Source Match Pets News
Elephants are known for their impressively long trunks, but perhaps less well known is the large number of genes that code for their sense smell. "Rats had the record for the largest number of [these] genes," said the study's lead researcher Yoshiihito Niimura, a researcher of molecular evolution at The University of Tokyo in Japan. The findings support other research on the pachyderm's superior sense of smell. African elephants can smell the difference between two tribes living in Kenya: the Maasai, whose young men prove their virility by spearing elephants, and the Kamba, farmers who usually leave elephants alone, reported a 2007 study published in the journal Current Biology.
Elephants possess a sense of smell that is likely the strongest ever identified in a single species, according to a study by Japanese scientists out Tuesday. The African elephant's genome contains the largest number of olfactory receptor (OR) genes -- nearly 2,000 -- said the study in the journal Genome Research. Olfactory receptors detect odors in the environment. "Apparently, an elephant's nose is not only long but also superior," said lead study author Yoshihito Niimura of the University of Tokyo.
Nora Beirne, a senior keeper at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. When I went to The College of New Jersey, I was an English major, but I took several pre-med classes. Then, in my senior year, Pat Thomas — associate director of the Bronx Zoo and vice president and general curator for the Wildlife Conservation Society — gave a talk to the biology department. In six years as a zoo keeper, I've trained red pandas for injections, fed black bears jelly off a spoon and held a komodo dragon.
A pair of nesting bald eagles have been found on San Clemente Island off the Southern California coast for the first time in more than 50 years, the National Park Service said on Thursday, marking the latest step in their comeback from near extinction. The discovery means that bald eagles, which vanished from the Channel Islands in the early 1960s due to DDT poisoning and once were listed as an endangered species, have now returned to five of the eight islands in the chain. "This news is very gratifying," Peter Sharpe of the nonprofit Institute for Wildlife Studies said in a statement released by the park service. "I expect to see bald eagles return to all eight of the Channel Islands within a few years, which will mark yet another milestone in their successful recovery." No chicks have yet been seen in the San Clemente Island nest, which was established by two birds that came from two other islands in the chain, the park service said.
African elephants in captivity are packing on the pounds, and experts warn that the rise in obesity is contributing to infertility, which could be detrimental to the survival of the species in zoos. To get a handle on the problem, one group of researchers in Alabama is looking for a better way to measure body fat on the already huge animals. Just like humans, elephants with excess fat are more likely to develop heart disease, arthritis and infertility, Daniella Chusyd, a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a statement. Previous studies have shown an alarming number of African elephants in zoos have irregular or no ovarian cycles. [Elephants Images: The Biggest Land Animal]
This summer, Hawaii’s endangered wildlife will be on candid camera, as two kinds of drones survey the numbers and whereabouts of animals in their natural habitats. The drones, funded largely by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will also survey plants, monitor remote waters, find garbage for removal, and record and photograph fragile ecological features in the Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument. This area encompasses nearly 140,000 square miles (363,000 square kilometers) of the Pacific Ocean, including parts of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In June, scientists deployed a small drone named Puma from the deck of a NOAA research ship, dubbed Hi'ialakai, to take videos and still and infrared pictures of green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and seabirds.
The most popular theme park doesn’t have the fastest roller coaster in the world or a ride with the tallest death drop. No, according to members of the largest travel site, TripAdvisor, the world’s favorite theme park is Discovery Cove in Florida, a calm and relaxing park experience where visitors swim with the dolphins, hand-feed parrots and toucans and snorkel with tropical fish.
Armed poachers have slaughtered four rhinos in a reserve in central Kenya, the worst single attack on the species in more than 20 years, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said Monday. KWS spokesman Paul Muya said two groups of poachers managed to enter the Ol Jogi Ranch, a private game reserve situated 225 kilometres (145 miles) north of Nairobi, on July 9 under the cover of darkness. "In total four rhinos were killed and they managed to escape with three horns," Muya told AFP, saying the incident was the worst single attack in Kenya on rhinos since 1988, when six were slaughtered by poachers.
A Japanese zoo has taken the catwalk to a wild new level, using some of its fiercest inhabitants to rip and claw jeans to a fashionably distressed look. The facility northeast of Tokyo has unveiled "Zoo Jeans", styled by the fangs and claws of lions, tigers and bears. Zoo officials said the material held up well, all things considered. Once they were thrown into the enclosures, the animals jumped on them," said zoo director Nobutaka Namae, adding that the pieces were later patched together to create the finished product.
Thailand faces an international wildlife trade ban unless it reins in its ivory sector, which is a magnet for traffickers, global regulator CITES said on Friday. "There have been years without any real action on the ground when it comes to controlling the illegal ivory market," said Oeystein Stoerkersen, chairman of CITES's governing body. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has set Thailand an August 2015 deadline to fall into line or risk wide-ranging sanctions. Bangkok is under additional pressure to report back by January on steps to bolster recent laws on registering ivory importers, traders and legal stockpiles, that CITES claims are insufficient.
Footage showing sheep being violently abused by shearers -- including being punched in the face and hit with tools -- was condemned Friday by Australia's Agriculture Minister as "exceptional and cruel". The images, reportedly filmed in Australia by undercover investigators for the animal rights group PETA, showed shearers severely abusing animals in a country famed for its wool industry and exports. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the footage was shot at 19 contractor-run sheep shearing sheds in Australia between October 2013 and February 2014.
Some 558 rhino have been killed in South Africa already this year, setting the country on course for a gruesome new record number of poaching deaths, wildlife officials said Thursday. The vast, tourist-filled Kruger National Park has been hardest hit. South Africa is home to around 80 percent of the world's rhino population, estimated at more than 25,000 but alarming poaching figures are threatening the endangered species. After years of talks, South Africa and Mozambique in April signed an agreement to fight poaching.
A group of adorable baby mountain gorillas got their names this month during a ceremony in Rwanda. The annual ritual, called Kwita Izina, has been held every summer for the past 10 years at Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. "We celebrate, for the 10th time, the growth of the gorilla family by naming 18 baby gorillas born over the last year, bringing the total population of the endangered species to over 600 in the Virunga Transboundary parks," Valentine Rugwabiza, Rwandan ambassador to the World Trade Organization, said in a statement. The remaining populations are found in the Virunga mountain chain, which winds through the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.