Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Many Parrots Are Kept As Pets

Many parrots are kept as pets, especially macaws, Amazon parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and cockatoos. These birds have been popular companions throughout history because they are intelligent, charismatic, colorful, and musical. Some birds can imitate many nonavian sounds, including human speech. The male African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the most accomplished user of human speech in the animal world; this rain forest-dweller is an uncanny mimic.
Since early breeding can result in egg binding, don’t place a breeding box in with the breeding pair before April. Unlike other human-loving parrots, the fledglings don’t need to be hand fed to become tame. The Indian Ringneck Parrot is a wonderful pet for those who have the time and the love that they need.
I think these are one of the better parrots to introduce to young children especially as they like to be handled and they adore affection and attention. Children love to lavish attention and if the parrot is taught tricks then they will keep are child amused and the bird will be well loved. Also if the child is older and wants to earn a little money they can breed these parrots. So in all I would say that you and your family will have many hours of fun with you Indian Ringneck.
Sure parrots can be loud, but most people can tolerate a bit of noise. It is the loud, prolonged repetitious noises that parrots make that drive us nutty and put us in danger of eviction. This is screaming and not something parrots need to do in the wild. A call across the forest usually gets an answer and the parrot is able to fly to its companion. Parrots in the wild do not need to sit in the same place and scream for a half an hour in order to interact with their companions. Screaming is something that people teach parrots to do. Parrots can learn very quickly that when they scream they get our attention. It’s hard to ignore a screaming parrot, but entering the room to tell a pet bird to hush is “answering the call” and giving it the attention it craved. Parrots don’t naturally scream; we teach them to scream. Instead we should teach them a more acceptable noise or activity that gets them our attention.
Parrots rarely need to bite in the wild. For the most part the threat of a bite keeps parrots out of each other’s personal space. Through a variety of body language, one parrot conveys to another that it is too close or in its territory. Usually, the offending parrot takes these threats seriously and flies off before any blood is shed.
People, on the other hand, miss the body language and don’t back off until they get bitten. Pet birds might quickly learn to skip all the signs of aggression and jump straight to the bite, which is the only thing their caretaker seems to understand. Just like screaming, we teach our pet birds to bite. Instead, respect your parrot’s body language and watch it closely. If you ignore its pinning eyes or some other sign and pick it up anyway, you are teaching your pet bird to bite.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are The Cute Mammals Sea Otters Melting Your Heart

Sea otters
Sea otters are unusual among marine mammals in that they live outside of their zone of thermal neutrality and consequently have extremely high metabolic demands. As a result they require a high rate of food intake, up to 30% of their body weight per day, and they have limited capacity to cope with reduced food availability or additional physiological challenges. Moreover, a large proportion of their diet consists of filter-feeding benthic invertebrates, which tend to concentrate both contaminants and disease-causing pathogens that flow into near-shore waters from land.

The sea otter was hunted to extinction in southeast Alaska by fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the mid-1960's, 402 otters from the northern reaches of Alaska were re-introduced to their southern habitat, and by 1987 the population there had grown to about 3,500 animals. Kvitek was one of the first researchers in the late 1980's to record the expanding population. This rapid expansion, and the pervasive presence of toxic butter clams throughout southeast Alaska, provided Kvitek with the perfect opportunity to set up a comprehensive study . Through observation of the animals, collection of discarded sea otter prey, and sampling prey in areas yet uninhabited by otters, Kvitek hoped to determine whether the foraging behavior and distribution of sea otters under natural conditions was mediated by clam toxicity. Did seasonal toxic algal bloomsdetermine when and where sea otters settled and foraged?

In Summary

The Otter Project considers four factors when evaluating sea otter population status and the result of this year's survey is quite discouraging. It appears that the sea otter population could possibly continue to decline. Three of the four factors are Negative. For 2010, the factors indicated the following:

Spring survey: Mixed. The 3-year running average is down. The raw count for 2010 is up slightly from 2009 but still down from 2008 and 2007. Even though 2010 saw a very modest increase in the number of otters counted in the spring survey, there may be cause for concern as we saw the most significant drop in the 3-year running population average in over a decade.

