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Posted by Chris Eastland

Memphis Zoo_Baby giraffe and mom

The Memphis Zoo happily announced the arrival of a male Reticulated Giraffe calf on July 12. Giraffe mom, Wendy, chose to remain outside on-exhibit during her labor. Her new calf, Wakati, was born in the open area of the Zoo’s giraffe lot.

Wakati arrived after 15 months of gestation and is Memphis Zoo’s second giraffe birth in three months. His parents are first-time mom, Wendy, and experienced father, Niklas (who is also dad to Bogey, born April 3 of this year). Wendy was also born at Memphis Zoo in 2010 to mother, Marilyn, who remains part of the Zoo herd. Eight-year-old Niklas arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2015 from the Naples Zoo in Florida.

“We are thrilled to welcome Wakati to our giraffe family, as we’ve been waiting a while for this new baby,” shared Courtney Janney, Area Curator. “Wakati means “time” in Swahili, and we felt it was a good fit for our new arrival. Wendy immediately began showing appropriate maternal instincts, and we anticipate her keeping a close eye on Wakati as he integrates into the herd and begins to show independence.”

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Memphis Zoo_Baby GiraffePhoto Credits: Memphis Zoo

After 24 hours of acclimation and close monitoring, Wakati’s first medical check-up was performed. This first examination ensured that the new baby was healthy and nursing, while providing the baseline needed to assess future growth.

“Wakati’s neonatal exam went great! He looks strong and healthy,” reported Dr. Felicia Knightly, senior veterinarian at Memphis Zoo Animal Hospital. “Wakati is 5’10” in height and weighed in at 125 pounds. He’s nursing well and Wendy is already taking good care of him.”

Wakati was welcomed into the herd by another female, Angela Kate, who was in the yard during Wakati’s first steps. Although Wendy started to bond with Wakati moments after the birth by licking him clean and encouraging first steps, Angela Kate remained close by to help.

The giraffe herd at Memphis Zoo has now climbed to a total of nine with the birth of Wakati. From 1996 to 2006, Memphis Zoo did not have a single giraffe birth. Since 2006, at least one new giraffe calf has been born every year. Memphis Zoo has kept Reticulated Giraffes in their facility since August 1957.

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulate) is one of nine recognized subspecies of giraffe. Easily the tallest species on the planet, the giraffe can browse on leaves that Africa’s other grazing herbivores can’t reach.

Giraffes travel in loose, informal herds and can be found in eastern, central and southern Africa. They range across savannah, grasslands, and open woods in search of trees (especially their favorite, acacias) to feed upon.

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Posted by Debbie Reese

This morning, I read Elisa Gall's review of Medical Mayhem, a book in the "Twisted True Tales from Science" series published by Prufrock. She shared these two images:







At 5:06 AM on July 21, 2017, I used twitter to thank Elisa for that review. I tagged the publisher.





At 10:14 AM, Prufrock replied, saying
"We should never have allowed these images in a book by Prufrock Press. We are deeply sorry."



At 10:16 AM, Profrock said
"This is inexcusable. We are in the process of destroying that inventory and replacing it with a corrected edition."


I assume they know that it is not just the images, created by Eliza Bolli, that are a problem. The text, by Stephanie Bearce, also needs attention.

The editor, Lucy Compton, did not see the problems in text or illustration. Neither did any of the "experts" who reviewed it at the Prufrock page for the book. Elaine Wiener, a gifted education communicator, missed it. So did Terri Schlichenmeyer, of New York Parenting, and Lori Cirucci of NSTA Recommends (NSTA is the National Science Teachers Association), and Paula Young of Science-Nook, and Muhammed Hassanali of the Seattle Book Review. If you go over to the Goodreads page for the book, you'll see lot of praise there, too.

Prufrock is an educational publisher. Looking at their products, I see page after page of materials for teachers. There's other children's books, too. There's one on the Wild West and one on the Civil War. What, I wonder, lurks in those two books--and the professional materials, too?

I'm glad that Profrock is going to destroy this inventory and replace it. For that--this post about the book and their response is going on to the Revisions to Racism page here on AICL.
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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is excited to announce the May 23rd birth of a Pallas’s Cat kitten. The kitten’s birth marked the second live offspring ever produced with artificial insemination in Pallas’s Cat.

Columbus Zoo's Pallas’s Cats breeding pair, Manda and Paval, were observed mating in the winter. However, the Zoo determined that the female, Manda, was not pregnant. Animal care staff and veterinarians worked with the Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical garden to conduct an artificial insemination procedure in mid-March, near the end of the pair’s winter breeding season. The subsequent birth of the Pallas’s Cat kitten is the first offspring produced by Manda and Paval.

“CREW scientists have been working in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Pallas’s Cat Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the Columbus Zoo for several years to apply reproductive sciences, such as semen freezing and artificial insemination (AI), to improve Pallas’s Cat propagation and conservation,” said Dr. Bill Swanson, Director of Animal Research for CREW. “We are pleased with the results and look forward to continuing to build an understanding of our role in the preservation of this threatened species.”

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19989264_10154892566092106_159425387795079120_nPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Animal care and animal health staff have only recently determined that the kitten is a female. While the kitten and her mother are venturing into the habitat, father, Paval, will not be back on view with Manda again until the kitten is ready to be on her own at around nine-months-old.

The Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul), also called the ‘manul’, is a small wild cat with distribution in the grasslands and mountains of Central Asia.

Since 2002, the species has been classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, predation from species (including domestic dogs), poaching, and secondary poisoning from farming pesticides and rodent control.

