The pygmy hog is a critically endangered suid spread across Bhutan and Nepal, but now only found in India. The current world population is fewer. Recent conservation measures have improved the prospects of survival in the wild of this critically endangered species, they stand at 20 -- 30 cm, with a tail of 2.5 cm. They weigh 6.6–11.8 kg. Their skin is dark brownish-black and the hair is dark. Piglets are born becoming brown with yellow stripes along the body length, their heads are tapered and they have a slight crest of hair on their foreheads and on the back of their necks. Adult males have the upper canines visible on the sides of their mouths, they live for about eight years. They breed seasonally before the monsoons giving birth to a litter of three to six after a gestation of 100 days. In the wild, they make small nests by lining it with vegetation. During the heat of the day, they stay within these nests, they feed on roots, insects and small reptiles. The species was first described as the only member of the genus Porcula, by Brian Houghton Hodgson but was moved with other pig species in the genus Sus and named Sus salvanius.
A 2007 genetic analysis of the variation in a large section of mitochondrial DNA suggested that the original classification of the pygmy hog as a distinct genus was justified. The resurrection of the original genus status and the species name Porcula salvania has been adopted by GenBank; the species name salvania is after the sal forests. The pygmy hog is the sole representative of Porcula, making the conservation of this critically endangered species more important, as its extinction would result in the loss of a unique evolutionary branch of pigs, they used to be widespread in the tall, wet grasslands in the southern Himalayan foothills from Uttar Pradesh to Assam, through Nepal and north Bengal. However, human encroachment has destroyed the natural habitat of the pygmy hog by development, domestic grazing, deliberate fires. Only one viable population remains in the Manas National Park, but there, threats due to livestock grazing, poaching and tigers persist; the total wild population has been estimated as less than 150 animals and the species is listed as "critically endangered".
Their rarity contrasts with the massive population of wild boars in India. Conservation of the species has been hampered by the lack of public support, unlike that for charismatic South Asian mammals such as the Bengal tiger or Indian rhinoceros. Local political unrest in the area has severely hampered effective conservation efforts, but these conflicts have now ceased.. The pygmy hog is designated as a Schedule I species in India under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and offences against them invite heavy penalties. Pygmy hogs were exhibited in the zoos of Berlin in the 19th century. However, this captivity was not aimed at conservation, none of the captive populations survived. Zürich Zoo exhibited pygmy hogs from 1976 to 1978; the success of captive breeding increased after the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme was established in 1995. The PHCP was established under the umbrella of a formal'International Conservation Management and Research Agreement' by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the IUCN's Pigs and Hippo Specialist Group, the Forest Department, Government of Assam, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has launched a comprehensive conservation strategy including field status surveys of pygmy hogs and their habitats, behavioural studies, personnel training, local community awareness and assistance programmes, the establishment of a successful captive-breeding programme at the Pygmy Hog Research and Breeding Centre in Assam. Active habitat management has been established and a reintroduction programme has now been launched.. Bibhuti Lahkar Conservation Biologist Pygmy hog-sucking louse Palawan bearded pig Bornean bearded pig Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme Entry on "Pygmy Hog - Sus salvanius".
Menagerie Manor is a book by Gerald Durrell, published in 1964. The book is a collection of pen portraits of some of the creatures of Gerald Durrell's Zoo - and some of the lessons Durrell learned about making real and sustaining his childhood ambition of having his own Zoo, it opened on March 26, 1959. The Manor of the title is Les Augrès Manor in Trinity, Jersey
The aye-aye is a lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar that combines rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. It is the world's largest nocturnal primate, it is characterized by its unusual method of finding food: it taps on trees to find grubs gnaws holes in the wood using its forward slanting incisors to create a small hole in which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. This foraging method is called percussive foraging, takes up 5–41% of foraging time; the only other animal species known to find food in this way is the striped possum. From an ecological point of view, the aye-aye fills the niche of a woodpecker, as it is capable of penetrating wood to extract the invertebrates within; the aye-aye is the only extant member of the genus family Daubentoniidae. It is classified as Endangered by the IUCN; the genus Daubentonia was named after the French naturalist Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton by his student, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, in 1795.
