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Grey Wolf by Evometheus6082
Grey Wolf

BASIC FACTS ABOUT GRAY WOLVES

Gray wolves range in color from grizzled gray or black to all-white. As the ancestor of the domestic dog, the gray wolf resembles German shepherds or malamutes. Though they once nearly disappeared from the lower 48 states, today wolves have returned to the Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Southwestern United States.

Wolves play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. They help keep deer and elk populations in check, which can benefit many other plant and animal species. The carcasses of their prey also help to redistribute nutrients and provide food for other wildlife species, like grizzly bears and scavengers. Scientists are just beginning to fully understand the positive ripple effects that wolves have on ecosystems.

Diet

Wolves eat ungulates, or large hoofed mammals, like elk, deer, moose and caribou, as well as beaver, rabbits and other small prey. Wolves are also scavengers and often eat animals that have died due to other causes.

Population

Did You Know?

Wolves have unique howls, like fingerprints, that scientists (and other pack members) can use to tell them apart.

There are an estimated 7,000 to 11,200 gray wolves in Alaska, 3,700 in the Great Lakes region and 1,675 in the Northern Rockies.

Habitat & Range

Gray wolves were once common throughout all of North America, but were exterminated in most areas of the United States by the mid 1930s. Today, their range has been reduced to Canada, Alaska, the Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the reintroduction of wolves in 1995, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most favored places to see and hear wolves in their native habitat. Wolves require large areas of contiguous habitat that can include forests and mountainous terrain, and Mexican gray wolves can thrive in desert and brush in the southwest. Suitable habitat must have sufficient access to prey, protection from excessive persecution, and areas for denning and taking shelter.

ROTECTION STATUS
Endangered Species Act:ENDANGERED »

FAST FACTS

Height: 26-32 inches at the shoulder
Length: 4.5-6.5 feet from nose to tail-tip
Weight: 55-130 lbs; Males are typically heavier and taller than the females.
Lifespan: 7-8 years in the wild. 12 years or more in remote or protected areas.

Behavior

Wolves live, travel and hunt in packs of 7 to 8 animals on average. Packs include the mother and father wolves (called the alphas), their pups and older offspring. The alpha female and male are typically the pack leaders that track and hunt prey, choose den sites and establish the pack's territory. Wolves develop strong social bonds within their packs.   

Wolves have a complex communication system ranging from barks and whines to growls and howls. While they don't actually howl at the moon, they are more active at dawn and dusk, and they do howl more when it's lighter at night, which occurs more often when the moon is full.

Reproduction

Breeding season occurs once a year late January through March. Pups are born blind and defenseless. The pack cares for the pups until they fully mature at about 10 months of age when they can hunt on their own. Once grown, young wolves may disperse. Dispersing wolves have been known to travel 50 to 500 miles.

Mating Season: January or February.
Gestation: 63 days
Litter size: 4-7 pups

 Did You Know?

The alpha female and alpha male wolves of a pack usually mate for life.

THREATS TO WOLVES

Historically, hundreds of thousands of gray wolves roamed wild throughout North America. During the 19th and 20th centuries, as the human population grew, people began to compete with wolves for game and habitat.

Wolves were also viewed as pests and vermin, and were slaughtered by the thousands. As a result, wolves nearly disappeared from the lower 48 states. Today, gray wolves are making a comeback in parts of the U.S., but many challenges prevent a full recovery for these majestic animals.

Conflict with Humans

Where wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the most common cause of death for wolves is conflict with people over livestock losses. While wolf predation on livestock is fairly uncommon, wolves that are suspected of preying on livestock are often killed, sometimes even entire packs. Where they are not protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, the most common cause of death for wolves is hunting and trapping. 

Intolerance

Overall, the greatest threat to wolves is prejudice, fear and misunderstanding about the species. Many fairy tales and myths tend to misrepresent wolves as villainous, dangerous creatures. Anti-wolf extremists perpetuate these myths, and it is a slow process to undo decades of misinformation. Some hunters perceive wolves as a threat to hunting opportunities, while others understand that wolves tend to prey on weaker or diseased elk and deer instead of the ”trophy bulls” commonly targeted by hunters.  By culling weaker animals from the herds, wolves help maintain the overall health of these animals. 

Habitat Loss

Another serious threat is human encroachment into wolf habitat. This leads to habitat fragmentation, where wolves might have to travel across lands with varying degrees of protection, cross highways, through developed areas and across large portions of private land, potentially containing livestock. All of these increase the risks wolves must face. This makes it very difficult for wolves to adequately expand into all areas of suitable habitat, which is vital to sustainable recovery of wolves in the lower 48.