The Pallas's Cat was named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the cat in 1776 under the binomial Felis manul.

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Posted by Chris Eastland

1_Baby Elephant Joy Outside-0010-7098

After a two-year pregnancy, the wait is over for the Houston Zoo’s Asian Elephant, Shanti. On July 12, the 26-year-old gave birth to a 305-pound female.

The calf has been named Joy by the zoo team that has dedicated their lives to the care, wellbeing, and conservation of these incredible animals.

Baby elephants are quite wobbly when they’re first born, so the harness seen on the images and video of Joy assists the elephant team to help her stand-steady while she’s nursing.

Shanti gave birth in the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of keepers and veterinary staff. She and her calf underwent post-natal exams and are now spending several days bonding behind the scenes. During this important bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share key moments like communication and hitting weight goals.

“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, Vice President of Animal Operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Joy and Shanti bond, and introducing her to Houston.”

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4_Baby Elephant Joy Outside-0006-7012Photo Credits: Stephanie Adams/ Houston Zoo

The Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is native to Southeast Asia from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east.

Since 1986, the species has been listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations. Primary threats are degradation, fragmentation, loss of habitat, and poaching.

*By visiting the Houston Zoo, guests help save baby elephants and their families in the wild. A portion of each zoo admission and membership goes straight to protecting an estimated 200-250 wild elephants in Asia.

Since the Houston Zoo started its work in Borneo in 2007, there has been a doubling of the elephant population on the island. The Houston Zoo also provides funds for elephant conservationist, Nurzhafarina “Farina” Othman and her team in Asia, to put tracking collars on wild elephants. This group uses collars to follow wild elephants, conducting valuable research that aids in protecting the elephants as they travel through the forests. Farina also spends time working with farmers that grow and produce palm oil, offering her guidance in responsible cultivation practices that are wildlife-friendly.

Palm oil is an ingredient in many foods and cosmetics, typically grown in areas that were previously home to animals like wild elephants. Converting pristine forests into oil palm plantations has caused extensive deforestation across Southeast Asia. Luckily, a growing number of producers are working to protect these areas and the animals that live there.

The Houston Zoo encourages people to protect elephants in the wild by supporting companies that use responsibly sourced palm oil, increasing demand for palm oil that is grown and produced without destroying the forested homes of elephants.

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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The Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) is one of Canada’s most endangered species. Its entire Canadian range occurs in southwestern British Columbia.

Though historic estimates suggest that as many as 1,000 Spotted Owls occurred in the province pre-European settlement, currently fewer than 30 individuals remain in Canada, with more than half of those owls residing at the NSO Breeding Facility in Langley, BC.

The primary threat to Spotted Owls is habitat loss and fragmentation through industrial activities and human expansion. Additional threats include competition from the similar Barred Owl that has invaded the Spotted Owl’s range in recent decades.

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4_zoo borns 4Photo Credits: Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Centre

The NSO Breeding Program began in 2007 with a founding population of six adult Spotted Owls. There are currently 20 Spotted Owls residing at the breeding facility, including four breeding pairs.

As this is the first and only breeding program for this species in the world, the team has had to overcome challenges to better understand the behaviors and husbandry techniques required to successfully breed this species. The Program applies husbandry techniques such as: double clutching, artificial incubation, and hand rearing to increase the number of eggs produced and to give chicks the best chance for survival.

The Program's mission is to prevent this species from becoming extirpated from Canada by releasing captive-raised Spotted Owls back into habitat protected for the species in the province.

During the 2017 breeding season the NSO Team welcomed two chicks, Chick B and Chick D. Chick B is the first offspring for newly formed pair, Sally and Watson. Chick D is the second born to Scud and Shania. Both chicks are second-generation captive born Spotted Owls, which gives the Program confidence that captive born owls will be able to reproduce successfully.

Both chicks were artificially incubated for 32 days prior to hatching, which took an additional 85 hours! The chicks finally hatched on April 12 and April 19, 2017 and were hand raised before being returned to their parents.

The chicks have continued to grow more and more each day and left their nests in late May. As of July, the chicks are now able to fly all over their aviaries, but still rely on Mom and Dad to bring them food. They will be full grown and independent from their parents in the Fall, at which time they will undergo a routine veterinary exam and the team at the facility will find out if they are male or female.

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Posted by Debbie Reese

John Demos has a book coming out in October of 2017 from Amulet Books (an imprint of Abrams). Some of you who read history books may recognize his name because of his book, Entertaining Satan, or because of his Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America. Demos is a history professor at Yale, but I don't know if he's teaching there or not on a regular basis.

In doing the background work for my review of his Puritan Girl, Mohawk Girl, I see that he did another book for young readers, back in 1995. That one is The Tried and the True: Native American Women Confronting Colonization. I'll see if I can find a copy of it.

The story Demos tells in this book is about Eunice Williams. Its audience is children who are 8 to 12 years old. Here's the description at Amazon:

In this riveting historical fiction narrative, National Book Award Finalist John Demos shares the story of a young Puritan girl and her life-changing experience with the Mohawk people.
Inspired by Demos’s award-winning novel The Unredeemed CaptivePuritan Girl, Mohawk Girl will captivate a young audience, providing a Native American perspective rather than the Western one typically taught in the classroom.
As the armed conflicts between the English colonies in North America and the French settlements raged in the 1700s, a young Puritan girl, Eunice Williams, is kidnapped by Mohawk people and taken to Canada. She is adopted into a new family, a new culture, and a new set of traditions that will define her life. As Eunice spends her days learning the Mohawk language and the roles of women and girls in the community, she gains a deeper understanding of her Mohawk family.  Although her father and brother try to persuade Eunice to return to Massachusetts, she ultimately chooses to remain with her Mohawk family and settlement. 
Puritan Girl, Mohawk Girl offers a compelling and rich lesson that is sure to enchant young readers and those who want to deepen their understanding of Native American history.