Geoffroy considered using the Greek name Scolecophagus in reference to its eating habits, but he decided against it because he was uncertain about the aye-aye's habits and whether other related species might be discovered. In 1863, British zoologist John Edward Gray coined the family name Daubentoniidae; the French naturalist Pierre Sonnerat was the first to use the vernacular name "aye-aye" in 1782 when he described and illustrated the lemur, though it was called the "long-fingered lemur" by English zoologist George Shaw in 1800—a name that did not stick. According to Sonnerat, the name "aye-aye" was a "cri d'exclamation & d'étonnement". However, American paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall noted in 1982 that the name resembles the Malagasy name "hai hai" or "hay hay", used around the island. According to Dunkel et al. in 2012, the widespread use of the Malagasy name indicates that the name could not have come from Sonnerat. Another hypothesis proposed by Simons and Meyers in 2001 is that it derives from "heh heh", Malagasy for "I don't know".
If correct the name might have originated from Malagasy people saying "heh heh" to avoid saying the name of a feared, magical animal. Due to its derived morphological features, the classification of the aye-aye has been debated since its discovery; the possession of continually growing incisors parallels those of rodents, leading early naturalists to mistakenly classify the aye-aye within the mammalian order Rodentia and as a squirrel, due to its toes, hair coloring, tail. However, the aye-aye is similar to felines in its head shape, eyes and nostrils; the aye-aye's classification with the order Primates has been just as uncertain. It has been considered a derived member of the family Indridae, a basal branch of the strepsirrhine suborder, of indeterminate relation to all living primates. In 1931, Anthony and Coupin classified the aye-aye under infraorder Chiromyiformes, a sister group to the other strepsirrhines. Colin Groves upheld this classification in 2005 because he was not convinced the aye-aye formed a clade with the rest of the Malagasy lemurs, despite molecular tests that had shown Daubentoniidae was basal to all Lemuriformes, deriving from the same lemur ancestor that rafted to Madagascar during the Paleocene or Eocene.
In 2008, Russell Mittermeier, Colin Groves, others ignored addressing higher-level taxonomy by defining lemurs as monophyletic and containing five living families, including Daubentoniidae. Further evidence indicating that the aye-aye belongs in the superfamily Lemuroidea can be inferred from the presence of petrosal bullae encasing the ossicles of the ear. However, the bones may have some resemblance to those of rodents; the aye-ayes are similar to lemurs in their shorter back legs. The species has an average head and body length of 14–17 inches plus a tail of 22–24 inches, weighs around 4 pounds. Young aye-ayes are silver colored on their front and have a stripe down their back. However, as the aye-ayes begin to reach maturity, their bodies will be covered in thick fur and are not one solid color. On the head and back, the ends of the hair are tipped with white while the rest of the body will ordinarily be a yellow and/or brown color. In length, a full-grown aye-aye is about three feet long with a tail as long as its body.
Among the aye-aye's signature traits are its fingers. The third finger, thinner than the others, is used for tapping, while the fourth finger, the longest, is used for pulling bugs out of trees; the middle finger is unique in. The complex geometry of ridges on the inner surface of aye-aye ears helps to focus not only echolocation signals from the tapping of its finger, but to passively listen for any other sound produced by the prey; these ridges can be regarded as the acoustic equivalent of a Fresnel lens, may be seen in a large variety of unrelated animals, such as lesser galago, bat-eared fox, mouse lemur, others. Females have two nipples located in the region of the groin; the aye-aye is a nocturnal and arboreal animal meaning that it spends most of its life high in the trees. Although they are known to come down to the ground on occasion, aye-ayes sleep, eat and mate in the trees and are most found close to the canopy where there is plenty of cover from the dense foliage. During the day, aye-ayes sleep in spherical nests in the forks of tree branch
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
The Mauritius kestrel is a bird of prey from the family Falconidae endemic to the forests of Mauritius, where it is restricted to the southwestern plateau's forests and ravines. It is the most distinct of the Indian Ocean kestrels, it colonized its island home to evolve into a distinct species during the Gelasian. It is the most distant living species among the western Indian Ocean kestrels, it can reach a size between 30.5 cm. The weight is up to 250 grams; the males are smaller than the females. Wingspan is 45 cm and wings are rounded, unlike those of other falcons; the lifespan is 15 years in captivity. The Mauritius kestrel hunts by means of swift flights through forests, it is carnivorous, eating geckos, cicadas, cockroaches and small birds. In pre-colonial time the population was estimated between 325 breeding pairs; this small population was caused most by deforestation in the 18th century and by cyclones. But the most severe decline was in the 1950s and 1960s due to indiscriminate DDT use and invasive species like cats and crab-eating macaques which killed the kestrels and their eggs.