Diminishing Protections

Wolves in the lower 48 states are in danger of losing the protections that they so desperately need. In 2011, in an unprecedented move by Congress, gray wolves across much of the Northern Rockies were stripped of their protections under the ESA. Since then, thousands of wolves have been killed in the region, and states have established alarmingly aggressive management plans for these animals. In the entire history of the Endangered Species Act, wolves are the only species to go from protected to hunted in a single day. Wolves in the Great Lakes region were also delisted in 2011.

Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove all ESA protection for nearly all gray wolves across the remaining parts of the U.S. This decision could derail wolf recovery efforts in areas around the country where it has barely begun like the states of Oregon and Washington, and in states that possess some of the nation’s best unoccupied wolf habitat.   
 

WHAT DEFENDERS IS DOING TO HELP GRAY WOLVES

For decades, Defenders has been a leader in promoting wolf recovery throughout their natural ranges.

We were one of the driving forces behind their successful reintroduction in 1995 and 1996 into the Northern Rockies and greater Yellowstone region and led the way to reintroduce wolves to the Southwest in 1998.

Unfortunately, wolves today continue to face threats to their survival and Defenders continues to work on the ground, in the courts, and in state and federal legislatures to give America's wolves a lasting future.

Ensuring a Lasting Future for Gray Wolves >>
As advocates for wolves, Defenders is actively challenging state wildlife agencies and legislatures on reckless wolf management policies , exposing threats to wolves to help ensure a long-term future of a healthy, sustainable wolf population.

Helping Ranchers Coexist with Wolves >>
Defenders has pioneered practical solutions to help livestock and wolves coexist on the same landscape. We’re working with ranchers across the West to develop nonlethal deterrents, better animal husbandry practices, and other innovative tools that minimize conflict and build social acceptance for wolves.

FACT VS. FICTION

Just the Facts on Wolves

Wolves have been demonized and misunderstood for much of history.

Today’s myths about wolves have become so common that they’ve become accepted as fact in parts of the West, and have been spread by anti-wolf blogs and websites seeking to frighten the public and impact political decisions regarding wolves. Unfortunately, these fabrications are now commonly found in media stories, legislative hearings and even within state wildlife agencies. They have also been reflected  in legislation and regulations that reduce protections for wolves and reduce public support for wolf conservation and deepen the conflicts between stakeholders. 

Here are the facts about gray wolves.

 

FACT: Wolves have coexisted with elk and other prized game species for centuries.

Overall, elk and deer continue to do well across the Northern Rockies. For example, in 2013, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks stated that well beyond a majority of Montana’s elk populations are in excellent shape. One hundred and nine districts are at or above management objectives and only 26 districts are below objectives set in the elk management plan.

Populations of prey species like elk naturally increase and decrease in size over time. They do so in response to changes in habitat, nutrition, disease, hunting pressure, predation, weather and a number of other factors. Sometimes predators may cause temporary local impacts on isolated herds, but predator numbers are primarily driven by the availability of their prey, which in turn is controlled by the availability of food and human hunting pressure. These intertwined factors demonstrate nature’s inherent balance, and ensure that elk, deer and other ungulates are not “wiped out” by the animals that eat them. It is also important to note that during times when wolves, grizzly bears and other predators were greatly reduced or absent on the landscape, elk and deer populations most likely reached artificially high levels.  Moreover, wolves are often blamed for putting pressure on prey animals like elk or deer, when this is more often caused by other predators like bears or mountain lions.

FACT: The wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho in the mid-90s are a native species that historically lived throughout North America.

The Rocky Mountains were once part of a continuous range for wolves from Canada down to Mexico. The gray wolves currently in the Northern Rockies are the same species (Canis lupus) that roamed across the region before they were eliminated by humans. In fact, wolves from the area where they were captured in Canada for the wolf reintroduction have walked on their own into central Idaho, demonstrating there is no natural boundary or barrier that would have separated wolves within the region.

FACT: Wolves typically have an innate fear of humans and tend to keep their distance.

Many westerners consider living with wildlife an important part of their natural heritage. Wolves add to that rich wildlife experience. As is true with bears, mountain lions, wolves and other wild animals, there are basic safety considerations when living, working and recreating around such wildlife. It is sensible to give wildlife adequate space, know how to avoid conflict and understand what to do in the unlikely case of an encounter.