Eunice Williams was a real person, born in September of 1696. As a child, she was captured in a raid. The story Demos tells in Puritan Girl, Mohawk Girl is described (on the back cover of the ARC) as a historical novel inspired by The Unredeemed Captive. His Unredeemed Captive is cataloged as biography.

Todays "First Look" is the first in a series of blog posts I'll do on Puritan Girl, Mohawk Girl.

The Cover 

The words "PURITAN GIRL" are in black font. They're easy to see. The words "MOHAWK GIRL" are in a tan font. They're harder to read. I don't know what the cover designer was going for with the two different colors but I find the tan one less prominent. Visually, that makes Puritan more visible than Mohawk.

Look, too, at the 'R' in the first use of Girl and the R in the second use. See the difference? This reflects a design element in which font style is used to signal "other." You may have seen this on some book covers--where the shape and design of letters are used to visually signal "other." The R in the Puritan girl is what most would recognize as the way R's look, but the R in the Mohawk girl is angular. Visually, this different treatment of the R signals difference in how we're to think of these two peoples. Some would see the difference as good; others would not.

What are your thoughts on these visual ways of setting Puritan apart from Mohawk?



Preface

The first line in the preface is
When Christopher Columbus and other explorers got to America from Europe, they found millions of people already living there. 
Right off the bat, I see problems there.

First,"explorers" is the default word for Columbus and other "explorers." That idea--of exploration--is generally seen as a good, or, something positive. The word 'explore' means to investigate, study, analyze, become familiar with.  The word "explorer" means one who explores. But, I think we all know there is more to Columbus's voyage than "explore." He was looking for something that would make him, those who sponsored his voyages, and others, too, wealthy (and wealthier).

Second, Demos used "America" to describe a place that wasn't--at that time--called America. The millions of people who were living there when Columbus arrived had their own words for it. The word "America" -- according to the Oxford dictionary -- dates back to the early 16th century and is believed to be a derivation of the name of Amerigo Vespucci, who sailed along the west coast of South Africa in 1501.

In the 2nd paragraph, Demos writes
They saw America as a "new world." They settled on the land and claimed it for themselves. They started farms, villages, and towns. They organized "colonies" that belonged to their home countries in Europe. They didn't ask permission from the Indians; they just went ahead with their plans. They viewed Indians as inferior to themselves--as "savages" living in a primitive way. 
Demos is following a well-trod way of depicting this "new world." By that, I mean he fails to note that Native peoples had farms, villages, and towns before Europeans got here. In the next paragraph he says that the two groups had certain advantages over the other, which is accurate, but what he says pretty much affirms the "primitive" and inaccurate imagery so many people have. More about that, later.

I'm also curious about using the idea of "asking for permission" to characterize what happened. It doesn't work, right? Let's bring it to something of the present day. Say you have some acreage that someone thinks you're not using. Let's say someone from Spain comes over, sees it, and thinks they'll build something there. They knock on your door and say "with your permission, I'd like to build my house on that spot over there." See why the idea of "permission" doesn't work?

I gotta dash off for now to do some other work. I welcome your comments on what I've said so far about this book.
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Posted by Debbie Reese

A reader writes to ask if I've seen Jim Kristofic's Black Sheep, White Crow.

Published in 2017 by the University of New Mexico Press, I'm hoping that anyone who buys it will read the preface carefully and then set it aside. By that, I mean--I hope they choose not use it with kids, as-is.

Here's why. In the preface, Kristofic writes:
Some stories were told to me while I was growing up on the Rez. Some stories are blends of my own imagination with the traditional ideas of the Animal People and the lessons they can teach.



That passage in the preface prompts several questions. For starters...

Did Kristofic have permission from the tellers to publish the stories told to him? If yes, how did he get that permission? Did he use the tired and exploitative "if we don't do this, the stories will be lost forever" approach?

Does Kristofic realize that--in blending his imagination with those stories--he is, in effect, assuming that he has the right to tinker with the religious stories of another peoples' traditions? Of course, that's been done a lot, so he may think it is fine. I do not, and neither do a lot of Native people. Too many writers think they can just add, willy nilly, to our creation stories. That they can come up with their own stories, based on ours. That's disrespectful to us. Maybe Kristofic would do that cherry picking sort of thing to the Bible, too, but would he then label the stories as "Bible Stories"? I think not. They wouldn't be Bible stories. They'd be his fictions.

Because of the preface alone, I'm tagging Kristoff's book with a not-recommended. I know I'll catch heck from some people for saying "not recommended" before I've "read the whole book" but that's ok. I stand on what I said.

When someone who is not of the people a book purports to be about, the act of rewriting and adding to that peoples stories and then labeling them as stories of those people, is not ok. It is, in my view, misleading to the reader and disrespectful to the people who shares stories with the writer.

In summary: I do not recommend Jim Kristofic's Black Sheep, White Crow. 

Tiny New Pudu for Belfast Zoo

Jul. 17th, 2017 03:22 pm
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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

(1)  Belfast Zoo keepers have said ‘hello deer’ to the latest arrival as the world’s smallest deer  the Southern pudu  has given birth!

