Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Tag

ZSL London Zoo Announce Birth of New Tiger Cub   58 comments

*Updated 22.10.13

Welcome to the World! “Hear Me Roar!!”

ZSL London Zoo has announced the birth of their first tiger cub in 17 years!

Five year old Sumatran tiger Melati, gave birth to a single cub at 9:22pm on Sunday 22 September.

sumatran_2689444b_Credit: telegraph.co.uk

“We are simply over-the-moon about the birth of the tiger cub; it’s a momentous occasion for everyone at ZSL London Zoo and a real cause for celebration.” ~ Zookeeper Paul Kybett

“This tiger’s one of the most important births in Europe this year.” ~ Malcolm Fitzpatrick, curator of mammals at the zoo.

jae-and-jae-and-melati-sumatran-tigers-mark-chamberlain-13984

“They came from opposite ends of the globe. Melati joined us from Perth at the end of September last year. Jae Jae came from Ohio. When they first saw each other they made the lovely sneezy purr kind of noise that they make. When we introduced them for the first time he trotted up to her and gave her a big head rub so we knew we were going to be getting something quite special.” ~ Senior zookeeper Paul Kybett

The new tiger cub, sex so far unknown, is a direct descendant of the Zoo’s last cub, Hari, who is the father of Melati.


Jae Jae and Melati – Tigers Territory

ZSL London Zoo

Jae Jae (Copyright Europa's Icewolf 2013)

Tigers Territory:

“Jae Jae and Melati’s new habitat, offers lots of space for climbing tall trees, swimming, snoozing, playing and practising hunting. Male tigers can eat up to 6kg of meat a day! A Sumatran tiger has spots on the back of its ears which it uses for signalling. They like to see a long way so there are warm sheltered areas with a little height to let them look across Regent’s Park. Plants in the territory look identical to those in their natural habitat but are actually look-alikes designed to survive our less than tropical climate!

Jae Jae (Copyright Europa's Icewolf 2013)

Tiger breeding:

Breeding is managed globally and Sumatran Tigers (Indonesia) Jae Jae and Melati have been chosen because their genes are under-represented worldwide. The hope is that they’ll have cubs and reinvigorate the gene pool.

Melita (Copyright Europa's Icewolf 2013)

Conservation:

In the wild they are threatened by poaching and habitat loss due to agribusiness operations. ZSL conservationists have set up a wildlife crime unit in Indonesia to tackle the trade in tiger parts and are working with the palm oil industry to help reduce its impact on wildlife and biodiversity.

 

Jae Jae (Copyright Europa's Icewolf 2013)

Palm Oil:

Huge areas of forest are being cut down to make way for oil palm crops, destroying the territories of tigers in the wild. Palm oil goes into half of all groceries, from chocolate to shampoo. We can help by shopping sustainably.” ~ ZSL London Zoo


*London Zoo’s New-born Sumatran Tiger Cub Update*

 (Report from BBC News – www.bbc.co.uk)

A sad end to a joyful story… London zoo recently confirmed that the first tiger cub to be born there in 17 years has drowned.

London Zoo Tiger Cub_Credit: bubblews.com

‘On Saturday, zookeepers could not see the cub on the den cameras and its body was later discovered on the edge of a pool inside the enclosure.’

“We’re heartbroken by what’s happened. To go from the excitement of the birth to this in three weeks is just devastating. Melati can be a very nervous animal and we didn’t want to risk putting her on edge by changing her surroundings or routines, in case she abandoned or attacked the cub. At the time we thought it was in the best interests of Melati and her cub to allow her continued access to the full enclosure as normal.

“We would do anything to turn back the clock and nobody could be more upset about what’s happened than the keepers who work with the tigers every day. They are devoted to those tigers and are distraught.” ~ London Zoo’s Malcolm Fitzpatrick

Sources:

 www.bbc.co.uk

www.zsl.org

www.telegraph.co.uk

ZSL London Zoo

 

ZSL London Zoo – Working To Achieve Worldwide Conservation   15 comments

 

ZSL London Zoo – Centre For Conservation

 

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(Photos: Copyright Europa’s Icewolf 2013)

ZSL London Zoo, located on the edge of Regent’s Park, is designed as a sanctuary for animals, a centre for conservation. ZSL – The Zoological Society of London, a specialist charity backing up London Zoo ensures that genetically healthy populations are bred and cared for by specialists as back up for endangered species in the wild. They research diseases that threaten wildlife and rebuild habitats, monitor populations and are also working with worldwide local communities. Consequently the zoo has world-leading enclosures, and the discoveries made at the zoo impact on international community work.