Anyone who has watched or tracked wolves knows how difficult it can be to get close to these wary creatures. In fact, human presence is one of the strongest deterrents to wolf depredations on livestock and is a key strategy for proactive intervention.

There have been reports that wild wolves may be responsible for the death of two people in North America in the last 100 years. These attacks are indeed tragic, but they are also extremely rare. Far more humans have been killed by bee stings, accidental shootings during hunting season, and domestic dogs than by wolves or other wild predators, and many more people die from road accidents with elk, deer and cattle than from all wildlife attacks combined. 

FACT: Wolves are still not recovered in suitable habitat throughout significant portions of their range.

Gray wolves were once common throughout all of North America, but with the exception of a small remnant population in nothern Minnesota, they were eliminated from the lower 48 states by the middle of the last century. Today, wolves only inhabit approximately 36% of their suitable habitat. Defenders advocates for the restoration of wolf populations in appropriate suitable habitat that still exists out west in Colorado and parts of California, Oregon, Washington and Utah.

FACT: Wolf depredations on livestock still account for less than 1% of all livestock losses in the Northern Rockies.

More livestock are lost to other predators like mountain lions, coyotes and even stray dogs than to wolves. Far more are killed by disease, bad weather, birthing problems and other natural causes. Defenders has a successful track record of working with ranchers and other livestock producers to minimize wolf conflicts. Nonlethal methods, such as using range riders, guard dogs, portable fencing, hazing and changing animal husbandry practices have all proved highly effective in deterring wolf depredations.

FACT: Wild carnivores do not kill for fun; they kill to survive.

Wolves do sometimes kill more than they can eat in one sitting, which biologists call surplus killing. This has been documented in many carnivore species including bears, coyotes, and snow leopards, as well as wolves (Kruuk 2002). It is best recognized in cases of interactions with domestic sheep and predators. It is believed that the sheep’s ensuing panic during a predator attack triggers the increased losses not directly caused by predators such as wolves. Additionally, people often deem a wolf kill as a “sport kill” when they come upon a dead animal and little of it is eaten. People rarely take into account that perhaps they scared the wolves off of the kill before they could finish eating (Vander Wal 1990). Also, what looks like an animal killed by wolves may simply be the case of wolves scavenging from the carcass of an animal that died due to other causes.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP GRAY WOLVES

Your support will help us fight to protect gray wolves and other threatened and endangered wildlife.

Adopt a Gray Wolf

symbolic adoption helps save real animals in the wild.

Take Action

Visit our Wildlife Action Center to send a message to government leaders.

Speak Up for Wildlife

Learn how you can be a powerful advocate for wildlife.

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive instant alerts and updates about important issues affecting wildlife.

Become a Defender of Wildlife

Your Defenders membership includes our quarterly publication with fascinating articles and stunning photos of wild animals in their natural habitats.

GRAY WOLVES IN ALASKA

Alaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the United States. Though one of Alaska’s most iconic creatures, the state has a long history of killing wolves through various means. Early in the 20th century, wolves were hunted with virtually no controls, and bounties were common.

But the wolf’s fight in Alaska hasn’t been against extinction — the state’s wolf population is healthy, with estimates ranging from 7,000 to 12,000. Instead, their fight has been one against inadequately monitored control programs which aim to increase game populations through controversial methods. As game populations declined in the 60s and 70s, state-sponsored wolf control commenced and included aerial gunning.
 

GRAY WOLVES IN THE NORTHERN ROCKIES

Gray wolves once dominated the western landscape, but widespread killing virtually wiped them out in the lower 48 states by the 1940s. Today, wolves are back in the Northern Rockies thanks to a highly successful reintroduction program in central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park, and to dedicated conservation efforts. By the end of 2012, the estimated population was 1,674 wolves in the Northern Rockies region.

Over the years, despite many efforts by Defenders and other conservation groups to gain social acceptance for wolves on the ground, repeated attempts were made to prematurely strip federal protection for wolves in all or part of the Northern Rockies.

In 2009, the Bush administration made one more last-ditch attempt to strip federal protection for wolves across the Northern Rockies based on individual state management plans. The FWS moved forward with delisting wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming, where the state’s plan was deemed inadequate. Defenders and 12 other conservation groups challenged the delisting and filed for a preliminary injunction to stop proposed wolf hunts. Though the injunction was denied and hunts began in Montana and Idaho, protection was reinstated in 2010 when the district court ruled in favor of Defenders, saying the decision to remove federal protection for wolves violated the Endangered Species Act.