Belfast Zoo keepers have said ‘hello deer’ to a new arrival as one of their Southern Pudu has given birth!

The latest arrival was born to father, Mr Tumnus, and mother, Susan, on June 18.

The Southern Pudu originates from the lowland forests of Southern Chile and Southwest Argentina and is the smallest member of the deer family! Adults measure only 43 centimeters in height when fully grown and, at birth, a fawn is so small that it weighs less than a bag of sugar.

(2)  The latest arrival was born to father  Mr Tumnus and mother  Susan on 18 June 2017.

(4) .  When fawns are born they are a light brown colour and their fur is covered with small white spots.  This helps the infant to camouflage in the undergrowth.Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo

Senior keeper, Allan Galway, said “Although small in size, our fawn is massively important to Belfast Zoo and to the European breeding programme for the Southern Pudu. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers this species to be vulnerable to the threat of extinction and numbers in the wild have dramatically declined in recent years due to loss of habitat through deforestation, hunting and predation.”

Allan continued, “We have been giving Susan and her new arrival some space to bond, so have not yet determined the sex of the new arrival or given the fawn a name. When fawns are born they are a light brown color, and their fur is covered with small white spots. This helps the infant to camouflage in the undergrowth especially when they are left alone while the mother feeds.”

Belfast Zoo’s Southern Pudu family share their home with some other South American “amigos” including: Southern Screamers and Red Howler Monkeys.

Belfast Zoo visitors can now experience a new reptile and amphibian house. Summer visitors can also witness daily feeding times, a new visitor photography base camp, the Adventurers’ Learning Centre and can visit all the latest zoo babies.

(3)  Adult Southern pudus measure only 43 centimetres in height when fully grown (pictured is father  Mr Tumnus)

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

Image 1 - SZ Tree roo baby_WRS copy

Singapore Zoo is now home to one-tenth of the global population of endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos under human care, with the arrival of a female joey.

Born jellybean-sized between July and August last year to mother Blue, the female joey first showed a limb in January this year, before peeking out her hairless head later that same month.

Image 2 - SZ Tree roo baby_WRS
Image 3 - SZ Tree roo baby_WRS
Image 4 - SZ Tree roo baby_WRSPhoto Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore



As she approaches her one year milestone, the joey is gradually introducing herself to the world. Although a little clumsy when she first started exploring life outside her mother’s pouch, she can now be seen frequently honing her jumping and climbing skills. While she continues to pop in for mommy’s milk every now and then, she is more content to munch on favorites such as tapioca, carrot, corn, and beans.

With this birth, Singapore Zoo becomes the proud guardian of five Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos: four adults plus the new joey.

The Tree Kangaroos are managed under a Global Species Management Plan (GSMP). The plan involves coordinated efforts of participating zoos in Australia, Europe, Japan, North America, and Singapore to keep Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos as a genetically diverse assurance population should there be a catastrophic decline in the wild population.

Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are native to the rain forests of New Guinea and Irian Jaya.  They feed mainly on leaves, and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

 

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Posted by Chris Eastland

First Wolf cub seen emerging from the den (photo credit Jackie Thomas) (4)

Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of a litter of five Eurasian Wolf cubs – the first to be born at the Park in its 47-year history.  

For the first ten days of their lives, the cubs were hidden from sight in one of the underground dens their parents, Ash and Ember, had excavated. One night, after a heavy downpour of rain, Ember took her cubs out of the birthing den and placed them above ground to stay dry. This was the first time anyone had seen the cubs. Both Ember and Ash are devoted first-time parents and keepers are delighted that the youngsters are healthy.

Wolf cubs  3 (photo credit Jackie Thomas)
Ember feeding cubs (photo Jackie Thomas)Photo Credit: Jackie Thomas (images 1-6), Cotswold Wildlife Park (images 7-15)

 

The births were unexpected for the Wolves’ care team.  Two-year old male Ash and three-year old female Ember arrived at the zoo just last year, and Wolves normally take a long time to form pair bonds. Additionally, females come into heat only once a year, between January and March.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park Jamie Craig said, “Our Wolves are a new pairing and we did not really expect a successful breeding so soon. They have settled well and at present, everything with the adults and cubs is going to plan – we are keeping our fingers crossed that it continues but we have more confidence with every day that passes. The cubs will form an important nucleus to the ‘pack’ for the coming years.”

Wolves generally pair for life. Mating takes place in late winter or early spring. After a gestation period of approximately sixty-two days, the alpha female gives birth to a litter (usually between four and six cubs). At birth, the cubs are blind and deaf and are reliant on their parents for survival. After 11 to 15 days, their eyes open. Cubs develop rapidly under the watchful eye of their mother. At five weeks, the cubs are beginning to wean off their mother’s milk but cannot immediately fend for themselves and require considerable parental care and nourishment.

The Eurasian Wolf (Canis lupus) is one of the largest Wolf subspecies and the largest found outside of the Americas. There are almost 40 Wolf subspecies including Arctic Wolf, Tundra Wolf, critically endangered Red Wolf, Dingo and the domestic Dog.

See more photos and learn more about Eurasian Wolves below.

The Wolf was once the most widely distributed land mammal on the planet, except for humans. They were nearly eradicated in England by the 13th century. Wolves were destroyed in great numbers to protect the most important asset at that time – livestock (to which they were a constant threat). The Celts hunted Wolves in the third and fourth centuries B.C with the help of specially trained Irish Wolf Hounds. Later, Edgar the Peaceful created amnesty laws related to the Wolf: lawbreakers could pay their dues in Wolf heads. In 1560, King James VI declared that all men – no matter how old or young – participate in the hunt for Wolves. The probable date the Wolf became extinct in England was 1684. In central Europe, the battle against the Wolf took on a less frantic pace but in the first decade of the 20th Century, forty-eight states in Europe were already cleared of Wolves.

Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, a small population of Eurasian Wolves has returned to the Alps. According to latest estimates, 36 packs and five pairs have been recorded in the Central European Lowlands.

At the milk bar (2) Photo credit Jackie Thomas
Ember with all five cubs (Credit Jackie Thomas)
Patient mum Ember (photo credit Jackie Thomas)
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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

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The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is proud to announce the birth of twin Red Panda cubs on June 11 to second-time mother, Mei-Li.

The first cub has been with Mei-Li since birth and has grown as expected. The second cub was significantly smaller at birth, and after close observation, the decision was made to add supplemental feedings, hoping to allow the cub to stay with mom and sibling.

However, it became evident that the second cub was going to need additional care and support and was subsequently removed for hand rearing by Animal Care staff. This cub is now gaining weight appropriately, though additional health concerns have come to light. At this point, staff will be moving forward with the current care plan and will wait for the cub to become healthier before putting it back with Mei-Li.

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2017_red_panda_cub_b1Photo Credits: Binghamton Zoo

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN because its population has declined by 50% over the past 20 years. This decline is primarily due to deforestation, which eliminates red pandas’ nesting sites and sources of food. Through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Binghamton Zoo participates in several Species Survival Plans (SSP), ensuring the long-term health and survival of captive species, including the Red Panda.

Red Pandas can be found in the Himalayan Mountains in parts of Buma, Nepal, India, and China. Contrary to popular belief, Red Pandas are not related to the Giant Panda, but are closely related to the raccoon family.

Red Pandas spend most of their days sleeping in trees and are most active at nighttime. They are herbivores, eating berries, leaves, grains, nuts, fruits, flowers, and bird eggs.

Litter size ranges from one to four young. The young remain nest-bound for about 90 days after birth and reach their adult size at about 12 months. The maximum lifespan for Red Pandas is about 14 years.

According to Zoo staff, Cub A is on exhibit, but may not be visible for several weeks until it is big enough to climb out of the nest box. Cub B will continue to be off exhibit while under veterinary care.

The Zoo will soon host a gender reveal party and will be hosting a naming contest. Fans can also follow the growth of the Red Panda cubs via the Binghamton Zoo’s website: www.rossparkzoo.com/red-panda-cubs ​ ​

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Gentoo Penguin chick at 21 days old credit Casey Phillips Tennessee Aquarium

It may only weigh a few pounds, but two of the biggest features of the Tennessee Aquarium’s newest Gentoo Penguin chick have already earned it an unofficial nickname.

Born on June 5 to experienced parents Bug and Big T., the large feet of the newest addition to Penguins’ Rock immediately inspired the moniker “Big Foot.”

“Our animal trainer Holly Gibson chose that name, and it is very fitting,” says Senior Aviculturist Loribeth Lee. “Besides his belly, the feet are the biggest thing on this guy right now! Penguin chicks have almost comically large feet until they grow into them. Having big feet helps Penguins to balance while they are so oddly shaped.”

This nickname is just a placeholder. It will be replaced by an official name, chosen from a crop of keeper-selected alternatives, during a public contest on the Aquarium’s Facebook page later this year.

2_The Gentoo Penguin chick at two days old credit Casey Phillips Tennessee Aquarium

3_Gentoo Penguin Chick at two days old credit Casey Phillips Tennessee Aquarium

4_Senior Aviculturist Loribeth Lee holds the new baby Gentoo Penguin credit Casey Phillips Tennessee AquariumPhoto Credits: Casey Phillips / Tennessee Aquarium

Aquarium staff began noticing signs that the new chick was breaking out of its egg, a process called “pipping,” at 8 a.m. on June 5. The baby Gentoo was fully hatched at 3:30 p.m., a faster-than-average pace, Lee says.

The chick’s gender will remain indeterminate until November, when it can be properly assessed by staff during the colony’s next round of semi-annual physical exams. A drop of the chick’s blood will be sent to a lab, and the DNA results will be available a few days later.

For now, the Aquarium’s Penguin experts are closely monitoring the chick’s growth and health, Lee says.

“The first four weeks of a chick’s life are the most concerning, as there are lots of obstacles to overcome,” she says. “We will continue to keep a close eye on this little bird, especially making sure the nest stays clean and the chick continues to get fed by both parents.”

Until the arrival of its waterproof adult feathers in six to seven weeks, the chick will remain safely corralled with its parents behind a clear, acrylic “play pen.” This barrier around the nest keeps nosey neighbors at flipper’s length away and prevents the baby Penguin from accidentally tumbling into the water.

Despite the uncertainty of this early period in its development, so far the chick has exhibited robust vitals and a healthy appetite. And it is gaining weight at a healthy rate, which indicates the chick’s body should start catching up with its enormous feet soon.

“We like to see the chicks on the higher end of the weight range, as if they do have a drop in weight at any point, then it is less critical than a bird who is on the low end of the weight range,” she says.

The chick’s parents, Bug and Big T., are one of the exhibit’s most prolific breeding pairs, having successfully hatched four chicks: Roxie, Bobber, Rodan and Terk. In all, the residents of Penguins’ Rock have hatched 20 chicks since 2009.

