Nov 24
Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on Delicious Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on Digg Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on Facebook Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on reddit Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on StumbleUpon Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on Email Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx' on Print Friendly

Meet the Survival characters – Iberian lynx

Survival logoIberian lynx Survival character

Name: Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)

Stats:

Status – Critically Endangered (CR)

Length - up to 100 cm

Height – up to 50 cm

Weight - up to 15 kg

Interesting fact:

The world’s most threatened species of cat, this elegant looking lynx is a very specialised predator with rabbits accounting for 80-100% of its diet!

Where am I found?

This magnificent cat once used to roam through Spain, Portugal and the south of France. The Iberian lynx can now only be found in a few areas in Spain where it prefers to live and hunt in Mediterranean woodland and scrub-like habitat.

What do I eat?

The preferred prey of the Iberian lynx is the rabbit, which forms 80 to 100% of its diet. It will occasionally take rodents, hares, partridges, ducks, geese and small deer, but these do not form an important part of the diet.

Iberian lynx photo

How do I live?

A nocturnal species, the secretive Iberian lynx is generally active at night, emerging from its daytime shelter at twilight. Both the male and the female Iberian lynx are territorial, with male territories overlapping those of several females. The mating season peaks in January and February, and the female gives birth to between one and four kittens around two months later. The young are cared for by the female in a lair, which may be located under a thicket or in a hollow tree. Weaning occurs at around eight months old but the juveniles stay in their natal territory until they are around 20 months old.

Iberian lynx photo

Why am I threatened?

There are now thought to be less than 200 Iberian lynx left in the wild, with habitat loss being one of the main threats to this species. Much of its habitat has been converted for agriculture and development, such as dams and highways. The Iberian lynx’s main prey, the rabbit, has also dramatically decreased in number due to hunting and the introduction of disease such as myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Illegal hunting is also a problem, with some lynx being accidentally caught in rabbit traps.

Iberian lynx photo

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Nov 23
Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on Delicious Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on Digg Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on Facebook Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on reddit Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on StumbleUpon Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on Email Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing' on Print Friendly

Meet the Survival characters – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing

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Queen Alexandra’s birdwing Survival character

Name: Queen Alexandra’s birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae)

Stats:

Status - Endangered (EN)

Wingspan – Up to 28 centimetres

Interesting Fact:

An enormous wingspan of up to 28 centimetres earns this magnificently vibrant insect the title of being the world’s biggest butterfly. Highly specialised, it feeds and reproduces on a single species of toxic vine, making the caterpillars distasteful to predators, and if consumed can cause severe vomiting.

Where am I found?

Found only in the lowland rainforests of northern Papua New Guinea, east of the Owen Stanley Mountains, Queen Alexandra’s birdwing has an extremely small range.

Queen Alexandra’s birdwing photo

What do I eat?

Both the adult butterfly and the caterpillar feed only from the vine species Aristolochia schlechteri.

Queen Alexandra’s birdwing photo

How do I live?

Queen Alexandra’s birdwing lays a single egg on the underside of one of the vine leaves and after 11 to 13 days the caterpillar hatches and eats almost constantly, growing rapidly. The vine contains a toxic substance which, although not poisonous to the caterpillar, makes it distasteful to potential predators, and may cause severe vomiting.

The caterpillar’s rapid growth is accompanied by six moults, in which the caterpillar grows new skin and sheds the former, before forming a chrysalis, in which metamorphosis takes place over a period of 40 to 45 days.

Queen Alexandra’s birdwing photo

Why am I threatened?

As one of the world’s most beautiful butterflies, Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is extremely attractive to collectors. Fetching thousands of dollars per butterfly, this rare species has been severely over harvested.

However, the greatest threat to Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is the loss of its lowland rainforest habitat. Historically, forests were cleared for farming and logging, and a vast area was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Lamingtonin 1951. Today, the main cause of forest loss is the expansion of the palm oil industry, and the development of rubber and cocoa plantations.

Queen Alexandra’s birdwing photo

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Nov 22
Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on Delicious Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on Digg Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on Facebook Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on reddit Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on StumbleUpon Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on Email Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead' on Print Friendly

Meet the Survival characters – Scalloped hammerhead

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Name: Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini)

Hammerhead shark Survival characterStats:

Status – Endangered (EN)

Length - up to 430 cm

Weight - up to 152 kg

Interesting fact:

This shark’s oddly shaped head is thought to be a mechanism to spread out its highly specialised sense organs, which amongst other things help it to detect electrical currents created by its prey. A useful skill to have when you have an entire ocean to scan for food!

Where am I found?

The wide-ranging scalloped hammerhead occurs right the way around the world, in warm temperate and tropical waters. It can be found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, and also possibly the Mediterranean Sea. It swims at depths of 0 and 275 metres and regularly enters bays and estuaries.

What do I eat?

Adult scalloped hammerheads feed on a range of ocean critters including fish, squid, lobsters, crabs, shrimps, rays and even other sharks! The teeth of the scalloped hammerhead are best suited to seizing prey that can be swallowed whole, rather than ripping into larger prey.

Scalloped hammerhead photo

How do I live?

A strange-looking creature, the strange hammer-shaped head is thought to be a mechanism to maximise the area of the sensory organs that detect electric currents, chemicals in the water, and temperature changes. Female scalloped hammerheads gather in impressively large schools around underwater mountains known as seamounts, where they perform a wide range of poorly-understood behaviours. These aggregations are thought to be a result of many sharks, particularly younger females, seeking refuge in a safe place near a rich food supply.