Under intense political pressure from anti-wolf hunting and ranching organizations, Congress passed an appropriations amendment or “rider” in 2011 as part of a much larger, must-pass funding bill that reinstated the 2009 delisting rule and barred it from further judicial review. Under this amendment, federal protection was officially removed in Idaho and Montana, as well as in the western parts of Oregon and Washington.  The FWS later delisted the wolf in Wyoming as well, even though the state’s management plan was remarkably similar to one that the FWS had previously rejected. Defenders is actively challenging the Wyoming delisting in court.

Aggressive wolf hunts have already resumed in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. For example, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has adopted year-round hunting and trapping in parts of the state and Wyoming has eliminated protection for wolves in over 80% of the state. As a result, the future of wolf recovery across the region remains uncertain.
 

GRAY WOLVES IN THE GREAT LAKES

Wolf restoration in the Western Great Lakes is an Endangered Species Act success story, for now.

More than 30 years of federal protection in the region helped to bring this critically important animal back from a small remnant population in northern Minnesota to current numbers of more than 4,000 animals in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

These states could still follow the negative, anti-wolf path of their neighbors to the West. Wisconsin has already taken steps in that direction by deciding to adopt as its wolf management goal, a sharp reduction in its population of wolves.  Defenders continues to monitor state management activities in the Great Lakes to ensure that the successful recovery of wolves in this region is maintained.

SUCCESS STORIES

Standing Up for Wolves

In 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service held several public hearings on their proposal to delist most gray wolves in the U.S. And at each one, Defenders was there in force, bringing hundreds of pro-wolf voices to the events and providing training and advice for those who wanted to present testimony against the proposal. In addition, by working together with other conservation groups, we were able to gather more than 1 million pro-wolf public comments on the proposal.

Montana Commission Proposal Halted

In early 2012, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission was considering a proposal to extend the wolf hunting season in the Bitterroot Valley in order to boost elk herds. Defenders, our allies and our supporters weighed in to convince the commissioners not to support the unjustified extension, and they unanimously rejected the proposal.

Washington Passes Wolf Compensation and Coexistence Funding

In 2012, the Washington state legislature passed a bill to provide more than one million dollars toward funding compensation and nonlethal coexistence strategies to increase conservation efforts for wolves in the state.  Defenders advocated heavily for this measure.

Oregon Passes Landmark Wolf Coexistence Bill

On August 3, 2011 the governor of Oregon signed a bill into law that establishes a county-based livestock compensation and wolf coexistence program to reduce conflicts between livestock and wolves.

Paradise Valley Coexistence Project

Defenders, in collaboration with partners Natural Resources Defense Council and Keystone Conservation, is helping to fund a project in Paradise Valley outside of Yellowstone National Park that uses a combination of tools to proactively manage livestock in a way that can make them less vulnerable to predation. Some of the tools used on the project are a range rider, electric fence and carcass removal. We are in the second year of this project, and look forward to learning more from this field season.

Wood River Wolf Project

In the Sawtooth Mountains of south-central Idaho, excellent occupied wolf habitat overlaps the grazing grounds for thousands of sheep every summer. Defenders’ ongoing Wood River Wolf Project works on the ground with local stakeholders to use nonlethal methods of keeping livestock and wolves safely apart. Since its inception in 2007, the project has protected 10,000-27,000 sheep each year as they graze in the Sawtooth National Forest. The project area has the lowest loss rate of livestock in the state, and zero wolves there have been killed by wildlife control agents.

Fighting Aerial Gunning

Defenders partnered successfully with numerous local Alaska groups to twice bring Alaska’s aerial wolf-control programs to a halt.  In 1996 and 2000, we helped local groups run two successful citizens’ ballot initiatives that stopped the programs for a period of three years. In 2010, Defenders worked with our partners to successfully prevent the state of Alaska from conducting an aerial wolf control program on Unimak Island, a remote National Wildlife Refuge and wilderness area at the tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Programs such as the one proposed for Unimak are inappropriate on federal lands in Alaska. We will continue to support federal wildlife management strategies that are consistent with federal policies and mandates.
 

