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Three Pygmy Marmosets Stolen From A Wildlife Park In Australia

pygmy marmoset

At the end of last month, three pygmy marmosets were stolen from an Australian wildlife park. The species is incredibly rare so losing them was very bad news. The good news was whilst the marmosets were reported missing from their enclosure at Symbio Wildlife Park in South Sydney, the female marmoset Sophia and a baby were found alive the very next day. However, Gomez a male marmoset continues to remain missing.

Rare species

The pygmy marmoset is the smallest species of monkey in the world and people are prepared to spend as much as A$5,000 on the black market to acquire them. According to police, two men were pulled over in a car Southwest of Sydney and they were surprised to find the four-week old baby marmoset in the vehicle.  Police charged the two men aged 23 and 26 but are still on the hunt for the people that were actually responsible for the thefts. The adult female marmoset was found roughly 20 kilometres away in Campbletown.

The baby could have died

Zoo keepers were worried that the baby marmoset which has still not been named would die within 48 hours because it would not have been able to feed from its mother. Fortunately, the little critter was found just in time. John Radnidge who owns the wildlife park said the monkey was resting. According to Mr Radnidge, he was extremely frightened but his condition was reasonable.

“You cannot keep a critically endangered species without being detected. If you have the world’s smallest monkey in your home people are going to wonder where you got it.” Mr. Radnidge said.

Asking the public for help

It is believed that because it is the Chinese Year of the Monkey, demand for the species has spiked. Marmosets are a species that are native to South America. Police have reached out to the general public to help them find the third monkey.

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Panda Status As Endangered Has Been Reclassified

Bei Bei The Panda Unveiled To The General Public

A top global conservation groups has taken the giant panda off its endangered species list. This is a great result and is the product of decades of conservation efforts. Despite this fact, the Government of China refused to accept the decision claiming the situation of the country’s most beloved symbol is no less serious.

Wild panda populations growing

Last week the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) issued a report which reclassified the giant panda as a “vulnerable” rather than “endangered” species. The decision reflects the fact that the species population in the wild has been growing in Southern China. According to the IUCN, wild panda numbers rose from 1,596 in 2004 to 1,864 in 2014. The rise is the result of the work Chinese conservation agencies have been putting in to enforcing bans on poaching and expanding forest reserves.

Climate change is a spoiler

Despite the good news the report also warned that whilst better forest protection had increased the population of wild pandas, climate change is going to eliminate as much as 35 per cent of the species natural bamboo habitat. In a statement China’s State Forestry Administration said it did not agree with the reclassification because the species natural habitat has been fragmented by both human and natural causes. This means that pandas live in small, isolated groups with as few as 10 bears that find it difficult to reproduce and still face the risk of extinction.

“If we downgrade their conservation status, or neglect or relax our conservation work, the populations and habitats of giant pandas could still suffer irreversible loss and our achievements would be quickly lost,” the forestry administration said. “Therefore, we’re not being alarmist by continuing to emphasise the panda species’ endangered status.”

Conservation groups thrilled

Despite the Chinese Government’s pessimism, animal groups hailed the recovery of the black-and-white bear that has long been a symbol of the global movement for conservation as well as China itself. The species population reached an approximate low of just under 1,000 during the 1980’s due to poaching and deforestation. Beijing then decided throw its entire weight behind efforts to preserve the panda. The animal was sent to a number of zoos around the world. WWF whose logo has been a panda since 1961 has revelled in the reclassification and says it proves that aggressive investment does produce dividends.

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Anti-Poaching Team Save Drowning Elephant

African Elephants Could Become Extinct Within Decades

A couple of members of ant-poaching team were patrolling Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park early in the morning when they chanced upon a truly awful sight according to National Geographic. Tom Lautenbach one of the members of the patrol said to their surprise they noticed four very large grey legs sticking out of the man-made water trough, which was established to provide clean drinking water. Mr Lautenbach adds that they then realised the legs belonged to an elephant.

Assumed elephant was dead

Mr Lautenbach and his colleague Gift Kgadima both of whom work as drone pilots from the anti-poaching team known as Air Shepard first assumed the elephant had been killed by poachers who have been known to drop kilos of cyanide into popular watering holes frequented by elephants. However, the sad sight became one of optimism when the upside-down elephant began to thrashing about. The team realised the elephant was not dead but it was at risk of drowning.

 “One of the guys held its trunk out [of the water so it could breathe] and [another] went for help, If we had not seen it, [it] would have been dead 20 minutes later” One of the rescuers said in an Air Shepherd post on Facebook.

Call for help

The drone pilots first attempted to save the elephant by tying a rope around its foot and physically drag it out of the water using their vehicle. However, that strategy did not work and they called for help from the National Park. Another rope was brought to the scene along with a team of rescuers who were then able to pull the animal to its feet.

Exhausted elephant

Mr Lautenbach says the elephant was of course exhausted and was unable to stand initially, so the team waited for the elephant to recover and then decided to push the animal towards the shallower end of the trough where he would be able to easily able to walk away, which he ended up doing. Air Shepard crews have been flying drones in South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park to combat poachers for about four years. The team makes use of silent drones which fly at night making them incredibly hard to detect. Word has spread that drones are being used in a particular area amongst criminals often driving them away.

Sitting targets

During the dry season, which is taking place now, animals tend to congregate around watering holes making them easy targets for poachers. As a result, Air Shepard patrols those areas. In particular, the watering holes which are near villages or the watering holes that are the easiest for poachers to get to. Fortunately, this time around the young elephant wasn’t killed by poachers and the story has a happy ending.

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India’s Most Loved Lion Dies

Lions On The Lose In Nairobi

According to a report by the BBC, one of India’s most loved lions as well as its oldest passed away in the wild from old age. The lion named Ram was found dead at the Gir sanctuary in Western Giujarat. Ram’s age was estimated to be approximately 15 years old. He was very popular with forest officials who described Ram as being both “beautiful and flamboyant”. They added that Ram was without a doubt their most photographed lion.

Died from natural causes

The Gir sanctuary serves as home to over 500 lions and is the only place in the world where the Asiatic lion can be found. Ram along with his brother Shyam were extremely famous and over the last few years, ruled over the Gir forest. Forest officials conducted a post mortem on Ram to determine the exact cause of death and found that he died from natural causes. Ram was cremated in the presence of government and forest officials according to Mr Ram Ratan Nala who is the deputy conservator of forests.

“Ram along with his brother Shyam ruled over Gir for many years and the two fathered many cubs over the years. At one point, the duo had about two dozen cubs in their pride,” Sandeep Kumar, who was Mr Nala’s predecessor, said.

Named after a Bollywood film

The two brothers were named Ram and Shyam which are very popular names in India but also served as the name of a Bollywood film that was big hit. In contrast to tigers who are not sociable animals and refuse to share their territory with other males, lions tend to form alliances with another male member of their family. Together the two males will act as protector of their territory said Mr Kumar.

Territory likely to be taken over by younger males

Mr Kumar adds that every kingdom must eventually come to an end. In this case Ram has died and Syam is not getting any younger and it will be extremely difficult to protect his territory now that Ram is gone. It is extremely likely that the territory will be taken over soon by younger male lions.

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WWF Report Claims We Are losing Wildlife At An Alarming Rate

Global Warming Is Leaving Polar Bears Starving

A new report by WWF claims that as many as two thirds of the worlds wildlife could be extinct by the end of the decade if action is not taken immediately. Since 1970, 58 per cent of the numbers of fish, mammals, birds and reptiles have already disappeared says the latest bi-annual Living Planet Index commissioned by WWF. If that figure is accurate, it means that wildlife across the planet is disappearing at the rate of 2 per cent a year.

WWF conservation scientist Martin Taylor says the cause is definitely human impact and it is safe to say we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.  The main reason is because humans are using so much of the planet’s resources that we are destroying animal habitat. The report reiterates much of what Mr Taylor says and blames rapid extinction on loss of habitat, over exploitation of resources, pollution and climate change.

 A threat to our future

One of the species mentioned in the report are elephants whose population has declined by as much as 20 per cent in just ten years. Other species that have seen big declines include sharks and rays. Mr Taylor says the decline of species of animals and fish around the world do not just represent a threat to biodiversity, but to humans as well.  He adds that governments need to take action to halt the decline in biodiversity.