What was this species' closest relative in Recent times, the Réunion kestrel, became extinct around 1700 for mysterious reasons. The recorded population dropped to an all-time low of only 4 individuals in 1974 and it was considered the rarest bird in the world. Stanley Temple from Cornell University studied this species for two years and the first attempt in 1973 to breed the birds in captivity failed because the hatchling died when the incubator had a breakdown. Though conservation measures were undertaken with the help of a breeding program by the Jersey Zoo, the efforts to rescue this species failed because the eggs were not fertile. In 1979 a new attempt was undertaken. With the help of Gerald Durrell, the Welsh biologist Carl Jones established a wildlife sanctuary on Ile aux Aigrettes, he removed the eggs from the nests. This time the eggs were fertile, Jones was able to rear the hatchlings in incubators; the wild kestrels' diet was supplemented so they would be able to lay a new egg after the first one was removed, averting any negative impact on the wild population.
The population increased and during a census in 1984 50 individuals were estimated. Techniques for breeding, "hacking" of young birds were improved, the captive breeding center becoming a pioneering research institution for tropical raptor and small falcon conservation; the captive breeding programme was scaled back in the early 1990s as a self-sustaining population was established. Since 1994, the programme serves only as a safeguard, should some catastrophe befall the wild population, other rare endemics are now being cared for at the station. In 2005, there were at least 800 mature birds, they occur in the remaining forests of the island in the Black River Gorges region. The species was downlisted to vulnerable by the IUCN in 1994 as releases of captive-bred birds became unnecessary. Little conservation action was deemed necessary only two decades - in Mauritius kestrel terms, a long lifetime or maybe 4-5 generations - after the species had stood at the brink of extinction. Today, apart from routine monitoring to be able to assist individual couples that fail to establish breeding territories for lack of nesting facilities - a major limiting factor, the ongoing control of introduced predators is all, being done to assist the species' survival.
In 2014, the species was uplisted to endangered due to a decline in a once increasing population. It is believed. While some apparent inbreeding depression was noted in the captive birds, it was lower than might be expected given that the effective population size was maybe 5 individuals during the mid-1970s, it is known that several genetic lineages of Mauritius kestrels have disappeared during the 20th century population decline. However, the debilitating effects of DDT accumulation on the birds' health, not inbreeding, are considered to have been the major cause for the failure of Temple's breeding program; the evolutionary history of the birds seems to hold clues as to why: Mauritius is a volcanic island, although the colonization of the island by kestrels cannot be dated with high precision, it was certainly some time before volcanic activity died down. The Mauritius kestrel population seems to have survived a prolonged period of volcanic activity, which must have kept the population small and fluctuating as habitat and kestrels were destroyed by volcanic eruptions time and again.
As near-panmictic conditions were sustained for many generations, alleles that might cause inbreeding depression were removed by means of natural selection. The phenomenon that effective population sizes as low as 4-5 can be tolerated without pronounced inbreeding depression is known from other small-island birds, such as Petroica traversi or the Laysan duck; the classification as an endangered species is due to the same fact: on an island as small as Mauritius, chance events like volcanic eruptions or storms can always wipe out major parts of a species' population. BirdLife International: Mauritius Kestr
Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The genus Gorilla is divided into two species: the eastern gorillas and the western gorillas, either four or five subspecies, they are the largest living primates. The DNA of gorillas is similar to that of humans, from 95 to 99% depending on what is included, they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos. Gorillas' natural habitats cover subtropical forests in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Sub-Saharan Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations; the mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200 to 4,300 metres. Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.