“Even after seeing over 20 chicks hatch here, it never gets old,” Lee says. “It’s so exciting to have a new young one in the group and watching our guests enjoy their progress! The best part of my job is seeing thriving birds in the exhibit, and this one seems to be doing well so far.”

The chick will reach its full, adult size when it is about 75 days old and its full adult weight a few months later after its swim muscles develop.

The Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is known for flamboyant red-orange beaks, white-feather caps, and peach-colored feet.

They populate the Antarctic Peninsula and numerous islands around the frozen continent. They are also the Penguin world’s third largest member, reaching a height of 30 inches and a weight of 12 pounds.

Partial to ice-free areas (including coastal plains, sheltered valleys, and cliffs), they gather in colonies of breeding pairs that can number from a few dozen to many thousands.

Gentoo numbers are noted to be increasing on the Antarctic Peninsula, but they have plummeted in some of their island enclaves, possibly due to pollution or disrupted fisheries. They are protected by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and were classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN in 2007.

Tennessee Aquarium guests can learn more and interact with experts during Penguin presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day. The public can also keep an eye on the chick’s growth over the coming weeks by watching the live Penguins’ Rock web cam at: http://www.tnaqua.org/animals-exhibits/penguins-rock-cam/

5_Gentoo Penguin chick being examined credit Casey Phillips Tennessee Aquarium

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Wyoming toad - Jennie Miller

The Detroit Zoological Society’s (DZS) conservation breeding program for the Wyoming Toad continues to make strides for this federally endangered amphibian. Seven hundred tadpoles have been produced in the Detroit Zoo’s National Amphibian Conservation Center and were scheduled to be shipped to Wyoming on July 5 for eventual release into the wild.

“It’s exciting to share our continued success with this program. We’ve had recording-breaking years in the past and are committed to ensuring the survival of this species as well as many others,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer. “Amphibians are the most endangered animals in the world, with more than 40 percent of all species at risk.”

The tadpoles were scheduled to be released into a protected Wyoming wetland in the Laramie Basin, where they will hopefully metamorphose into toadlets. The metamorphosis usually occurs in mid-July, and takes approximately four to five weeks.

Wyoming tadpoles 1 - Jennie Miller

Wyoming tadpoles 2 - Jennie Miller

Wyoming tadpoles 3 - Jennie MillerPhoto Credits: Jennie Miller / Detroit Zoo

The Wyoming Toad (Anaxyrus baxteri) is a dark brown, gray or greenish amphibian with small, dark blotches. The average length is 2.2 inches, with the females slightly larger than the males.

Once abundant in the wetlands and irrigated meadows of Wyoming’s southeastern plains, the Wyoming Toad was listed as extinct in 1994, meaning populations are no longer producing offspring that survive to adulthood in the wild. The cause of the decline is not well understood, but it is likely that more than one factor contributed to the situation in the past, with habitat loss and infectious diseases suspected as major drivers.

In 2007, the DZS’s collaborative breeding program for the Wyoming Toad was “No.1” on the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ list of the Top 10 wildlife conservation success stories. The breeding partnership has successfully released more than 8,000 tadpoles, toadlets and toads in Wyoming since the program’s inception in 1995. Once released, these latest tadpoles should add to that number.

The National Amphibian Conservation Center opened at the Detroit Zoo in 2000 and was distinguished as the first major conservation facility dedicated entirely to conserving and exhibiting amphibians. It houses a spectacular diversity of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians – including the Wyoming Toad. Dubbed “Disneyland for toads” by The Wall Street Journal, this award winning, state-of-the-art facility is world renowned for amphibian conservation, care, exhibition and research.

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_NEW Puma Cub 2017

The Minnesota Zoo is excited to welcome a new male Puma kitten, named Landslide, to their Medtronic Minnesota Trail exhibit.

“We are excited about giving our guests a chance to see this energetic young male Puma kitten on the Minnesota Trail,” says Tom Ness, curator for the Tropics and Medtronic Minnesota Trails. “We take our mission to save wildlife very seriously here at the Minnesota Zoo and we are so grateful we are able to provide him with a great home.”

The male Puma kitten was found orphaned after a landslide in NE Washington earlier this spring and was initially cared for by the Oregon Zoo. He made the journey to his new home at the Minnesota Zoo in early May, and Zoo veterinarians have been caring for the kitten behind the scenes to ensure he is healthy and stable. The young Puma was scheduled to finish his last round of kitten vaccines last week, and vet staff and zookeepers report he is thriving in his new home.

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4_image1Photo Credits: Tyler Birschbach/Minnesota Zoo

This is the second successful Puma (kitten) public debut for the Minnesota Zoo this year. An older Puma, named Sequim, that was also orphaned and rescued as a young kitten outside the Port Angeles, Washington area, made his public debut along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail earlier this year. The Medtronic Minnesota Trail is also home to several other rescued animals such as: three Black Bears, five Gray Wolves, a Bald Eagle, a Porcupine and more.

The young Puma will be on-exhibit daily from 9 am until approximately 1 pm. He will rotate exhibit time with Sequim.

Puma is a genus in Felidae (Felis concolor). Probably due to their wide range across North and South America, Pumas have multiple names they are known by, including Cougar and Mountain Lion.

Pumas can run up to 43 mph, jump more than 20 feet from standing, and leap up to 16 feet straight up.

Although they can make a wide range of cat noises (hisses, growls, purrs), Pumas cannot roar. Instead, they are known for their distinctive “scream-like” calls during mating, but are often extremely stealthy and go unheard.

Although they have been pushed into smaller habitats by human settlement expansion, members of this genus have been formally classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Their success in the wild, thus far, is due to their adaptation to changing habitat conditions.