Enthuse the conservationists of tomorrow!

Find out more about helping to achieve worldwide conservation aims at: www.zsl.org

Chernobyl’s Radioactive Wolves   38 comments

 

Chernobyl’s Radioactive Exclusion Zone Wolves

Hunting in the Land of Wolves

Chernobyl: 26 Year Anniversary…1986 – 2012

Radio active Wolves

“When a radioactive nuclear wasteland is abandoned by humans, wildlife takes over. Wolves now rule this once prosperous farmland claiming buildings as their own personal mansions. With humans out of the picture, there is a new boss in town.”

ChernoFireWolf_NewBoss_InTown

“Chernobyl…an old river port in the middle of nowhere surrounded by marshes rivalling the everglades…site of a soviet nuclear power plant and history’s  worst manmade nuclear disaster back in 1986. The Chernobyl accident displaced 1/2 million people leaving behind the world’s biggest ghost town and an exclusion zone the size of Rhode Island. Radio active land void of people for 25 years but now a raw wilderness – ruled by wolves.

A team of scientists enters the forbidden  zone to explore the fate of radio active wolves. Why wolves? The wolf is at the end of the food  chain. It’s the peak of the pyramid. The state of a wolf pack says a lot about the state of the entire ecosystem. Radio collaring wolves will help answer essential questions  about the zone’s top predator and thus the rest of it’s wildlife.

Face masks matter now the wolfs fur is almost certainly radio active. Their time in the zone is up now. Boyde can stay. No one will disturb him here….

On the electronic  map the researchers find the wolves GPS  position this morning…the deserted village of Kososelya  If Boyde and Lotta are part of a pack this could be their headquarters.  The tracks in the snow confirm this is the base of a big pack….”

Radioactive_Chernobyl_Wolves(Image Credit:Public Domain)

Wolves in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone which covers a 1,100 square miles reaching into  Ukraine and Belarus, and due to the dangerous levels of radiation is still, 26 years later considered unsafe for human habitation. Scientists with special permits are allowed to visit the zone for short periods to study the effects of radiation on the ecosystem. 

They also study it’s effects on the wildlife’s health although any handling of the animals, including wolves which they also tag, and their pups must be done with gloves on due to the dangerously high levels of radiation in their bones.

GlovedScientists_Radioactive_WolfResearch_ChernobylExclusionZone   

Health wise the wildlife is in pretty good shape, all things considered though birth abnormalities are twice the norm, but even these figures remain single ones. Where humans once lived wolves now roam, claiming their territory amongst the abandoned and evacuated buildings.

ChernoDrkWolf_WolvesRoam_ClaimingTheirTerritory...

ChernoDrkWolf_AmongstTheAbandoned_AndEvacuated_Buildings

Hunting In The Land Of Wolves….

Chernobyl: 26 Year Anniversary…1986 – 2012

Who’s Afraid Of Da Big Bad Wolf?!!   67 comments

WHOSEAFRAIDA!

WhoseafraidaAt the tender age of two a young wolf set out in the pawprints of his equally eager predecessors, to follow the path of true love…searching for new territory and a mate of his own. He left his home pack and his father, the Alpha Male of the pack on September 10th, and began a death defying journey across 1,200km (730miles) of mountains to deserts to US highways. An epic journey that found him zig-zagging from Oregon to the California border pursued and shot at by government hunters and risking death from poachers and ranchers in the name of love

Following his departure a death warrant on this young wolf’s home pack, was issued by State officials for cattle killing…a warrant specifying in particular OR-4 the Alpha Male and father of the intrepid lone wolf known as OR-7, and one younger wolf, his mother and one wolf pup. Two siblings of OR-7 also left the pack the same time as their brother.

