Apr 22

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The theme for Earth Day this year is, “It’s Our Turn To Lead”. Our friends at Earth Day Network are urging people to learn more about the topic of climate change which generally refers to man-made changes to the environment that have contributed to the steady rise in the earth’s temperature, rising sea levels, ice melting at the poles, and extreme weather events.

Not only does climate change affect the weather but it also impacts the well-being of several species around the world. We’re supporting Earth Day this year by showing five wild faces that have been affected by climate change.

As Arkive patron Sylvia Earle has said, “With knowing comes caring, and with caring comes hope”.  Let’s learn about the following five species and spread a little hope for their survival on Earth.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus

Female-koala-with-joey

This wonderful marsupial is one of the most iconic Australian animals. Rising carbon dioxide levels cause plants to grow faster which lowers protein levels. Nutritionally poor eucalyptus leaves might cause the koala to migrate exposing them to predation. They are also particularly vulnerable to bush fires and drought due to their lack of mobility and dependence on trees.

Dlinza pinwheel (Trachycystis clifdeni)

Dlinza-pinwheel

The Dlinza pinwheel  is one of the most visually striking snails with its translucent shell and beautiful whorls. This snail is known from only the Dlinza forest and due to its limited habitat is quite vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

Golden toad (Incilius periglenes)

Male-golden-toad

The magnificently colored macaroni yellow golden toad was last seen in 1989 and is unfortunately believed to be extinct. Climate change is one of the contributing factors that led to the decline of golden toad populations.

Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma)

Quiver-trees

The quiver tree has been named the national tree of Namibia. This tree is an important nesting site for large numbers of sociable weavers. Changing climates are causing quiver trees to slowly shift their distribution toward higher latitudes and altitudes.

Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Leatherback-turtle-swimming

The magical leatherback turtle is the largest turtle in the world and lacks the typical bony plates on its carapace. Its shell is flexible and covered in a thin layer of leathery skin. Changing ocean currents due to climate change might affect the migrations of juvenile leatherbacks as well as cause them to lose some of their prey.

The Earth Day Network is capturing more than a billion “Acts of Green” as part of the annual Earth Day celebration. By clicking on the link below, you can log your time spent reading this blog as an “Act of Green” and take part in this historic event.

Log reading this blog as an “Act of Green” for Earth Day today!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

Feb 27

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Feb 20, 2015 

Evolution favors the big: Marine mammals have grown larger over time

potato-cod-head-detail

Potato cod

The average marine creature today is about 150 times larger than its counterparts that lived during the Cambrian period. The study looked at body size data for marine species groups including the echinoderms and chordates.

View original article

Purple-sea-urchin

Purple sea urchin

 Article originally published on Saturday, Feb 21, 2015

Shy kangaroos prefer bigger groups

Female-and-young-eastern-grey-kangaroos

Female and young eastern grey kangaroo

Shyer or risk-averse female kangaroos feed in larger groups than bold or braver individuals.  Researchers hypothesize that shyer females like bigger groups because individuals in larger groups are safer from predators.

View original article

 Article originally published on Sunday, Feb 22, 2015

Kingpin responsible for killing 20 rhinos caught by authorities

Indian-rhinoceros-feeding-on-water-hyacinth

Indian rhinoceros feeding on water hyacinth

Authorities have arrested the leader of a poaching gang that killed 20 Indian rhinoceros in Nepal.  Today there are over 2,500 Indian rhinos and the population is still rising.

View original article

 Article originally published on Monday, Feb 23, 2015

Small predator diversity is an important part of a healthy ecosystem

Western-leopard-toad-head-detail

Western leopard toad

Biodiversity, including small predators such as dragonflies that attack and consume parasites may improve the health of amphibians. The study suggests that dwindling global environmental biodiversity and worldwide spikes in infectious diseases may be linked.

View original article

Slim-scarlet-darter

Slim scarlet-darter

 Article originally published on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Amur leopard population booms – to 57

Amur-leopard-cub

Amur leopard cub

There are now at least 57 Amur leopards in Russia. These leopards are scattered across more than 36,000 hectares.

View original article

 Article originally published on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015

$7 million could save lemurs from extinction

Alaotran-gentle-lemur-with-young-on-back

Alaotran gentle lemur with young on back

Last year, scientists released a three year plan they said could save the world’s lemurs from world extinction and cost just $7.6 million. To facilitate this process, Lynne Venart the head of a design firm created the Lemur Conservation Network that brings together over 40 conservation groups and research institutes with the purpose of empowering the individual to support conservation.

View original article

Grey-mouse-lemur-

Grey mouse-lemur

 Article originally published on Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

U.S ‘pet’ tiger trade puts big cats at great risk

Female-Bengal-tiger-with-juveniles

Female bengal tiger with juveniles

Some tigers in the United States end up at roadside zoos, which lack the knowledge and resources to provide appropriate care. Other tigers end up in the pet trade and some are even killed illegally and their body parts sold.

View original article

 Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

 

Sep 28
Photo of western leopard toad in habitat

Western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus)

Species: Western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: The western leopard toad’s distinctive markings are unique to each individual.

More information:

Found only in a small part of the Western Cape Province of South Africa, the western leopard toad is a beautifully patterned amphibian with striking reddish-brown blotches on its back. A large, reddish-coloured gland on each side of its head produces toxins that help deter predators. This species lives on the ground and spends most of its time away from water, but between August and October large numbers converge on suitable pools to breed. Males call from vegetation to attract females, giving a distinctive, deep, snore-like call. Each female western leopard toad produces up to an incredible 25,000 eggs, but only a few young toads survive to reach maturity. This species is never found more than ten kilometres inland.

Although the western leopard toad can survive in urban gardens and parks, it is under threat from increasing urbanisation, development and agriculture. Many toads are killed on roads, particularly when migrating to breeding sites, and this species can also die by becoming trapped in artificial, vertical-sided water bodies such as swimming pools. Predatory fish, invasive plants and captive ducks also present threats at its breeding pools. Fortunately, a number of conservation measures are underway to protect this colourful amphibian. The western leopard toad is legally protected in South Africa, and a Western Leopard Toad Conservation Committee has been helping to draft a management plan for the species. Volunteers help to rescue toads from roads, and the public have been encouraged to send in photographs of the toads and their unique markings to help monitor their populations. By helping to raise awareness of urban conservation issues, efforts to save the western leopard toad may also benefit a range of other species.

 

Find out more about the western leopard toad and its conservation at the Western Leopard Toad website.

You can also find out more about amphibian conservation on ARKive’s Amphibian Conservation page.

See more images of the western leopard toad on ARKive.

Liz Shaw, ARKive Text Author

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