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Langur1

It’s a birth for the record books at the Memphis Zoo! A male François’ Langur was born to mom, Tanah, and dad, Jay Jay, on April 12.

According to the François’ Langur Species Survival Plan (SSP), the leading authority on the total François’ Langur population, 22-year-old Tanah is the oldest Langur in captivity to give birth. In honor of this record-breaking fact, the new infant has been named Ripley...a nod to the quintessential purveyor of amazing facts: “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”.

“This is our third François' Langur birth in three years,” said Courtney Janney, Curator of Large Mammals. “These animals live in social groups, and their young are raised communally. Tanah is taking very good care of him, but sisters Jean Grey and Raven spend a lot of time helping out by carrying him around!”

2_Langur4

4_Langur3Photo Credits: Greg James / Memphis Zoo

Visitors to the Memphis Zoo’s François’ Langur exhibit will be able to spot little Ripley quite easily. When they’re born, Langur infants are bright orange. As they get older, their orange slowly fades into the black coat that all adults have.

Ripley and his parents are currently on exhibit, along with sisters: Raven, Rook, and Jean Grey.

The François' Langur (Trachypithecus francoisi), also known as the Francois' Leaf Monkey, Tonkin Leaf Monkey, or White Side-burned Black Langur, is a species of lutung belonging to the Colobinae subfamily.

The species is a native of Southwestern China to northeastern Vietnam. The species is named after Auguste François (1857–1935), who was the French Consul at Lungchow in southern China.

The François' Langur is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The population has been on a steady decline for the past 30 years. Of the many factors threatening their survival, hunting has had the largest impact.

The Memphis Zoo has housed François’ Langurs since 2002.

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[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

In the 1950s and ’60s, a set of social psychological experiments seemed to show that human beings were easily manipulated by low and moderate amounts of peer pressure, even to the point of violence. It was a stunning research program designed in response to the horrors of the Holocaust, which required the active participation of so many people, and the findings seemed to suggest that what happened there was part of human nature.

What we know now, though, is that this research was undertaken at an unusually conformist time. Mothers were teaching their children to be obedient, loyal, and to have good manners. Conformity was a virtue and people generally sought to blend in with their peers. It wouldn’t last.

At the same time as the conformity experiments were happening, something that would contribute to changing how Americans thought about conformity was being cooked up: the psychedelic drug, LSD.

Lysergic acid diethylamide was first synthesized in 1938 in the routine process of discovering new drugs for medical conditions. The first person to discover it psychedelic properties — its tendency to alter how we see and think — was the scientist who invented it, Albert Hoffmann. He ingested it accidentally, only to discover that it induces a “dreamlike state” in which he “perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

By the 1950s , LSD was being administered to unwitting American in a secret, experimental mind control program conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, one that would last 14 years and occur in over 80 locations. Eventually the fact of the secret program would leak out to the public, and so would LSD.

It was the 1960s and America was going through a countercultural revolution. The Civil Rights movement was challenging persistent racial inequality, the women’s and gay liberation movements were staking claims on equality for women and sexual minorities, the sexual revolution said no to social rules surrounding sexuality and, in the second decade of an intractable war with Vietnam, Americans were losing patience with the government. Obedience had gone out of style.

LSD was the perfect drug for the era. For its proponents, there was something about the experience of being on the drug that made the whole concept of conformity seem absurd. A new breed of thinker, the “psychedelic philosopher,” argued that LSD opened one’s mind and immediately revealed the world as it was, not the world as human beings invented it. It revealed, in other words, the social constructedness of culture.

In this sense, wrote the science studies scholar Ido Hartogsohn, LSD was truly “countercultural,” not only “in the sense of being peripheral or opposed to mainstream culture [but in] rejecting the whole concept of culture.” Culture, the philosophers claimed, shut down our imagination and psychedelics were the cure. “Our normal word-conditioned consciousness,” wrote one proponent, “creates a universe of sharp distinctions, black and white, this and that, me and you and it.” But on acid, he explained, all of these rules fell away. We didn’t have to be trapped in a conformist bubble. We could be free.

The cultural influence of the psychedelic experience, in the context of radical social movements, is hard to overstate. It shaped the era’s music, art, and fashion. It gave us tie-dye, The Grateful Dead, and stuff like this:


via GIPHY

The idea that we shouldn’t be held down by cultural constrictions — that we should be able to live life as an individual as we choose — changed America.

By the 1980s, mothers were no longer teaching their children to be obedient, loyal, and to have good manners. Instead, they taught them independence and the importance of finding one’s own way. For decades now, children have been raised with slogans of individuality: “do what makes you happy,” “it doesn’t matter what other people think,” “believe in yourself,” “follow your dreams,” or the more up-to-date “you do you.”

Today, companies choose slogans that celebrate the individual, encouraging us to stand out from the crowd. In 2014, for example, Burger King abandoned its 40-year-old slogan, “Have it your way,” for a plainly individualistic one: “Be your way.” Across the consumer landscape, company slogans promise that buying their products will mark the consumer as special or unique. “Stay extraordinary,” says Coke; “Think different,” says Apple. Brands encourage people to buy their products in order to be themselves: Ray-Ban says “Never hide”; Express says “Express yourself,” and Reebok says “Let U.B.U.”

In surveys, Americans increasingly defend individuality. Millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to agree with statements like “there is no right way to live.” They are half as likely to think that it’s important to teach children to obey, instead arguing that the most important thing a child can do is “think for him or herself.” Millennials are also more likely than any other living generation to consider themselves political independents and be unaffiliated with an organized religion, even if they believe in God. We say we value uniqueness and are critical of those who demand obedience to others’ visions or social norms.