Dead strandings: Negative. Through December 2010, the number of dead otters recovered was up from previous years.

Mortality by age-class: Negative. Significant increase in mortality of pups and immature otters. An increase in mortality also occurred in reproductive adult age classes this year.

Pup to independent ratio: Negative. The 2010 survey results showed a significant decrease in the pup to independent ratio compared to 2009. The 2009 survey results were the highest in two decades.

Not just otters but also people are potentially at risk from the parasite. People eat many of the same shellfish as otters. There has also been a documented outbreak of human toxoplasmosis in British Columbia, shown later to have been caused by contaminated drinking water, presumably from cat droppings.

Though a potentially serious human health threat, Toxoplasma gondii is only one of many waterborne protozoans that may be entering beach waters via runoff. A new California Sea Grant study is looking at one of the more worrisome of these, Cryptosporidium, widely regarded as one of the most significant causes of diarrhea in humans.

Leading the project are Rob Atwill, also at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Davis, and Conrad. Taking cues from sea otters, Atwill and Conrad are measuring pathogen levels in bivalves near outfalls of human and agricultural runoff, to track the upstream sources of pollution. Genetic tests are also being used to identify which animal species are the main sources of pathogen pollution. Wildlife, cattle, pets and people can spread Cryptosporidium.

The scientists are also working with dairies along the coast to test the degree to which management practices, such as planting vegetative buffer strips, can reduce pathogen pollution.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

White Tigers Are Extremely Beautiful Animals

Although white tigers are extremely beautiful animals, they serve noconservation purpose, with the exception of increasing attendance to zoos. Thus increasing public awareness andeducation of the plight of all endangered animals. For this reason, the SSP (Species Survival Plan) coordinators for the various surviving subspecies of tiger do not authorize breeding the white tiger in their managed programs. Still this remarkable animal continues to bring hundreds of thousands of fascinated visitors to zoos and educational facilities across the world. Public awareness is the first step in conservation.

The White Tiger is a large and powerful animal that can weigh up to 300kg and reaches more than 3 meters in length. Unlike the white variations found in other animal species, the White Tigeris not an albino as they still carry some form of pigment that creates their fur colour, as some individuals are known to retain an orange tinge to their white coloured fur. Like other Tigerspecies, the White Tiger has black or dark brown stripes that run vertically along it's body, the pattern of which is unique to both the Tiger species and the individual. Along with the change in fur colour, the gene carried by the White Tiger's parents also means that they have blue eyes rather than the green or yellow coloured eyes of normal Bengal Tigers. Despite the beauty of the White Tiger's fur, it does in fact give these individuals a disadvantage as they are not so easily camouflaged into the surrounding jungle.

Across all of Asia, once vast forests have fallen for timber or conversion to agriculture. Only small islands of forest surrounded by a growing and relatively poor human population are left. As forest space is reduced, the number of animals left in the forest is also reduced, and tigers cannot find the prey they need to survive. As a result, tigers begin to eat the livestock of villagers who live near them. Sometimes tigers even attack humans. People sometimes kill the tigers in order to protect themselves and their livestock. As human populations move farther into the forest, groups of tigers become separated from each other by villages and farms. This means that tigers in one area can no longer mate with tigers in nearby areas. Instead, tigers must breed repeatedly with the same small group of animals. Over time, this inbreeding weakens the gene pool, and tigers are born with birth defects and mutations.

In it's natural environment, the White Tiger has no predators due to the fact that it is such a big and powerful animal itself. They are however severely affected by people and have been for hundreds of years, as they have been both captured and hunted for their beauty, and have lost a significant chunk of their historical range to deforestation for both growing Human settlements and agriculture. With the loss in forest, there is also a decline in the White Tiger's prey so populations are becoming increasingly harder to sustain. The fact that the few Bengal Tigers that remain in the wild are becoming more and more isolated means that there is less of a chance that White Tigers will be produced, and this coupled with the severe declines in population numbers could mean that White Tigers have disappeared from the wild forever.