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Baird's Tapir by Evometheus6082
Baird's Tapir

Range:

Mexico, Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia’s Malaya and Sumatra

Habitat:

Swamps, forests, savanna, and rain forests

Odds and ends make a magnificent beast

Zoo visitors often ask, "What is it? A pig? An anteater?" No, it's a tapir, a primitive animal that has remained unchanged for millions of years. The four tapir species are most closely related to horses and rhinos, since they have an odd number of toes (four toes on each front foot, three on each back foot). Their eyes and ears are small, and the body is teardrop shaped: tapered in the front and wider at the rear, designed to walk through thick vegetation. Male tapirs are slightly smaller than females.

Hide What a nose!

The tapir's nose and upper lip combine into a flexible snout like an elephant's trunk. It can be used as a snorkel when the animal is underwater and as an effective tool to detect odors wafting through the dense forest. This prehensile mini-trunk (by elephant standards!) is used to grab branches and strip off the leaves or to help pluck fruit and put it directly in the tapir’s mouth. It also adds an air of mystery to the tapir—at first glance, it’s hard to tell just what this creature is!

- See more at: animals.sandiegozoo.org/animal…


HideA daily dip

All tapirs prefer wooded or grassy areas with places to shelter during the day and a lake, river, or pond for taking a nighttime dip. Their toes are splayed to help create traction in the slippery mud on shorelines and hillsides. Barrel-shaped, with short, bristly hair, tapirs are surprisingly nimble and are excellent at scrambling up steep riverbanks. They can also run and swim. It is thought they walk along river bottoms, much like hippos do.

Tapirs like to spend a lot of time in the water, eating aquatic plants, cooling off, or washing away skin parasites. They can stay underwater for several minutes. Even youngsters are able to swim when just a few days old. Primarily active at dawn and dusk when it’s cooler, many tapirs are active throughout the night, foraging for grasses, plants, and fruits.

HideBeing careful

When frightened, tapirs can take to the water and breathe with their snout poked above the surface like a snorkel. Large cats and crocodiles are natural tapir predators. However, adult tapirs can deter predators with their tough hide and by snapping and biting.

HideTapir treats

A tapir is both a browser and a grazer! Using its incredible nose like a finger, the tapir can pluck leaves from tree branches or root around in the soft underbrush for fallen fruit to dine on. The tapir can use its flexible nose to explore a circle of ground 1 foot (30 centimeters) in diameter without having to move its head!

In the wild, tapirs eat a variety of different plants. This diet gives them an important role in the ecology of their forest home: seeds passing through their digestive tract help reseed for a new generation of plants. Tapirs are nocturnal, so that impressive nose is useful for finding food in the dark.

At the San Diego Zoo, the tapirs are fed a variety of vegetables and browse. Bananas and apples are offered as special treats.

HideTapir talk

Tapirs can communicate in a number of ways. A high-pitched whistle is one of the most common tapir vocalizations: it sounds like car brakes screeching to a halt! A snort with foot stamping usually means the tapir is preparing to defend itself. Urine marking is another important nonverbal signal, and tapirs mark paths through the forest in this way, sniffing along their route and identifying other tapirs in the area to avoid a violent confrontation.

HideGrowing up tapir

After a 13-month gestation period, a single tapir baby (twins are rare), called a calf, is born while the mother stands. The calf’s eyes are open, and it can stand one or two hours after birth.

Even though there are differences in habitat and geography, all tapir calves look like brown- and beige-striped watermelons on legs. This color pattern is great camouflage for the youngsters in the dappled sunlight of the forest, especially when the calf lies down on the ground while Mom forages. The calf begins to lose these markings after a few months, and when the youngster is about six months old, it looks like a miniature adult.

Tapir calves can swim at a very young age. Young tapirs nurse as long as the mother provides milk or until her next calf is born. For many years it was believed that tapirs lived solitary lives in the wild, except for mothers raising young or a male and female that come together during breeding season. Recently, scientists have discovered that tapirs often graze in pairs or small groups, traveling over larger ranges than previously thought.

Calves reach full size in about 18 months but are considered mature at 2 to 4 years.

Hide The importance of tapirs

As a key species in shaping and maintaining the biological diversity of tropical forests, tapirs are vital components in their ecosystems. They are masters at dispersing seeds and leaving them well fertilized, providing themselves and other animals with an ongoing supply of food and shelter. A recent study of lowland tapirs in Peru revealed 122 different seed species in their dung!

Tapirs are important recyclers of nutrients, helping the soil and landscape thrive. They also serve as biological indicators of the health and vitality of an area: tapirs are the first species to decline when there is human disturbance because of their large size, slow reproductive rate, and sensitivity to their environment.