The word "gorilla" comes from the history of Hanno the Navigator, a Carthaginian explorer on an expedition on the west African coast to the area that became Sierra Leone. Members of the expedition encountered "savage people, the greater part of whom were women, whose bodies were hairy, whom our interpreters called Gorillae"; the word was later used as the species name, though it is unknown whether what these ancient Carthaginians encountered were gorillas, another species of ape or monkeys, or humans. The American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage and naturalist Jeffries Wyman first described the western gorilla in 1847 from specimens obtained in Liberia; the name was derived from Ancient Greek Γόριλλαι, described by Hanno. The closest relatives of gorillas are the other two Homininae genera and humans, all of them having diverged from a common ancestor about 7 million years ago. Human gene sequences differ only 1.6% on average from the sequences of corresponding gorilla genes, but there is further difference in how many copies each gene has.
Until gorillas were considered to be a single species, with three subspecies: the western lowland gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla. There is now agreement that there are each with two subspecies. More a third subspecies has been claimed to exist in one of the species; the separate species and subspecies developed from a single type of gorilla during the Ice Age, when their forest habitats shrank and became isolated from each other. Primatologists continue to explore the relationships between various gorilla populations; the species and subspecies listed here are the ones upon. The proposed third subspecies of Gorilla beringei, which has not yet received a trinomen, is the Bwindi population of the mountain gorilla, sometimes called the Bwindi gorilla; some variations that distinguish the classifications of gorilla include varying density, hair colour, length and facial widths. Population genetics of the lowland gorillas suggest that the western and eastern lowland populations diverged ~261 thousand years ago.
Gorillas move around by knuckle-walking, although they sometimes walk bipedally for short distances while carrying food or in defensive situations, some Mountain Gorillas use other parts of their hand to aid locomotion. Wild male gorillas weigh 136 to 195 kg, while adult females weigh about half as much as adult males at 68–113 kg. Adult males are 1.4 to 1.8 m tall, with an arm span that stretches from 2.3 to 2.6 m. Female gorillas are shorter at 1.25 to 1.5 m, with smaller arm spans. Groves calculates that average weight of the 47 wild adult male gorillas is 143 kg, while Smith and Jungers found that the average weight of the 19 wild adult male gorillas is 169 kg. Adult male gorillas are known as silverbacks due to the characteristic silver hair on their backs reaching to the hips; the tallest gorilla recorded was a 1.95 m silverback with an arm span of 2.7 m, a chest of 1.98 m, a weight of 219 kg, shot in Alimbongo, northern Kivu in May 1938. The heaviest gorilla recorded was a 1.83 m silverback shot in Ambam, which weighed 267 kg.
Males in captivity are noted to be capable of reaching weights up to 310 kg. Gorilla facial structure is described as mandibular prognathism, that is, the mandible protrudes farther out than the maxilla. Adult males have a prominent sagittal crest; the eastern gorilla is more darkly coloured than the western gorilla, with the mountain gorilla being the darkest of all. The mountain gorilla has the thickest hair; the western lowland gorilla can grayish with a reddish forehead. In addition, gorillas that live in lowland forests are more slender and agile than the more bulky mountain gorillas; the eastern gorilla has a longer face and broader chest than the western gorilla. Studies have shown gorilla blood is not reactive to anti-A and anti-B monoclonal antibodies, which would, in humans, indicate type O blood. Due to novel sequences, though, it is different enough to not conform with the human ABO blood group system, into which the other great apes fit. L
The Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods by British naturalist and author Gerald Durrell is the third book in his autobiographical "Corfu trilogy," following My Family and Other Animals and Birds and Relatives. This book is a humorous description of events that took place on the Greek island of Corfu between the years 1935 and 1939; the youngest in his family, Gerald was ten years of age when his widowed mother, Louisa Florence Durrell, moved the remaining family: son Leslie Durrell, daughter, Margaret Durrell, from Bournemouth to join her eldest son Lawrence Durrell and his wife Nancy on the island. The author describes his many exploits catching, making pets of, the local fauna, the subsequent effects on his family, they are featured as major characters. Other characters from the previous books appear here, such as Spiro, Theodore Stephanides, Mr Kralefsky, he describes the new and colourful characters of Lumis Bean, Harry Bunny, Prince Jeejeebuoy, Count Rossignol. The Garden of the Gods was first published in 1978 by William Collins Sons & Co.
Ltd, in the United States as Fauna and Family by Simon and Schuster