Pictures: Saving threatened frogs

April 16th, 2011

Hand-feeding a sick Hyloscirtus colymba tree frog
Hand-feeding a sick Hyloscirtus colymba tree frog.

The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is racing to save amphibians as the deadly chytrid fungus spreads down Central America. The disease is presently between Panama City and Colon.

Juvenile Atelopus certus
Juvenile Atelopus certus.

Pristimantis species
Pristimantis species.

Undescribed Pristimantis species
Undescribed Pristimantis species.

Undescribed Pristimantis species
Juvenile Atelopus certus.

Atelopus limosus
Atelopus limosus.

More photos to come. All photos by Rhett A. Butler

Photos: tortoise dwarfed by grape, seriously

April 11th, 2011


No, this is not photoshopped: this month-old Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) is actually dwarfed by a grape.

A new resident of the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, the tortoise is the offspring of a group of tortoises seized by customs last year as a sting on the illegal pet trade. The tiny tortoise pictured weighs 0.2 ounces (6 grams), but within a decade will weigh nearly hundred times that much at 1.1 pounds (500 grams). They are the smallest tortoise in the northern hemisphere, unfortunately the Egyptian tortoise is also one of the world’s most threatened. Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the tortoise faces agricultural and industrial pressures, but has actually been decimated by the pet trade, which is now illegal. Only a few thousand survive today in the wild. Photo courtesy of ZSL


A close-up of tortoise v. grape. Photo courtesy of ZSL.

Activism: petition targets Chinese officials regarding African poaching “due to the demand of ivory and rhino horns by Chinese citizens”

April 10th, 2011

Note: mongabay.com does not endorse the action below, but believes its readers may be interested in taking action or discussing the issue in comments.


African elephant (Acinonyx jubatus) infant in Kenya. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

The organization SOS Elephants of Chad has released a petition urging the Chinese government to tackle the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade as a new article in the Global Post reports: “The growing appetite for ivory in Asia, coupled with the increasing influence of China in countries across central and southern parts of Africa, has led to more elephants being killed for their ivory tusks.”

According to the petition by SOS Elephants: “We want the Chinese authorities to take action against these killings immediately and ask the Chinese Government to set a complete ban on the import and the purchase of ivory. We want the Chinese people to know that all the ivory which they have purchased within the last 10 years has mainly been obtained from illegal killings of elephants ! This is the only way to help and save the African elephants and rhinos.”

SOS Elephant’s petition: Stop killing African elephants for illegal ivory trade!.

For more information on SOS Elephants:

A nation of tragedies: the unseen elephant wars of Chad

(05/12/2010) Stephanie Vergniault, head of SOS Elephants in Chad, says she has seen more beheaded corpses of elephants in her life than living animals. In the central African nation, against the backdrop of a vast human tragedy—poverty, hunger, violence, and hundreds of thousands of refugees—elephants are quietly vanishing at an astounding rate. One-by-one they fall to well-organized, well-funded, and heavily-armed poaching militias. Soon Stephanie Vergniault believes there may be no elephants left. A lawyer, screenwriter, and conservationist, Vergniault is a true Renaissance-woman. She first came to Chad to work with the government on electoral assistance, but in 2009 after seeing the dire situation of the nation’s elephants she created SOS Elephants, an organization determined to save these animals from local extinction.

Camera trap catches snow leopards in Mongolia

March 30th, 2011

Video is from an ongoing study by Panthera and the Snow Leopard Trust. It is the first comprehensive long-term study on snow leopards.

This video was taken in August 2010 at the Tost Mountain study area in South Gobi, Mongolia where Panthera and the Snow Leopard Trust are collaborating. This film clip is actually 61 images taken about a half second apart by one of our remote automated cameras. We believe it is a mother and her nearly grown cubs.

For more photos from the study and information:

Conservationists oppose snow leopard hunt for ‘science’

(03/23/2011) Conservationists have come out in opposition against a plan by the Mongolian government to issue four permits to kill snow leopards (Panthera uncia ) for ‘scientific research’. The permits were awarded to foreign nationals last month. Snow leopards are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List with their population declining. “If the planned hunting of snow leopards is allowed to go forward, Mongolia’s creditability as a leader in conservation of [snow leopards] and other rare species will be severely tarnished,” reads a letter from Tom McCarthy, Executive Director of Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program and George Schaller, Vice President of Panthera, to Mongolia’s Minister of Nature, Environment, and Tourism.

“I hope that I never have to see it again”: oil spill hits penguins on Nightingale Island (video)

March 29th, 2011

Video documents the oil spill on Nightingale Island in the remote Southern Atlantic ocean, which has taken a particular toll on Endangered northern rockhopper penguins

Over a week ago conservation workers have hundreds of oiled northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) after a cargo vessel wrecked on Nightingale Island, a part of the remote UK’s Tristan da Cunha archipelago. According to a press release by BirdLife International, the spill threatens nearly half of the world’s northern rockhopper population. Rescue efforts are taking place, but have proven difficult given the remoteness of the island chain.

