tsingy de bemaraha national park, a unesco world heritage site in western madagascar, is home to lemurs who, with thick pads on their hands and feet, navigate this six hundred square kilometer labyrinth of three hundred foot tall razor sharp limestone pillars.
photographer stephen alvarez (previously featured) remarked, “it’s an unbelievable experience to watch them [as] they jump like acrobats from the sharp pinnacles” — a feat made more remarkable given the vast chasm bellow.
in the malagasy language, tsingy means “where one cannot walk barefoot,” and alvarez noted that that given the difficulty of the terrain, it takes an entire day to walk half a mile.
nearly impenetrable, the area is described as a refuge within paradise. lemurs, like ninety percent of the species in madagascar, are endemic to the island, and thanks to the isolation of the refuge have evolved into tsingy’s eleven distinct species, including the decken’s sifaka seen here.
Posts tagged endangered species.
the great bear rainforest in british columbia is one of the largest coastal temperate rain forests in the world, with twenty five thousand square miles of mist shrouded fjords and densely forested islands that are home to black bears with white fur.
neither albino nor polar bear, these rare black bears (there are fewer than five hundred) are known as kermode bears, or what the gitga’at first nation call mooksgm’ol, the spirit bear — a word no first nations person spoke of to european fur traders lest they be discovered and hunted. to this day, it remains taboo to hunt a spirit bear, or to mention them to outsiders.
the white fur in these bears is triggered by a recessive mutation of the same gene associated with red hair and fair skin in humans. though it remains unclear as to how the trait arose (or disappeared), it is especially pronounced on certain islands, and is known to confer a day time fishing advantage over the black furred bears (consider the first photo).
aldelie penguins spend their (austral) winters in the seas surrounding the antarctic pack ice - about 4,000km from their southern spring breeding grounds - where they fatten on krill. the krill feed on phytoplankton beneath the icebergs, but warming waters due to climate change has reduced their numbers by up to 80 percent as the plankton, which are now unable to access cold water nutrients, are dying off.
adelies are the most southern living penguin, but head north as the summer ends to escape the protracted darkness of the winter. a warming climate, however, has meant a reduced northern icepack, and has seen the encroachment of other penguins onto their southern summer territory who previously found it too cold. the adelie population northeast of the ross sea, for example, has declined by 90 percent.
as one adelie expert put it, these penguins face possible extinction not merely by a loss of habitat, but by an unshakable fear of darkness; adelies need light, if only twilight, to forage and navigate, and as comfort against predators. but as they are pushed further south they may ultimately find themselves trapped behind a curtain of polar night for which they have no hardwired strategy.
Scientists identify 2,370 ‘irreplaceable’ places
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a new study calculates the ‘irreplaceability’ of ecosystems and ranks their importance to threatened or endangered species.
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Brian Skerry photographs the results of commercial bluefin tuna fishing in the mediterranean. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that each year, 4.4 million sharks and 90,000 turtles are unintentionally caught as bycatch from unregulated commercial tuna fisheries using long lines and drift nets. A shark caught in a net will suffocate to death. Shark numbers have declined by as much as 80 per cent worldwide, with a third of all species now threatened by extinction (pew charitable trusts)
Plastic removed from the intestine of a green sea turtle. Endangered green turtles are ingesting more man-made debris, including potentially lethal plastic products, than ever before, a new Australian study has shown | image by Kathy Townsend
native to indonesia and malaysia, orangutans are currently found only in the rainforests of borneo and sumatra. the world wildlife fund lists the borneo orangutan as endangered and her sumatran cousin as severely endangered. the IUCN estimates that in a decade the orangutan will be extinct.
from 1992-2000, the population of the sumatran orangutan declined by more than 50%, with only an estimated 7,000 animals left in the wild, while the bornean orangutan population fell nearly 43% in the past decade, with estimates placing their population between 12,000 and 15,000.
products like shampoo, ice cream, margarine, lipstick, and most processed foods contain palm oil. since more than half the world’s palm oil comes from indonesia - much of it at the expense of orangutan habitat - the cheyenne mountain zoo has created a free app to help you chose orangutan friendly products.
I’m a day late. So what? Every day is orangutan day.
if you don’t spend at least 330 days of the year thinking of orangutan conservation you’re living your life wrong