A stay of kill order was achieved by three Conservation groups determinedly sued Fish and Wildlife for authorising two wolf kills including the Alpha Male, OR-4, whose GPS collar showed he had been guilty of preying on livestcock.. Their legal challenge is to be settled in the Oregon Court of Appeals. But meanwhile Oregon Wild, Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands were ordered to put up a bond of $5,000 to compensate owners of any wolf-kill confirmed livestock.

Lodge owner Liz Parrish was startled by the sudden appearance of the adventuring wolf when he showed up on the edge of Upper Klamath Lake in south Oregon. “I was stunned – it was such a huge animal. We had a stare-down then he just evaporated into the trees.”

Neighboring cattle rancher Nathan Jackson had a slightly different view on the wolf’s appearance. “We worked hard to exterminate wolves 50 years ago or so. They don’t seem so beautiful and majestic when they are ripping apart calves and colts.”

Innaha Pack Wolf, NE OregonOR-7’s progress has been tracked via a GPS collar and blue ear tags that state biologist s fitted him with in February after tranquillising him from a helicopter in a snow NE canyon. His lonely wanderings and lovelorn search for a mate have led him through many counties where he has become famous with both the media and the public, padding his way into the local news in each county his search for love has led him

“People have taken a shine to him” ~ Russ Morgan, Oregon wolf co-ordinator. Unfortunately this is not true of the government hunters. State protection of wolves may be in place in Oregon, but towards the state’s eastern side there is no longer any federal protection for them.

Silent Tears Of A Wolf

Having won the hearts of the people however, the love hunting young wolf OR-7 has become the subject of a competition by those who have embraced his wolfie ways to give him a more appealing and friendly name. this wily tactic is designed to win hearts and minds and turn him into a wolf of such high-standing fame that no-one would dare to shoot him. One entry came from as far away as Finland. Chosen by one of the young wolf’s supporters, a little girl from his home territory of Wallowa County, the catchy title of Whoseafraida (of the big bad wolf) is currently hot favourite and trending in his home territory.

WALK WITH ME IN THE LAND OF WOLVES   32 comments

Belorussian wolf within the Exclusion Zone

CHERNOBYL’S LOST CITY – COME WALK WITH ME IN THE LAND OF WOLVES

(Updated 12 June 2012)

In light of the the current crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor…Choose your future carefully! It is you who has to live in it!

 

  

  

“We walked into a wasteland, grey and desolate. The buildings had deteriorated, windows had been smashed. Trees and weeds had grown over everything. It was a ghost town.” (Pripyat)

 

Abandoned town of Pripyat Pripyat Fairground-most contaminated part of town(Image Credit: TimmSuess.com) A silent abandoned sentinal-Pripyat town-Chernobyl(Image Credit:TimmSuess.com)

(Tim Mousseau – Professor of Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina – describing his first visit to Chernobyl)

Along with Anders Møller, an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, Tim Mousseau has conducted on-site research into the effects of radiation on humans and animals, with highly controversial results.

The basic facts of the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident in the Ukraine — the worst in history are well known. At 1.23am on April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Soviet nuclear power plant exploded, after an electrical test went horribly wrong. The radioactive material released was many times greater than the fallout over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, polluting about 80,000 square miles of land across Europe and spreading radioactive rain as far as north-west Ireland. In the wake of the accident, more than 300,000 people were evacuated and an 800 square mile exclusion zone created around the reactor – “the zone of alienation.”


LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF THE RUINED REACTOR – THE LAND OF WOLVES

Pripyat was built as a town for the Chernobyl power station workers. It was viewed a model town. The apartment blocks were alive with fir trees and rose beds. It was a town of young people and growing families.

25 years on the abandoned town of Pripyat has become a wildlife haven. The Land of Wolves.There have been sightings of wolves, bears, wild boar and moose wandering the deserted streets, and swifts swooping round abandoned office blocks. Likewise sightings of deer and wolves have been reported at Kiev Oblast, situated near the border with Belarus, in the zone of alienation in Northern Ukraine. The only other resident is a solitary guard. Prior to the accident the population had been around 50,000.

 

The site of the Red Forest remains one of the most contaminated radio-active sites in the world today. 

