Tag Archive | "animal"

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Who is the King of the Earth?

Posted on 04 June 2012 by RE Team

Various animals and species have been capturing the imagination of Humans since the beginning of the civilization due to their majestic powers.  Myhtology and history of Human beings usually referred to various animals as the kings. The limitation on  geographical and biological knowledge caused various civilizations to accept different animals as the King.

We have compiled a list of animals that can be considered as the most powerful in various nature kingdoms. There can’t be an absolute definition to the crown in Natural world, so the list is open for debate!

King of the Animal Kingdom on Land - The Lion has been considered as the King of the animals by most of the civilizations for it’s Majestic look, strength and top predatory nature. But unfortunately once well spread across the globe, the King is currently confined to only African Savannah and India. The Lion can grow beyond 300 kg in weight and 9 feet in length(excluding tail). The mane of the male Lion gives it a royal look making it the King of all the animals. Lion takes the top position in the predator list and no other animal keeps the strength to kill a full grown Lion.

 

Lion - King of the Animals

 

Though Lion is the King of  animals, it lives only in Savannah, there is another distant relative of it who rules the dense Jungles of Earth. Yes, it is the biggest of all big cats, Tiger.  With black stripes on rusty reddish or brown coat and the white fringes around it’s face make the Tiger attractive and very much different from others. A large tiger may weigh more than 350 kg and more than 12 feet in length (excluding tail). Tiger is the most powerful and intelligent hunter in the jungle and is unbeatable.

The King of the sky is the giant Eagles in various part in the world. The Philippine Eagle in South-East Asia, Steller’s Sea Eagle in the coastal region of Asia, The Wedged-tailed Eagle in Australia, Martial Eagle in Africa and Harpy Eagle in America are rulers of the sky in their respective regions. They are expert hunters and the most powerful as no other species can beat them in the sky.  The Steller’s Sea Eagle which the heaviest among them can grow beyond 9 kgs in weight.  These eagles have body lengths of more than 1 meter and can have wingspan of 3 meter (Wedged-tailed and Martial).

The King of the Oceans is Killer Whale or Orca. Though blue whale is the largest animal in the Oceans and White Shark is the largest and sharpest predatory fish, Killer Whale is known to even kill both of them. This mammal is gigantic in size and is equally intelligent and powerful hunter. They are known to hunt seals, sea lions, dolphins and at times large blue and grey whale and also giant white shark. There is no species in the sea water that kill this King.

And at last the King of the whole planet Earth, whether it’s land or water or sky, is Homo Sapien or Human due to their intelligence. No other species can even close human. They are a keepers of the planet and have the responsibility to save all other species.

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Saola – The Discovery and Threats

Posted on 04 June 2012 by RE Team

In May 1992, Vietnamese and Foreign Biologists were taken by surprise by the discovery of three pairs of horns. These were horns of trophies killed by the local people of central Vietnam’s Vu Quang Nature reserve. The biologists were on field survey in the area. The size of the horns suggested about the existence of a large animal completely unknown to the outside world.

 

Saola - courtesy WWF

 

This discovery took the science community by shock. It was believed that after centuries of exploration by explorers across deserts, rainforests of the planet with even high technology left no place or large species unkown to the science.

After this discovery, scientists did extensive research in the area. In next few years this research led to the discovery of 20 partial specimen of this species, including three complete skin and several photos. Researchers were also able to trap the species in remotely set camera in the rain forests. With all these evidences, scientists came to the conclusion that this is a completely new species and it was named as Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis).

Saola was name already local people have been referring to this animal .  Sao means Spindle and La means post. The generic name Pseudoryx , of the species refers to slightly curved, backward-sweeping horns, resembling to those Oryxes found in Africa and Arabia. Saola is very distantly related to these arid-adapted antelopes though. The specific name of the scientific name   refers to efers to the two Vietnamese provinces Nghe An and Ha Tinh close to where it was found.

The saola stands about 85 cm at the shoulder and weighs approximately 90-100 kg.   The coat is a dark brown with a black stripe along the back. Its legs are darkish and there are white patches on the feet, and white stripes vertically across the cheeks, on the eyebrows and splotches on the nose and chin. All saolas have slightly backward-curved horns, which grow to half a meter in length. The genetic analysis reveals that it is a primitive member of the cattle family.

All known locations for the species are mountainous with steep river valleys, covered by evergreen or semideciduous forests between 300 – 1800 m (1000 – 6000′), with low human disturbance.  It is only found in the foothill of the Tuong Son range. Its distribution within this known ranges is uneven and fragmented in small patches. This range occurs in the border between Laos and Vietnam. It stays in the higher elevations during the wetter summer season, when streams at these altitudes have plenty of water, and moves down to the lowlands during the winter, when the mountain streams dry up.

Even after two decades of discovery, very little known about this large mammal. In the discovery article of Saola, the team proposed  a three months survey to observe the living animal. But Even after intense efforts, scientists have not been able to see a Saola in wild in its natural setting yet! Most of the information on the Saola is gathered from photos and local people’ knowledge.

Local people have reported having seen saola traveling in groups of two or three, rarely more.  Villagers say that the ox eats the leaves of fig trees and other bushes along riverbanks. Saola mark their territories by opening up a fleshy flap on their snout to reveal scent glands. They subsequently rub the underside against objects leaving a musky, pungent paste. The saolas’ colossal scent glands are thought to be the largest of any living mammal.

Though very little known about Saola, one thing is certain that its in a very critically threatened state. In 1994 IUCN listed the species as “Endangered”. But in 2006 its given “Critically Endangered” status due to reducing population.  The animal can’t survive in captivity. All efforts to keep in captivity have failed, the latest being late August 2010.  A Saola was captured by villagers in Laos but died in captivity before government conservationists could arrange for it to be released back in to the wild.

The actual size of the remaining population is unknown and its rarity, distinctiveness and vulnerability make it one of the greatest priorities for conservation in the region. The current population is thought to be a few hundred at maximum and possibly only a few dozen at a minimum.

In April 2011, a reserve was declared to help protect saolas. The Quang Nam’s People Committee inaugurated the Quang Nam Saola Nature Reserve in the Annamite mountains along the border of Vietnam and Laos.  This recent development has created hope for this extremely rare mammal in the world.

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MOST CONCERNED ENDANGERED SPECIES

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