Tag: mammals

Babirusa: Conserving the Bizarre Pig of the Sulawesi Forest

The babirusa may be one of the coolest and most bizarre animals around. But even those formidable tusks can’t protect it from poaching and deforestation.

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Bison Good, Cattle Bad? A Prairie Ecologist’s Perspective

Among some prairie enthusiasts, bison are magical beings while cattle are vile creatures. The reality? The differences may not be as great as you think, writes prairie ecologist Chris Helzer.

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Zumwalt Prairie: Mountain Lions, Mountain Quail & More

Camera Trap Chronicles heads to northeastern Oregon’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve for a “backstage pass” to see the lives of big predators, cool birds, roaming herds and more.

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The Myth of Suicidal Lemmings

It’s one of the most enduring wildlife images: thousands of lemmings following each other over a cliff. One problem: it’s not true. The real story of lemming migrations and “mass suicides.”

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The Amazing Lemming: The Rodent Behind the Snowy Owl Invasion?

Lemmings shape nearly every aspect of arctic ecosystems. Could their recent abundance also be a key factor in the snowy owl invasion occurring in the eastern United States?

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Bear Nap by the Camera Trap

Does a bear sleep in the woods? Camera Trap Chronicles features a time-lapse video of a black bear’s ten hour nap underneath a camera trap.

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How Will the Polar Vortex Affect Wildlife?

The “polar vortex” that is bringing frigid temperatures to much of the United States is miserable for people. But how do wild animals cope with these extreme conditions?

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Traveling Naturalist: Spotting Wild Jaguars

What naturalist wouldn’t want to see a wild jaguar? There’s one place where observing these big cats isn’t a quixotic quest, but a realistic expectation. A journey to the extensive wetlands and rivers of Brazil’s Pantanal.

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Camera Trap Chronicles: The Mathews Mountains of Kenya

A camera trap survey in the Mathews Mountains of Kenya reveals mammals great and small. Join expedition Tim Boucher for a look at some of the most exciting photos and video of hyenas, lions and more.

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Rudolph Versus Bambi: A Conservation Story

Rudolph versus Bambi? No, it’s not the worst holiday special ever. It’s a real struggle between endangered woodland caribou and too-abundant white-tailed deer along the U.S./Canada border. “Bambi” is winning. Can conservationists do anything about it?

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Camera Trap Chronicles: Wildlife of North Idaho’s Working Forests

Grizzly bears and moose and flying squirrels, oh my. Check out the critters captured via camera trap images on Conservancy projects in North Idaho.

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Hope on the Prairie: The Black-Footed Ferret Returns to Colorado

Once feared extinct, black-footed ferrets were rescued by an extensive and successful captive breeding program. Conservation manager Matt Moorhead is there to see firsthand the results of that program, as ferrets return to Colorado after a 100-year absence.

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Field Notes: A Bison Herd Without Raging Bulls?

Does removing the oldest, most dominant bulls from a bison population affect breeding and herd behavior? It’s the latest chapter in the extensive research of these animals at Ordway Prairie.

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Boucher’s Birding Blog: Mamba Meets Bushbaby

Sometimes when you go birding, you can’t help but see other animals – elephants, army ants, beautiful butterflies.

Occasionally, if you get out early (as birders always do), you can get to a park before the crowds and you might see something really special (and, in this case, gruesome).

In January, we traveled to Ghana for some superb birding. Our visit included the famous canopy walkway at the Kakum National Park near the Ivory Coast. The seven bridges strung high up in the trees usually teem with visitors who have no appreciation of the amazing birdlife.

They might notice the monkeys, but for most, the canopy walkway is just a low-tech amusement ride. They shriek as they bounce from one platform to the next on the narrow, swaying  wooden planks.

We arrived very early, our guide having arranged for the park to admit us before the regular opening hour.  We were the first visitors on the path that climbs to the walkway.

It was barely light as we tramped up the steep hill, trying not to trip over hidden roots and rocks. As we reached a turn, we heard a ruckus near the trail – about head height — and we all peered into the tangle of vines and branches.  We had the surprise of our lives.

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A Bull Fight for Conservation

The bison bull sticks out his tongue, tests the air, and bellows: a sound part that’s lion’s roar, part rolling thunder.

Clearly agitated, the bull bellows again, then begins urinating, spraying himself frenetically. He rolls in a patch of bare earth, finally rising—covered in an aromatic blend of excrement and prairie dust.

He looks around for challengers. None seem ready to take him on—this time. For the past several weeks, though, the prairie has been alive with bison bulls bluffing, sparring and head-butting their way to be the dominant male.

All that battling is tough, exhausting work for a bison bull. But new research being conducted at The Nature Conservancy’s Samuel H. Ordway Prairie Preserve suggests this fighting – and lots of it – is key to maintaining the genetic health of bison.

Studying bison interactions may help managers make better decisions on fenced preserves and ranches — where most bison roam today.

Jon Grinell, professor of biology at Gustavus Adolphus College, has been leading student research on bison at the Ordway Prairie for six years. The effort started as animal behavior research on rutting bulls, but the scientists found that bull competition could even help ensure the long-term survival of the species.

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Forest Dilemmas

Too many deer. Logging one tree to save another. Beavers versus old growth. Welcome to forest conservation in the Anthropocene. Beginning Monday, July 21, join us for a provocative 5-part series exploring the full complexity facing forest conservation in the eastern United States.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is managed by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and edited by Bob Lalasz, its director of science communications. Email us your feedback.

Innovative Science

Investing in Seagrass
Marine scientists and fishers alike know that grass beds are valuable as nursery habitat. A new Conservancy-funded study puts a number to it.

Drones Aid Bird Conservation
How can California conservationists accurately count thousands of cranes? Enter a new tool in bird monitoring: the drone.

Creating a Climate-Smart Agriculture
Can farmers globally both adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change? A new paper answers with a definitive yes. But it won't be easy.

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