Animals

Great Backyard Bird Count Embraces Novices

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 30, 2004   View Article

For four days this past February, approximately a hundred thousand people all over North America braved the winter chill, stepped outside, tallied the birds in their backyards, and reported their findings over the Internet as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

The tally, reported last week, shows that the participants turned in 42,509 checklists accounting for 554 species of birds, totaling 4,304,598 individuals.

Fins to Limbs: New Fossil Gives Evolution Insight

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 1, 2004   View Article

Today researchers announced their discovery of a 365-million-year-old fossil limb bone of an ancient tetrapod. Tetrapods, including humans, are four-limbed animals with backbones. The fossil was found during road construction that revealed an ancient streambed.

Scientists say the find will help shed light on how early animals evolved limbs from fins. This crucial adaptation enabled Earth’s animal life to crawl from water to land.

Finding a Valentine Can Be Hard for Animals Too, Cameras Show

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 12, 2004   View Article

For National Geographic researchers, it’s all in the name of science, but a camera-equipped system they developed to deploy on wild animals has a certain voyeuristic quality to it.

The research tool, known as Crittercam, has been carried by all kinds of male marine mammals trying to woo their female counterparts. In a seeming testament to the plight of males throughout the animal kingdom, the Crittercam footage shows that getting a female to mate is a tough task.

Camera Worn by Lion May Aid African Conservation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 16, 2004   View Article

At more than 300 pounds (135 kilograms) of muscle and bone, a full-grown female lion can kill her prey with a single, stealthy pounce and clamp of her powerful jaws. The trick in central Kenya’s Laikipia District is to make sure the lioness’ prey is wildlife, not livestock.

“There are no formally government protected areas in Laikipia,” said Laurence Frank, a wildlife biologist at the University of California at Berkeley. “All of it is privately owned in one form or another.”

Unique Bolivia Park Begun by Indigenous People

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 13, 2004   View Article

The parched, southeastern corner of Bolivia is the unlikely home to a park that houses Latin America’s highest diversity of large mammals, and is the stage for an unusual story of protected-area creation and operation.

“The park remains the only national protected area in the Americas created as the result of an initiative by an indigenous organization,” said Michael Painter, Bolivia program director for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which has helped manage the park since its creation in 1995.

Fossils Shed Light on Africa’s “Missing Years”

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 3, 2003   View Article

A massive, ancient, rhino-like creature with two bony horns protruding from its nose and several species of distant elephant relatives are among a jackpot of fossils recovered from the highlands of Ethiopia.

The fossils help fill a huge gap in the evolutionary history of African mammals known as the “missing years,” shedding light on the origin and distribution of the famed beasts that roam Africa today.

Are Wild Jaguars Moving Back Into the U.S.?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 26, 2003   View Article

In southern Arizona, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, a heat- sensitive remote surveillance camera was recently triggered by a warm body. But it wasn’t an illegal immigrant in search of a job, or a courier in the drug trade. It was a jaguar (Panthera onca).

The photograph, taken on August 7, represents the second time in three years that the big cat has been imaged in the U.S. and it raises an intriguing question: Are jaguars seeking U.S. residency?

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach