There are plenty of things I didn’t know about the Hector’s dolphin. In fact, until recently, my only knowledge of them was the most troubling fact of all – that they’re among the rarest dolphins in the world. But seeing as how I’ve always been fascinated by these amazing creatures, I wanted to know more. And more importantly, I wanted to learn something less troubling about them. And what, if anything, we can do to help them.
Found only off the coast of New Zealand, the Hector’s dolphin was named for Sir James Hector (1834-1907), the curator of what is now the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. The most influential local scientist of his time, Hector was the first to examine this particular species of indigenous dolphin. Primarily grey, black and white with a distinctive stripe running across its belly, this cetacean (air breathing, water living mammal) is the smallest dolphin in New Zealand’s waters and is most recognizable by its lack of discernible beak and its round dorsal fin. (The fins of New Zealand’s other dolphin species are pointed and crescent shaped.)
There are only an estimated 7,400 in left in the entire world
Aside from their beauty and playfulness – if you’ve ever watched dolphins, you can sense how much fun they’re having playing in the surf and exploring the shallow water – what has always fascinated me is the built in sonar they use to track down their prey. Using echolocation (seeing with sound), they send out streams of high frequency noises that travel through the water, bounce quickly off moving objects and then back, easily identifying what sort of fish is out there, where it is and how quickly it’s traveling. Incredible.
I personally think its good to look the truth in the eye once in awhile. Re-setting my sense of direction. Grounding me in reality. This movie, Earthlings has always done that for me. It’s raw, beautiful, terrifying, sad, comprehensive, painful to watch, and always emotional.
It’s just a film, but its a film which makes me a witness of un-speakable crimes. Displaying before me the daily reality for billions of animals, which I am lucky enough (being human) not to have to experience for myself. It’s the raw truth staring at me, which is more than most of us can handle. We would rather look at the food on our plate as a product, a thing. We don’t wont to think of Veal as a baby calf tied to a crate. We just don’t. We rather pretend its just a product called veal, nothing more.
The average flesh monkie, like myself 13 years ago, doesn’t grow their own food, doesn’t shop at local farmers markets and could careless what a Chicken McNugget is really made of. Which brings me to my point. Watching a film like this is almost un-thinkable for most people. But here it is, living online, just one click away, just one click to see the truth. So, today I am posting the film on G Living, not to scare you or bash you, or even shame you. No, I am posting it here, just so you know, its out there and when your ready, when you think you can handle the reality of this world, the reality nature and the animals of this planet face and the reality of the part we all play in their suffering. You will know, you can reach out, click play and become a witness and then decide where you go from there.
Ever wonder what you could do to make a difference in the world? Hopefully we’ve all asked ourselves this question and have taken action in our own way. If your name is Paul Watson, you may have decided to dedicate your life to saving marine life by whatever means necessary –- including flying your own brand of the Jolly Roger at the head of your own “navy”, ramming whaling ships, and chasing illegal fishermen. But you might have also looked into the eye of a dying sperm whale during one of Greenpeace’s first anti-whaling expeditions and had a revelation peculiar to few terrestrial-bound “hominids,” coming to know that humans don’t have a monopoly on understanding and conscience.
So, who is Paul Watson? By his own immodest account, he’s the only true protector of marine life, policing marine sanctuaries across the globe with his rag-tag band of ships known as Neptune’s Navy, occasionally getting into a scuffle or two, and pulling miles of illegal fishing nets out of the water. A recent article in New Yorker magazine profiles the “Captain” of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and his resume reads as an impressive mix of 1960s anti-establishment hippie and full-scale environmental activist.
I had to post this Nova show. I love birds and had no idea, they are actually living dinosaurs. In The Four-Winged Dinosaur, NOVA investigates the most bizarre of these feathered dinosaurs, which has rekindled a fierce, decades-long debate over the origin of bird flight.
The origin of birds has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years, but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era. A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960s by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships. The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
If you’re one of those who thinks climate change is for the birds, you’re wrong. At least in the metaphoric sense. As for real birds, researchers from Auburn University have discovered a curious behavior pattern that might turn out to be the result of global warming.
As part of the North American Breeding Bird Survey (begun in 1966) that studied the ranges of common birds from Mexico to Canada, Alan Hitch and Paul Leberg observed the breeding patterns of eastern arboreal and semi-arboreal birds (the kind you find in backyards – 56 species in all). Some names with which you might be familiar are the Common Ground-dove, Bachman’s Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, Bewick’s Wren and the Golden-winged Warbler.
I once stood a few feet away from one of the last wild dingoes in Australia. I was visiting the World Heritage site, Frasier Island — or as the Aborigines named it, K’gari, meaning “paradise”. It is one of the world’s most notable eco-tourism sites and is the largest sand island featuring rainforests, crystal clear lakes, dessert dunes, and a 75-mile beach. It’s famous for its array of rare plants and animals, and is home to some of the last remaining purebred dingoes.
In 2004, these dingoes were listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Today, conservationists in Australia are pushing for a national campaign to give the dingo formal protection as a threatened species. A campaign that could not have come soon enough, as the already few populations of purebred dingoes continue to dwindle closer to extinction.