Since they were first brought into captivity, White Tigers have been interbred by Humans in a business that is morally questionable and purely profit based. Since then, this already rare animalis thought to have disappeared completely as there have been no confirmed White Tiger reports since the mid 1900s. Although it is simply a question of two gene carrying individuals mating, the fact that people have hunted them and taken over much of their natural habitat, means that the chances of this happening are not very high. There is an issue however, with increasing instances of Bengal Tigers actually entering Human settlements which causes problems between the Tiger and the villagers. Due to the fact that Tigers are becoming increasingly more vulnerable animals, it is illegal to shoot them and so they often return to the same village night after night.

Even though it is illegal to kill a tiger, wild tigers are still being poached today because their bones, whiskers and other body parts can be sold on the black market for a lot of money. Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine because some people believe that tiger parts have special powers. Forestry and wildlife departments are too understaffed and under budgeted to be effective against the onslaught of poachers. While the exact number of tigers being poached is unknown, some sources have estimated that one tiger a day is being killed in India.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Magnificent Japanese Sea Lion Of The Genus Zalophus Japonicus Is Believed To Be Extinct

Japanese Sea Lion
Until 2003, the Japanese Sea Lion was considered to be a relative of the California Sea Lion. Marine biologists categorized the genus as Zalophus californianus japonicus. However, reclassification became inevitable, under the dictates of taxonomist debates on the distant habitation preferences, differences in morphology and DNA and behavior patterns exhibited by the wollebaeki, japonicus and californianus sub-species. The Japanese Sea Lion inhabited the coastal areas of the Japanese Archipelago, along the Sea of Japan, and the Korean Peninsula. These sea lions primarily inhabited both sides of the Pacific Ocean and were a common sight even along the Kuril Islands, right up to the southernmost tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. There are a number of places around the region that still bear witness to the magnificence of the Japanese Sea Lion through their names. The coast line of Japan has places such as Asahikawa, which translates to 'sea lion rock' and Inubosaki point or the 'dog-barking point'. The latter gets its name from the distinct dog-bark-like howl associated with the Japanese Sea Lion.

The species thrived on the open and flat, sandy beaches and rocky coves, whenever the need arose. The typical male Japanese Sea Lion weighed more than 550 kg and reached a length of around 2.5 meters. It was dark gray in color and visibly larger than their Californian counterparts. The females grew to a length of around 1.6 meters and flaunted a visibly lighter shade of gray or brown, than the males. These mammals were fondly referred to as 'black sea lions', even though they were not melanistic or high in melanin concentration. The Japanese Sea Lion was extensively hunted for its meat and blubber or fat. The blubber was a much sort after source of fat and oil. The oil extracted from the organs and skin of the Japanese Sea Lion was also used as an important ingredient in oriental medicine. Its whiskers made good pipe cleaners, while the skin generated bags and apparel. Commercial harvesting of the Japanese Sea Lion also resulted in the mammal being sought for circus antics.

Research reveals that more than 3,000 Japanese Sea Lions were harvested at the turn of the 20th century. Overfishing brought the numbers down to a few dozens by the 1930s, but commercial harvesting only ceased when the species became extinct in the 1940s. Marine biologists also blame the submarine warfare during World War II for the destruction of their natural habitat. Records reveal that the last of the mammals were sighted by Korean coast guards in the 1950s. Maine biologists are still investigating a number of cryptid sightings on record, all through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1974, the last juvenile was captured off the coast of Rebun Island, Hokkaido. Today, stuffed specimens of Japanese Sea Lions can be observed at the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The British Museum and various museums across the Japanese Archipelago. In 1990, the species was pronounced 'extinct' on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

The numerous efforts made to reintroduce sea lions to the Sea of Japan include those made by:
  • The South Korean Ministry of Environment
  • The National Institute of Environmental Research
  • The 2007 joint research venture between China, North and South Korea and Russia
The South Korean Ministry of Environment is currently funding research and support for the revival of sea lions along the coast of Japan. The extinction of the mammal has affected the associated symbolism in Japan, making restoration of the species a national concern. The pelt and skull specimens continue to intrigue visitors at these exhibitions and question our responsibility towards the survival of the ecosystem.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Several Fascinating Aspects Of The Life Of Chipmunks

Chipmunks are small rodents native to the continents of North America and Asia. Owing to their small size, large glossy eyes, stripes, and bushy tail, these small rodents look quite similar to squirrels. There are 25 sub-species of chipmunks, from which Palmer's chipmunk is listed as 'vulnerable' in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) list of threatened species. There are several fascinating aspects of the life of these creatures; one such aspect is the chipmunks habitat.