 Exclusion zone sign-outside zoneWalking in the land of WolvesKiev Oblast_Geiger Counter_Dosimeter

Although radiation levels have dropped significantly since 1986, there are still "hot" regions. the most contaminated areas measuring 300 microSieverts per hour on the Geiger counter, the equivalent of 1,200 times normal radiation levels.


VEGETATION

Therefore it is surprising the vegetation in the zone of alienation has flourished. Like a strange nature reserve, flora and fauna, in the absence of human interference have reclaimed the abandoned land. Scientists have found that since 1990, growth flourished and the ecological effect has been positive. Eighty percent of the zone is now forested; before the disaster, it was just 20 percent. A total of 240                Russian Wolves - Chernobyl and PripyatForest City-Pripyat 25 years onChernobyl-Pripyat town-25 years on-forested species of animals have been counted within the exclusion zone, most of which were present only in low numbers before the disaster. Giant catfish swim in radioactive water that surround the six nuclear reactors. Since nobody is going to go fishing, they’ll continue to breed and grow.That one should never eat the mushrooms or berries found there and that some of the clover might have six leaves is however another story.

So, could it be that if wildlife can return so soon, nuclear radiation and power might not be as dangerous as we first thought?

AN ECOSYSTEM IN CRISIS

The first discovery that Professors Møller and Mousseau made was that birds in the fallout zone were suffering increased levels of genetic mutations. The examination of 20,000 Barn Swallows found crippled toes, deformed beaks, malformed tails, irregularly shaped eyes and tumours. Some birds had red plumage where it should have been blue, or blue where it should have been red.

Because of contaminated food supplies, bird species have declined by more than 50 per cent in high-radiation areas. Only a fraction of the Swallows and Great Tits are reproducing, and of those that do lay eggs, only five per cent hatch. Less than a third of birds survive to adulthood. Professors Mousseau and Møller could confirm that these abnormalities were genetic by examining the Swallows’ sperm.

They discovered a connection between antioxidants, radiation and plumage colour: showing birds with the brightest plumage are more likely to die.

Antioxidants in both humans and birds, help counteract the effects of radiation Brightly plumaged birds migrating long distances eg Swallows, produce a lot of free radicals as a by-product of their very high metabolic rate and , resulting in tissue damage ~ Professor Mousseau.

Supplies of antioxidants in their blood and liver offset this.  Large amounts of antioxidants are directed to the female’s eggs, causing the bright yellow yolk.

If their destination is in highly contaminated areas, they find it impossible to replenish energy reserves preventing Swallows from maintaining their bright plumage or re-directing enough antioxidants into their eggs, so few chicks hatch.

It continues down through the food chain. In the areas of highest contamination, fewer butterflies, bumblebees, grasshoppers, dragonflies and spiders are found. "The fact that insects, including pollinators, are sensitive to elevated contaminants has a significant impact on the rest of the ecosystem," ~ Professor Mousseau. There is also another tragedy here. Professor Mousseau has started working with the Hospital for Radiation Biology, in Kiev, on a long-term study of humans who live in the area: more than 11,000 adults and 2,000 children in the Narodichesky region, 50 miles from Chernobyl.What will be the consequences for the children of these children????

The incidence among locals of cancer, birth defects and reduced lifespan is alarmingly high.


Update: 10th June 2012

Re: In discussing the conflicting research findings on whether wildlife really is recovering in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, one deadly serious point the optimists who think this land is going to recover from the worst industrial accident in history should take into consideration is:

“While iodine-131 decayed long ago and the strontium and cesium are slowly becoming less potentially lethal, the hot particles of plutonium-241 scattered across the landscape are actually decaying into an even more toxic isotope, americium-241. A more powerful emitter of alpha radiation than plutonium, americium is also more soluble and can easily find its way into the food chain. Americium-241, in turn, decays into neptunium-237, another energetic alpha emitter that has a half-life of more than 2 million years. As of yet, the long-term effect of americium-241 on animals remains largely unknown.” ~ Wired Magazine

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You have walked with me through the Land of Wolves…There will without doubt be many and varied opinions on the use of nuclear energy as a "safe, clean, low-carbon" energy source. But the hard cold fact that remains, seems to be that we cannot live WITH it yet neither can we live WITHOUT IT.

I for one just hope that we too will not be walking in "The Land of Wolves."