The dingo (aka “Australia’s wild dog”) is the largest native carnivorous mammal in the country and plays a vital role in maintaining the balance within its vast ecosystems. Dingoes are agile hunters whose game includes kangaroos, sheep, and deer, and smaller animals like rabbits, rodents, birds, and lizards, as well eating fruits and plants. Their hunting is vital in keeping populations of their prey in check. Dingoes communicate with howls and hunt cooperatively like wolves, but they prefer to travel independently or in small family groups or pairs rather than large packs. Dingoes are distinguished from dogs and wolves by white markings on their chest, feet, and tail, and their color ranges from sandy yellow, to red, and even black.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Galápagos Islands are at serious risk. And they’re not talking about climate change or species extinction. It seems the planet’s first World Heritage site (and a major inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution) is being threatened by social and economic pollution.
A province of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are known for their endemic species, like humpback whales, sea turtles, albatrosses and herons. While long considered a must-see on the list of travel destinations, it’s believed excessive tourism has led to the islands’ recently added spot to Unesco’s “in danger” list.
If global temperatures rise as predicted, the planet’s sobering message to tropical insects is: adapt or die. Scientists warn that a full blown wipeout is in the cards, altering the face the entomology forever as we bid adieu to a host of beetles, butterflies, aphids and others insects.
Researchers at the University of Washington explained that while temperature rises could deplete insect populations in the tropics, it could also result in an insect boom at higher latitudes as tropical insects are driven out of their normal habitats. The effects on plants pollination and the food supply are unknown. Says the BBC: “In the research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. scientists studied how temperature changes between 1950 and 2000 had affected 38 species of insects”.
More sad nature news and documentary on yet another species in trouble of going extinct. This time its the top predator of the sea, the Killer Whale. The Pacific coast of North America is the largest laboratory on earth where on-going studies into the state of the Killer Whale reveal startling new information about the oceans we inhabit. Killer in Peril is a sobering report on our planet’s heath told from the unique perspective of an extraordinary animal.
Puget Sound’s southern resident killer whales are going extinct faster than the Seahawks playoff hopes, but the government agency charged with protecting them has refused to do anything about it. So today conservationists are going to court to force the agency to comply with the law and protect the whales from extinction.Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
What’s worse than a roaming monkey? How about a monkey that’s on-the-go because he’s been pushed out of his habitat by climate change?
Talking about White Bearded De Brazza’s monkeys, who got their name from French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. Normally found in the wetlands of Africa, these guys have recently been spotted far from their natural homes, hiding in the forests of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley.
According to Richard Leakey, son of famed paleontologist Louis Leakey, this extremely rare migration is just one of several pieces of evidence that Africa’s climate is rapidly changing. Leakey’s peeved at African authorities, claiming they’re ignoring the crisis. He continues to urge them to take action and address the issues at hand.
Why is it that us humans seem to always worry about what we have lost and not about the things we have? Follow me on this, today we still have oceans teaming with extraordinary life forms. Which we know very little about of course and yet we allow factory fishing fleets and polluters to destroy at will. We allow this to happen because, we actually don’t care about the oceans, right now. We don’t care, because we still have them. But once they are gone, watch out, our mourning phase will kick in we will do everything in our power to bring it back. Of course we will fail and realize it would have been cheaper to just protect it in the first place, but we always realize that a little to late. Doesn’t that sound exactly like us? You have to wonder why the hell we are this thick in the head.
This is why I love documentary series, which enable us to have that roller coaster experience in just an hour. This way, we can mourn before we wipe out the oceans, skies, forest and the animals.
This Natural Kingdom documentary focuses on the exotic tundra of eastern Siberia and a Canadian scientific team exploring the idea of bringing back the long extinct Wooly Mammoth. Featuring original footage of Muskox in the Siberian Badlands, The Soviet Muskox is the epic journey of the returning Muskox and the secret world into which they were placed and includes the dramatic new discovery of the spectacular Nickolai Mammoth.
For explorer Bernard Buigues and paleontologist Dick Mol, the reintroduction of the muskox suggests that mammoths, if they were cloned, could also walk again on the tundra. But for the indigenous reindeer herders of the Taimyr, the return of the muskox holds a different meaning. Are the muskox an ill omen or helping to reveal the land?
Pack your bags, Mei Sheng, you’re going to China. Mei Sheng, a four-year-old panda, born and raised at the San Diego Zoo, is moving to China to take part in China’s breeding program. Mei Sheng will be staying at the Wolong Nature Reserve for Giant Pandas. A loan agreement exists between the U.S. and China which states that all foreign born pandas return to China when they mature.
For Ron Swaisgood of the S.D.Z.’s Giant Panda Conservation, the departure of Mei Sheng was bittersweet. Swaisgood stated, “Mei Sheng will be missed…but his role in the conservation of his species involves a move to China.”
Swaisgood also elaborated to the San Diego Union-Tribune on how crucially endangered the pandas are: “As a critically endangered species, it is vital that Mei Sheng is in a place where he will be around other pandas, and the Wolong Reservation is a great home.”
Pandas are critically endangered. Only 1,600 are thought to survive in the wild and a mere 180 live in captivity. Mei Sheng is the second of two pandas born in the U.S. to be brought back to China. The first was Hua Mei, also born at the San Diego Zoo, who has since then given birth to three panda cubs at the Wolong Reservation.