Chipmunks Habitat
Although the vast habitat of chipmunks ranges from Asia to North America, most of the chipmunk species are found in North America itself. The Siberian Chipmunk, found all over the northern Asia i.e., central Russia to China, Korea and Japan, is an exception though. In the American continent, the chipmunks habitat is spread all throughout the diverse surroundings, ranging from alpine forests to shrubby deserts, from Canada in the north to Mexico in the south. Unlike squirrels, chipmunks spend most of their time on the ground. The burrows built by these chipmunks are complete with several chambers, and tunnels joining these chambers. Other than for living, the chipmunks also use these burrows to store their food. However, some species of chipmunks do prefer to stay on trees, among the logs, or in the bushes.

Being food gatherers, chipmunks prefer an environment characterized by rocks, logs, bushes and dense undergrowth. This also helps them to save themselves from birds of prey like hawks, predatory animals like foxes and coyotes, and their urban predator - the house cat. Being omnivores, most often chipmunks feed on nuts, berries, seeds, and grains, but at times they are also known to feed on insects and eggs of birds. They also store this food in their burrows as a backup food source for cold winters. They transport this food by carrying it in their mouth. Chipmunks do hibernate, but they don't store fats. Instead they use their store of nuts collected throughout the year as food during hibernation.

Chipmunks don't require to drink water so often as they get the required amount of water from their food itself. They are solitary in nature. An individual chipmunks range is spread over an area of half an acre, but when it comes to defending their area, adult males are only concerned with an area of about 50 meters around the burrow entrance.

Chipmunks Adaptations
Over time, chipmunks have adapted well to the climate of the places where they are found. In order to save themselves from cold winters, chipmunks are known to go into hibernation for several months. During this hibernation period, they tend to sustain on the food stored in their burrows. This adaptation has allowed these mammals to increase their survival rate and be least concerned about finding food in snow. If you would like to keep chipmunks as pets in your yard, you can create a nourishing environment for them by preparing a pile of rocks or logs which are important for an ideal chipmunks habitat.

Fascinating Chipmunks Facts
If you thought that the habitat of a chipmunk was interesting, then these facts about chipmunks will truly amaze you. Here are some odd and interesting facts about chipmunks.
  • The chipmunk is called the 'chipmunk' owing to the chipping noises this rodent species tend to make with their teeth.
  • The Eastern chipmunk is considered to be larger than most of the western species of chipmunks.
  • On an average, a single chipmunk is known to store as much as 8 lbs of food in its burrow.
  • Chipmunks are believed to have a lifespan on 2-3 years in the wild and 5-8 years in captivity.
  • A species of chipmunks, the Eastern Chipmunks usually mate twice a year - during early spring and during summer or early fall.
  • Yet another species, the Red-tailed Chipmunk is known to indulge in a dirt bath as a favorite pass time.
  • The Panamint Chipmunk species are found in areas of high heat and barren conditions wherein no other chipmunk species can possibly survive.
  • The Eastern chipmunk has two grinding teeth less than other species of chipmunks.
  • On an average, the chipmunks tend to take around 75 breaths per minute.
  • A chipmunk can carry approximately nine nuts in its mouth at a time.
  • Chipmunks are believed to communicate through a series of noises, body posturing and scents emitted from their scent glands.
This was a brief account of chipmunks habitat and some interesting facts about these cute animals. With so many fascinating things to their credit, it's not surprising to see that chipmunks have also become a part of popular culture. They do seem to have something in them, after all not many members of the animal kingdom have made it big in Hollywood.