For more information:

Photos: penguins devastated by oil spill

(03/22/2011) Disturbing photos show northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) hit hard by an oil spill from a wrecked cargo ship on Nightingale Island in the Southern Atlantic. Already listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the oil spill threatens nearly half of the northern rockhopper population according to BirdLife International. Already conservation workers say ‘hundreds’ of penguins have been oiled. Located the remote Southern Atlantic, Nightingale Island is a part of the UK’s Tristan da Cunha archipelago. The island’s are home to a variety of birdlife, including species that survive no-where else but on the archipelago.

Hundreds of endangered penguins covered in oil after remote spill

(03/21/2011) Conservation workers have found hundreds of oiled northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) after a cargo vessel wrecked on Nightingale Island, apart of the UK’s Tristan da Cunha archipelago. Northern rockhopper penguins are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List. According to a press release by BirdLife International, the spill threatens nearly half of the world’s northern rockhopper population.

Photo: oil spill hits endangered penguins

March 22nd, 2011


Northern rockhopper penguins covered in oil. Photo by: Tristan Conservation Team of Simon Glass, Wayne Swain and Matthew Green. Courtesy of: The Tristan da Cunha Website.

Northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) hit hard by an oil spill from a wrecked cargo ship on Nightingale Island in the Southern Atlantic. Already listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the oil spill threatens nearly half of the northern rockhopper population according to BirdLife International. Already conservation workers say ‘hundreds’ of penguins have been oiled. The spill threatens sea birds, endemic land birds, and the Tristan da Cunha islands’ main economic source: fishing.

To read more and see more photos:

Photos: penguins devastated by oil spill

(03/22/2011) Disturbing photos show northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) hit hard by an oil spill from a wrecked cargo ship on Nightingale Island in the Southern Atlantic. Already listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the oil spill threatens nearly half of the northern rockhopper population according to BirdLife International. Already conservation workers say ‘hundreds’ of penguins have been oiled. Located the remote Southern Atlantic, Nightingale Island is a part of the UK’s Tristan da Cunha archipelago. The island’s are home to a variety of birdlife, including species that survive no-where else but on the archipelago.

Hundreds of endangered penguins covered in oil after remote spill

(03/21/2011) Conservation workers have found hundreds of oiled northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) after a cargo vessel wrecked on Nightingale Island, apart of the UK’s Tristan da Cunha archipelago. Northern rockhopper penguins are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List. According to a press release by BirdLife International, the spill threatens nearly half of the world’s northern rockhopper population.

Video: bizarre purple frog sounds like a squeaky toy

March 10th, 2011

Native to India, the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List. The species is also a focal amphibian for the innovative ZSL EDGE program, which selects the species it works with based on their evolutionary uniqueness and threat level.

According to the EDGE website: “The purple frog is the sole representative of an ancient lineage of frogs that has been evolving independently for over 130 million years. [...] Formally discovered in 2003, the purple frog spends most of the year underground, surfacing only to breed during the monsoon. It was the first new family of frogs to be discovered since 1926. This species is threatened by ongoing forest loss for coffee, cardamom and ginger plantations.” Video courtesy of ZSL EDGE-TV.

Photos: the gentle lemur

March 2nd, 2011


The world’s bamboo lemurs are also known by the more evocative name, the gentle lemurs. Currently these lemurs are separated into five species, all of which are threatened with extinction. These photos are of the Eastern Lesser Bamboo Lemur which is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Photos by Rhett A. Butler.

More photos of bamboo lemurs.

Activism: oil in Virunga National Park

March 1st, 2011

Note: mongabay.com does not endorse the action below, but believes its readers may be interested in taking action or discussing the issue in comments.


Male gorilla in Gabon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently considering allowing oil companies SOCO and Dominion into Virunga National Park for drilling. Home to a quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees, hippos, lions, forest elephants, and rare birds Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of Africa’s most biodiverse parks and is classified by the UN as a World Heritage Site. Conservation organizations and the UN have come out against the plans to open a portion of the park to drilling.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has started a petition against the mine: Urgent: help stop oil exploration inside one of Africa’s most iconic national parks.

To read more about the prospect of drilling in Virunga National Park:

Oil company charged after allegedly forcing entry into Virunga National Park

(02/21/2011) The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) national parks authority, ICCN, has filed a suit against oil company, SOCO International, for allegedly forcing entry into Virunga National Park. The legal row comes amid revelations that two oil companies, SOCO and Dominion Petroleum, are exploring the park for oil.

UN and conservation organizations condemn big oil’s plan to drill in Virunga National Park

(01/20/2011) WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the UN have all recently expressed concerns about two oil companies’ plan to explore for oil in Africa’s oldest and famed Virunga National Park. Home to a quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees, hippos, lions, forest elephants, and rare birds Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of Africa’s most biodiverse parks and is classified by the UN as a World Heritage Site. But according to WWF plans by oil companies SOCO International and Dominion Petroleum could jeopardize not only the wildlife and ecosystems, but also local people.

Video: Australia’s banteng question

February 28th, 2011

Conservation problem or opportunity? Australia tries to decide what to do with its population of invasive wild cattle, known as banteng. The problem is that this invasive species has almost gone extinct in its native Southeast Asia. Does Australia protect a globally endangered species even if it’s not their own?

Credit: ABC.