Author Archives: zoologyknowledge

Slaughter in the CAR

In the last post I wrote, “Fighting for Elephants“, I reported on a small inkling of hope for the forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in central Africa, as the central African states pledged to send 1,000 soldiers to help mitigate the rampant poaching in the area after 89 elephants were killed in Chad. Unfortunately this hope has been misplaced.

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Fighting for Elephants

Forest elephant emerging from a river, Gabon. Photo by Mike Nichols

So, after reporting about the recent paper documenting the dramatic decline of Forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in central Africa, and the horrific mass killing in Chad of 89 elephants, apparently there has been some agreement that something needs to be done.  

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Rumbles in the Jungle

Adult male forest elephant, Loango NP, Gabon. Photo by Josh Davis
Forest elephants (Loxodonta (africana) cyclotis) are one of the most beautiful animals I’ve ever had the luck to see, but a paper published this month in PLOS ONE showed that quite shockingly from 2002 to 2011, forest elephant populations have declined by huge 62%. The paper concluded that the current population sits at around “less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range”. This comes just one month after a staggering report that in Minkebe National Park, Gabon, an estimated 11,000 elephants have been killed between 2004 and 2012, averaging out at just under 4 killed per day.

The Big Blue

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are AWESOME. I dare you to disagree. As the world’s largest extant fish they can reach a staggering 12 meters in length and weigh up to 21 tonnes. Now tell me that’s not impressive. Either way, if you love them, or would love to see them turned into mega sushi, you can’t deny that a recently published paperin the open access on-line journal PLOS ONE this week is a little nugget of gold in a whole ocean of shit. It documents a newly discovered major aggregation site for this massive animal in the heart of one of the hottest most inhospitable regions on earth, the Arabian Gulf. For once a good story filtering out from the normal barrage of depressing marine news of over fishing and shark finning.
Ocean babe. And the sharks not too bad either Photo by (so OK, I lost the source for this photo, my bad. If found, please return to the comment section below)

Resurrecting the Past

Recently there has been a little bit of media attention focused on this rather innocuous looking frog from Queensland, Australia:
LBJ (Little Brown Job) frog. Photo by Owen Kelly
Meet Rheobatrachus silus, or better known as the gastric-brooding frog (well ok, better known to us zoologists). This might leave you wondering what all the fuss is about, but its one special little fellow. The more intuitive ones of you may have read its name and asked “Gastric-brooding? Really? Really?”. And basically the answer is simply, well, yes. This little frog got its name from the fact that it swallowed its eggs, incubated them in its stomach until they hatched, then ‘gave birth’ to the perfectly formed little froglets out of its mouth, like this:

There are no tigers in South America…

As a wise Wilderness Explorer once said: “A Wilderness Explorer is a friend to all, be a plant, a fish or a tiny mole!”