In order to prevent a sixth mass extinction, Mr Taylor says that government need to act immediately to reduce emissions and stop habitat destruction. There is a lot of things people can do even if they are not wealthy. This includes using renewable energy, purchasing certified sustainable products and most importantly talking to your member of parliament and asking for stronger environmental laws.

Report findings criticised

Many conservationists agree with the overall findings, but argue the results of the report could be misleading. Stuart Pimm of Drake University says it is fairly silly to claim there has been a 58 per cent decline in wildlife populations. This is because it combines what is going on in the ocean with what is happening on land. It mixes the study of bird populations in Europe with mammal populations in Africa and the report has very few data points about what is happening in South America. Mr Taylor responds that WWF has been extremely transparent about the data’s variability.

 “There’s always going to be criticisms, we know that there’s a lot of variability in the data and that’s all expressed quite openly in the report itself … we know that this not an easy task to try and aggregate numbers across an entire planet,” he said.

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Elephant Poaching Starting To Decline In Some Parts Of Africa

Conservationist Killed Whilst Chasing Elephant Poachers

The illegal poaching of African elephants which has grown rapidly since 2006 seems to be slowing down and may even be decreasing. According to two new reports, the number of elephants being slaughtered for their ivory has declined. The picture in Central and West Africa however is mixed and poaching shows no sign of moderating. Some experts reckon the reason behind the decline in poaching is there are fewer elephants alive.

New data

There is new data on the sources of elephant poaching from the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora which is more commonly referred to as Cites. The organisation runs two elephant monitoring records that are considered to be reliable indicators of what is actually happening on the ground. A couple of months ago the programme called Mike (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) found that the number of deaths which started to spike in 2006 actually peaked in 2011. Despite the fact that the trend is moving in the right direction, well over 14,000 elephants were poached between 2003 and 2015.

Levels are different across the continent

Southern Africa is the part of the continent where poaching levels have remained at the lowest. It continues to be the only sub-region were illegal killings have not exceeded natural deaths since monitoring first started. Poaching however still remains high. East Africa has also seen a fall in poaching for the fourth consecutive year. Central and West Africa are where the most significant levels of poaching take place, with illegal killings far exceeding natural deaths.

Elephant populations have fallen

Cites secretary general says there are some encouraging signs including a decline in the overall upward trend of poaching in some parts of the African continent. He adds that this shows what is possible when all stakeholders make a sustained effort backed by strong political support. Others claim that we should not take much comfort in the relative stability of the new figures. Experts say that it needs to be understood that whilst poaching levels may be down, in some cases this is because populations have been severely depleted. For example, In Central Africa, the elephant population has fallen by 70 per cent so whilst you may see poaching stabilise or decrease, this is because elephants are harder to find.

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Sick Cheetah Cub Becomes Best Friends With Puppy

Sick Cheetah Cub Becomes Best Friends With Puppy

Everyone needs a friend to lean on when they are having problems. That includes a cheetah cub who received comfort from his BFF which just happens to be a puppy. The 10-week old cheetah cub named Emmet was suffering from pneumonia and needed a friend to help with his recovery. Emmet was born at a conservation centre in Ohio, but not long after his birth contracted pneumonia.

Developing a friendship

For the first few weeks of his life he was hand reared and found it difficult to adjust after he was finally moved to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Fortunately, the baby cheetah was able to develop a friendship with a 7-week old puppy named Cullen. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said Cullen was able to help Emmet become more confident and calm. Cheetahs tend to be quite a skittish species so that was very important.


The zoo says the puppy and the cheetah cub have become the best of friends and are now inseparable and are even going to travel together. Emmet will be acting as the ambassador for wild cheetahs and Cullen will be travelling with him as his companion dog. These two critters are just two of the many animals that live at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and are named after characters from Twilight series of books and movies.

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Lions Escape From German Zoo Enclosure

IUCN Warns That Thousands Of Species At Risk Of Extinction

Two lions recently escaped from an enclosure in Leipzig Zoo in Germany. Unfortunately, one of the two lions was shot dead because attempts to use a tranquiliser failed. The two male lions called Motshgetsi and Majo managed to clear their enclosure and leapt over a moat early in the morning before the zoo opened. The two lions were discovered in a terrified state in the undergrowth. Whilst one of the lions was able to be shepherded back to its enclosure, the other lion continued to remain in an agitated state forcing officials to shoot the animal.

“This is a very, very sad ending, which I really would not have wished for,” zoo director Joerg Junhold told reporters. “But in this case personal safety had to take priority.”

Lions were surrounded

The lions are called Etosha lions and get their name from the part of Namibia where they are from. Unfortunately, the two animals arrived at the zoo just last month from Basel in Switzerland. Once the lions were discovered a short distance from their enclosure, they were surrounded by 40 zoo keepers and their vehicles as the handlers attempted to usher them back.

One was returned safely

They were successful in getting one of the lions back into its enclosure, however three hours later the second lion became increasingly agitated as they sought to tranquilise it. According to local media Majo made it back alive, but Motshgetsi had been killed. The zoo has been running the enclosure for 15 years the director said and until this incident, there had never been a problem, however in light of what has happened, security will be reviewed.

Zoo stayed closed

At the entrance to the zoo, crowds started to build up, however the zoo remained largely closed because of the escape. The last time Leipzig zoo had ever experienced a lion escape was in 1913 which resulted in a widespread hunt with all six lions being killed.

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New Home Could Be Found For Sad Polar Bear

New Home Could Be Found For Sad Polar Bear

Animals Asia, which is a welfare charity dedicated to animals says the Yorkshire Wildlife Park has stepped up and offered a suitable new home for the lonely polar bear called Pizza who is holed up in a Chinese shopping mall. Earlier in the year Pizza made global headlines after the Animals Asia kicked up a stink with a petition it started to shut down the shopping centre’s “ocean theme park” which is located in Guangzhou China.

Bear slumped on the floor

Videos of the poor animal show the bear all teary-eyed and slumped on the floor of his enclosure. Neither the shopping centre nor the Yorkshire Wildlife Park have made any comment. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park has a purpose built habitat for polar bears which at present houses four of the animals. The park runs what is known as Project Polar which is described as an innovative habitat for the species. It also runs a research and conservation programme.

“We would be delighted to see Pizza end up at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. There can be a happy ending – Pizza would not only enjoy incredible facilities, he would also be part of a community of bears.” said Animals Asia’s welfare director Dave Neale.

Nothing natural

Animals Asia said there would be no payment made for the bear because the organisation is worried that any money provided would be used to purchase more animals. The owners of the indoor zoo in China claim they have made some improvements to living conditions in the park, however Animals Asia still maintains that conditions remain cramped and there is nothing natural about the park. The park also houses beluga whales, arctic foxes, a wolf and some walrus calves.

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Rare Dolphin Spotted Using Its Mouth To Breathe

Rare Dolphin Spotted Using Its Mouth To Breathe

Amongst the cutest mammals in the world is without a doubt is the dolphin. This species is famous for both its friendly nature towards humans as well as its calming look. Recent reports have indicated that one particular dolphin does not use its blowhole but instead use its mouths to inhale. The blowhole is located on the top of the dolphin’s head and is considered to be the nose of the species. It is used to help exhale and until recently was also thought to be used to inhale when they surface.

Conventional wisdom challenged

However conventional wisdom is being challenged by researchers from the University of Otago who are suggesting that the species uses its mouth to breath rather than its blowhole. Recently a dolphin was seen off the coast of New Zealand that was clearly using its mouth to breathe. The scientists wrote that the dolphin was continuously surfacing from the ocean with its head surfacing much higher than the water level. The dolphin’s blowhole which should have been open actually remained close and it could clearly be heard that the dolphin was using its opened mouth to breathe.

We still don’t understand why

It is very unusual for dolphins to use their mouth’s to inhale oxygen, but this particular Hector dolphin has been seen many times using its mouth to breathe and is rarely seen using its nose whilst it is surfing in the ocean. The researchers have been unable to determine why the dolphin breathes the way it does. One possibility could be the dolphin has damaged muscles or there is an object obstructing its blowhole. So far no real explanation has been found.

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