Animals

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?

Black Bears Adapting to City Living, Study Says

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

Black bears (Ursus americanus) have efficiently adapted to the urban couch potato lifestyle, according to a recent study that compared urban and wild land bears in the Lake Tahoe region of Nevada.

Given a readily available and replenishing food resource—garbage dumpsters—the urban bears are nearly a third less active and weigh up to thirty percent more than bears living in more wild areas, biologists with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society report.

Elusive Jaguars Remain a Mystery, Even to Experts

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 25, 2003   View Article

“Yaguara,” the South American Indian word for jaguar, literally means the animal that kills in a single bound.

The elusive, spotted-coat cats secretly stalk their prey until just the right moment. Then they pounce with a graceful thud: In one leap the cats must snap their prey’s spine or else go hungry.

Baboon Study: Sociable Moms Have Healthier Young

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 13, 2003   View Article

Female baboons that enjoy the close company of others raise more successful offspring than do baboons who lead a more solitary life, according to results from an ongoing, long-term research project in Kenya.

“Social animals actually seem to spend a lot of time forming social bonds. They invest so much [effort] it’s hard to imagine that [social bonds] don’t matter. But no one had ever shown that they did,” said Susan Alberts, a biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and researcher behind the study.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach