordingly
  • For further information on how you can help: Humpback Wrasses Awareness Campaign
Thank you for taking action to help save Napoleon Fish!
Photo courtesy of Nemo's Great Uncle.

You may also be interested in:  Clown Fish - The Bravest Fish in the Sea? 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bee Facts and How You Can Save Them

Yes, I know that technically a bee is an insect not an animal but in this blog we don't discriminate against any creature needing help. But first, a fun fact about bees.

Fun Bee Facts
Despite their small size, bees have a lot going on. Did you know that bees can communicate over 10,000 messages to other bees? How do they do this? Why by dancing of course in what is called a "waggle dance." The "waggle dance" is used to communicate the location of nectar or pollen. The larger the quantity, the more exaggerated the dance is.(1). Can you imagine trying to communicate over 10,000 messages by dancing? I'm guessing that bees are in good shape! See Bee communication and dancing for more info. Enter the truly wild Amazon Animal Store for even more fun animal facts.

Why Bees Need Our Help
Bees are disappearing from around the world. It is estimated that the bee population has decreased by as much as 60 - 70% in the U.S. Parts of Europe are also seeing substantial decreases. Not only is this bad for bees, but it's bad for us since Albert Einsten once predicted that humans would only last 4 years without bees. Bees pollinate all of our major food sources and we depend on them more than we know. Why are the bees disappearing? Radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing them from finding their way back to their hives. Source: Save the Bees and the Human Race. Another issue is that at the end of honey season, it is considered too costly for farmers to winterize hives so many farmers burn them and start fresh next season. Source: Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights

Help Save Bees
You can help bees in two ways. First sign a petition at Save the Bees and the Human Race. It takes only a few seconds and urges government to further investigate and find a solution to the cellular phone/bee problem. Two, buy honey from farmers who don't kill the bees at the end of each season. Ask before you buy and only support those farmers who don't kill the bees.
Also join Save the Honeybees group on Facebook to show your support for bees.
Thank you for taking action to help save bees!
1) "Dancing Under a Polarized Sky"; available at
2) CJ. "Save the Bees and the Human Race"; available at
3) Steven M. Wise, Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights (Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus, 2002)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grizzly Bear Facts and How You Can Save Them

I thought I would start my first post with an amazing animal in my own back yard - the grizzly bear.

Grizzly (and Black) Bear Fun Facts
If humans don't urinate, we die of toxic urea. Grizzly and black bears don't urinate when they hibernate but don't die. Why? They recycle their urine back into their bodies. Come spring time, they urinate normally again. One of the true marvels of bears that has scientists creeping into bear dens in the middle of winter to find out how it all works. Click for more
bear facts. Enter the Amazon Bear and Wildlife Store for a truly wild experience.

Why Grizzly Bears Need Our HelpIt was estimated that there were 1000 grizzly bears in the province of Alberta, Canada, but the newest study shows that there are only 581 bears in the province. It is estimated that 90% of grizzly bear deaths are caused by humans. Government support and funding is needed to save these majestical creatures.  
Grizzly Bear Viewing in Lake Louise, is a great place to have the chance to observe grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada.

Help Save Grizzly Bears
Through the Sierra Club of Canada Action Grizzly Bear you can send an already produced letter to key government officials with just a few clicks and it takes less than 30 seconds. Please take a minute to do so by clicking on the Action Grizzly Bear link above and help save grizzly bears. You can also join the Save the Grizzly Bear cause on Facebook to show your support.

Thank you for taking action to help save grizzly bears!