Paradoxically, it’s now conformist to be an individualist and deviant to be conformist. So much so that a subculture emerged to promote blending in. “Normcore,” it makes opting into conformity a virtue. As one commentator described it, “Normcore finds liberation in being nothing special…”

Obviously LSD didn’t do this all by itself, but it was certainly in the right place at the right time. And as a symbol of the radical transition that began in the 1960s, there’s hardly one better.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Chris Eastland

Kitani's calf was the first of the two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in a week (22)

Two rare Eastern Black Rhino calves were born within days of each other at the Chester Zoo, boosting global numbers of the Critically Endangered species.

The new mothers, Kitani and Zuri, delivered their babies on June 19 and June 26 after 15-month-long pregnancies. The babies were delivered safely onto soft sand.

Kitani's calf was the first of the two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in a week (27)
Zuri's calf was the second of two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in just a week (10)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

Video footage shows Kitani spinning around as she delivers her calf. The youngster was on its feet within a few minutes of birth, and took its first wobbly steps as amazed zoo visitors watched.

Both calves are doing well, and Kitani and Zuri are excellent mothers, according to their care team at Chester Zoo.

Less than 650 Eastern Black Rhinos now remain across Africa, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the animals as Critically Endangered in the wild.

The two births are a boost for the endangered species breeding program for Eastern Black Rhinos, which are teetering on the brink of extinction in the wild. Zoo births are managed to retain the highest level of genetic diversity as a hedge against possible extinction in the wild.

In addition, knowledge obtained from the zoo’s Rhino breeding program is being used right now in Africa to boost conservation efforts in the field.  

A huge surge in illegal poaching, driven by a global increase in demand for Rhino horn to supply the traditional Asian medicine market, resulted in around 95% of Rhinos being wiped out since the turn of the 20th century. 2014 was branded ‘the worst poaching year on record’ by leading conservationists after more than 1,200 Rhinos were hunted in South Africa alone - a 9,000% increase from 2007.

The issue is being driven by the street value of Rhino horn, which sells for more per gram than gold or cocaine, although modern science has proven it completely useless for medicinal purposes.  Rhino horn is made from keratin – the same material as human hair and nails.



See more photos of the calves below.

Kitani's calf was the first of the two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in a week (29)
Kitani's calf was the first of the two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in a week (35)
Zuri's calf was the second of two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in just a week (15)
Zuri's calf was the second of two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in just a week (14)
Zuri's calf was the second of two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in just a week (6)







[syndicated profile] aichildlit_feed

Posted by Debbie Reese

A teacher wrote to ask if I've seen The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon by Greg Pizzoli. Out in June of 2017 from Viking Books for Young Readers, it is getting starred reviews. Here's the description:

British explorer Percy Fawcett believed that hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest was an ancient city, lost for the ages. Most people didn’t even believe this city existed. But if Fawcett could find it, he would be rich and famous forever. This is the true story of one man’s thrilling, dangerous journey into the jungle, and what he found on his quest for the lost city of Z.

Rich and famous. Explorer. British. Why the starred reviews for another in a long line of stories that celebrates exploitation, colonization, and, well, capitalism?!

Page one (and the title, too) tell us that this story is about the Amazon rainforest:
Less than one hundred years ago, maps of the world still included large "blank spots": distant and dangerous lands that mapmakers and scientists had not yet explored.
Critical readers will ask--right away--about the point of view of this story. That land was not "distant and dangerous" to the people that lived there. And it was not unexplored by them, either. Here's one possible rewrite of that sentence:

Less than one hundred years ago, British maps of the world still included large "blank spots": distant and dangerous lands that British mapmakers and British scientists had not yet explored. 

Here's another:
Less than one hundred years ago, British mapmakers and scientists, imagining themselves superior to all other peoples of the world, called the homelands of those peoples "distant and dangerous" and could not imagine that those peoples also had mapmakers and scientists. Those British people were racist. 

It is frustrating to see books like this one... Do you have a copy? How might you re-write it? Might you do a re-write of it--with kids? It would be an excellent exercise in point of view, racism, and the ongoing refusal to decenter Whiteness.

I may be back, later, with more to say...
[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Chris Eastland

19732312_1494362457289945_8260157228210158814_n

Five fluffy Cheetah cubs made their public debut this week at Australia’s Monarto Zoo.

Born in March to mother Kesho, the cubs immediately began exploring their new environment after bonding with Kesho in a private den for about three months.

One of the cubs is a male, and the other four are females. They each weigh about 15 pounds and are described as “very adventurous.”

19437405_1486272208098970_8089627607465356222_nPhoto Credit:  Adrian Mann (1); Monarto Zoo (2)

The prospect of adding four potential breeding females to the Cheetah population is thrilling for the Monarto Zoo staff. Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Only about 6,700 Cheetahs remain in the wild, primarily in eastern and southwestern Africa, half of what it was 35 years ago.  As their habitats are fragmented into smaller pieces by the expansion of farms, grazing lands, and cities, the Cats have less space to roam and less prey to eat. Cheetahs are also killed by ranchers who fear that the cats are killing their livestock.

Breeding programs, like those at Monarto Zoo and other zoos around the world, offer hope for the future. Animals are carefully matched based on their “pedigree” or genetic background, with the goal of maintaining a high level of genetic diversity in Cheetahs under human care.

 

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