During the 9 to 10 month gestation, the eggs of the scalloped hammerhead hatch inside the body of the female. They are then nourished by a yolk sac until the female gives birth to between 15 and 31 live young in shallow waters during the summer.

Scalloped hammerhead photo

Why am I threatened?

The scallopd hammerhead is currently threatened by fishing, both as a commercial catch for its liver and fins, and as by-catch.

Scalloped hammerhead photo

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Nov 21
Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on Delicious Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on Digg Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on Facebook Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on reddit Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on StumbleUpon Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on Email Share 'Meet the Survival characters – California condor' on Print Friendly

Meet the Survival characters – California condor

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California condor Survival characterName: California condor (Gymnogyps californianus)

Stats:

Status - Critically Endangered (CR)

Wingspan - Up to 275 centimetres

Weight - 9 kilograms

Interesting Fact:

This enormous bird not only looks weird, it urinates on its own legs to keep cool! Known as ‘urohydrosis’, this wacky behaviour takes excess heat away from the body through evaporation helping this unsavoury character to keep cool in its primarily desert habitat.

Where am I found?

The California condor was originally widespread throughout North America, but by the 1800s they were restricted to the west coast, from British Columbia to Baja California. By the 1970s only 30 were left, all of which were confined to a small area of California. In 1987 the species became Extinct in the Wild when the last individual was taken into captivity. Since then, an extensive conservation effort has been undertaken to re-introduce captive-bred condors back into the wilds of California, Arizona and Mexico.

California condor photo

What do I eat?

Soaring over large distances on their huge wings, condors use their excellent eyesight to search for the carcasses upon which they feed.

California condor photo

How do I live?

In captivity, California condors begin to breed at six to eight years of age, and pairs mate for life, producing one chick every two years. California condors, like many New World vultures, engage in an unusual behaviour known as ‘urohydrosis’ in order to keep cool. This involves urinating on their own legs, which takes heat away from their body through evaporation; the cooled blood is then circulated back through the body. Nests have been recorded in rock cavities as well as in large Sequoia trees.

California condor photo

Why am I threatened?

Originally, the decline of the California condor followed the extinction of many large mammals in North America. Trapping, shooting, egg collecting and lead poisoning are all factors believed to have influenced the decline of this species in the 20th Century, despite legal protection since 1900. Unfortunately, lead poisoning from feeding on animals killed with lead shot, still occurs regularly and remains the condor’s greatest threat. Other current threats include collisions with power lines, shooting, and both deliberate and accidental poisoning.

California condor photo

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Nov 20
Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on Delicious Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on Digg Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on Facebook Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on reddit Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on StumbleUpon Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on Email Share 'Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier' on Print Friendly

Meet the Survival characters – Horsfield’s tarsier

Survival logo

Horsfields tarsier Survival character

 

Name: Horsfield’s tarsier (Tarsius bancanus)

Stats:

Status – Vulnerable (VU)

Length - up to 14.5 cm

Tail length - up to 23.5 cm

Weight - up to 134 g

Interesting fact:

This googly-eyed tree dweller not only has massive eyes to help it hunt at night, but it can also jump five metres straight up, that’s nearly 40 times its own height!

Where am I found?

Horsfield’s tarsier lives in South East Asia, where it is found in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Here, it occurs in a wide range of habitats but seems to prefer the edges of secondary forest. It can also be found on the edge of plantations and in shrubby coastal areas, and has been recorded at elevations of up to 1,200 metres.

Horsfield's tarsier photo

What do I eat?

The predatory Horsfield’s tarsier is entirely carnivorous. It captures its unfortunate prey by reaching and grabbing it while remaining stationary on a vertical branch, or by leaping onto or towards it. A wide variety of insects are taken, including beetles, grasshoppers, cockroaches, locusts, butterflies, moths, ants and cicadas. Horsfield’s tarsier will also take small vertebrates, such as birds, bats, frogs and even snakes! In general, tarsiers will eat around 10% of their own body weight every 24 hours.

Horsfield’s tarsier photo

How do I live?

The most noticeable feature of Horsfield’s tarsier is probably its huge eyes, which it needs for its nocturnal hunting habits. Each eye weighs around three grams, making the volume of one eyeball nearly as big as the volume of the tarsier’s entire brain! The eyes are so large that the tarsier cannot rotate them in its eye sockets. This is no problem, however, as it can turn its head nearly 360 degrees. Horsfield’s tarsier is also specially adapted to life in the trees, having powerful leg muscles which it uses to leap effortlessly between trees.

This small primate breeds throughout the year, with the gestation period lasting 178 to 190 days. The single young is born with its eyes open, a full coat of fur and is able to climb at just a day old! The young Horsfield’s tarsier usually clings to the female’s belly until it is weaned, which occurs shortly after it begins to capture its own prey at around 42 days old.

Horsfield’s tarsier photo

Why am I threatened?

Habitat loss due to forest conversion is the biggest threat to Horsfield’s tarsier. Fires, logging and an increasing demand for palm oil, which has led to rapid expansion of oil palm plantations, have destroyed or degraded vast areas of forest in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Horsfield’s tarsier is also threatened by collection for the illegal pet trade.

 Horsfield's tarsier photo

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