- See more at: animals.sandiegozoo.org/animal…
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Gorilla by Evometheus6082
Gorilla

Mountain Gorilla

CONSERVATION STATUS: Critically Endangered

  • Less than 900 remain today
  • Live in national parks
  • Lifespan of 40-50years

QUICK FACTS


Scientific name Gorilla beringei beringei
Weight Males: Up to 400 lbs. Females: 215 lbs
Size Males: up to 6-ft. tall Females: up to 5-ft. tall
Life span 40 to 50 years
Habitat Dense forest, rain forest
Diet Herbivorous
Gestation About 8.5 months
Predators Predominately humans, occasionally leopards

Habitat

Where do mountain gorillas live?

The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. 

Physical Characteristics

What are mountain gorillas?

As one of the great apes, mountain gorillas are the largest of the living primates. They have muscular arms, a massive chest, and broad hands and feet. Their thick black hair helps insulate them from cold weather.

Behavior & Diet

The silverback protects what matters most.

Mountain gorillas live in groups of two to 40 led by the silverback, a dominant male that is the chief leader and protector. Almost 10 times stronger than the biggest American football players, a silverback protects its group from attacks by humans, leopards, or other gorillas—even if it means sacrificing his own life.

Mountain gorilla infants develop twice as fast as humans.

The female mountain gorilla usually gives birth when she turns 10 and has offspring every four or more years. Newborns are weak and weigh only about 4 pounds. Their first movements are awkward, like a human infant, but they develop almost twice as fast. Infants nurse and are gradually weaned after they turn 3 years old, when they are more independent.

Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivores.

Even though they eat like football players, their diet is made up of more than 100 different species of plants. And, they rarely need to drink since they get most of their water from those plants.

Challenges

Humans are pushing the mountain gorillas out of the wild and into extinction.

A census in 2011 recorded fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild. For mountain gorillas, their biggest threats come from deforestation and the region’s growing population.

The forest where mountain gorillas live is fertile and rich in biodiversity. This has made it one of the most populated regions in Africa, with 85% of the population making its living by growing food on the land. As people move closer to where gorillas live, they also bring the risk of spreading human diseases to gorillas such as the flu, pneumonia, and even ebola.

A future marred by conflict.

War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in more than four million lives lost over the past 14 years. The mountain gorillas are caught in the middle of this social and economic crisis.

The locals depend on the natural resources and wildlife-based tourism for their welfare. So, the future of mountain gorillas will be closely linked with the peace and prosperity through the land.

Solutions

Our solutions to saving the mountain gorillas from extinction:

  • Work with partners.

    At African Wildlife Foundation, we’re working with the conservation efforts initiated by the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP). And together with Fauna & Flora International and World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, we’re helping the countries of DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda work together to protect and conserve the area and ensure the gorilla population will endure.

    This coalition has helped the nearly extinct mountain gorilla population grow by more than 15%.

  • Equip staff.

    We are also equipping park staff, including wardens and rangers, with the technology they need to monitor the park and help protect these animals from threats.

  • Work with locals.

    IGCP/AWF works with locals to help benefit the gorillas and the community. For example, one of our public-private partnerships has designed and constructed community-owned tourist lodges. These lodges benefit the local people who share their backyard with gorillas by generating income through tourism. It’s efforts like these that will continue to help develop livelihood strategies that complement conservation.


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Giraffe by Evometheus6082
Giraffe

Giraffe

CONSERVATION STATUS:

Least Threatened

  • Population of about80Kindividuals
  • Can gallop at35miles per hour
  • Native to more than15 African countries

QUICK FACTS

Scientific name: Giraffa camelopardalis
Weight: Up to 3,000 lb.
Size: 18 ft. tall
Life span: 25 years
Habitat:Dense forest to open plains
Diet:Herbivorous
Gestation:Between 14 and 16 months
Predators: Humans, lions, crocodiles

Where do giraffes live?

Giraffes are found in arid and dry savanna zones south of the Sahara, wherever trees occur.

Tags: BotswanaCameroonDRCKenyaMozambiqueNamibiaNigerSouth AfricaTanzaniaUganda,ZambiaZimbabweKazungulaMaasai SteppeRegional Parc WSamburuEast AfricaSouthern Africa,West/Central Africa

What are giraffes?

Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. They are uniquely adapted to reach vegetation inaccessible to other herbivores. The giraffe has unusually elastic blood vessels with a series of valves that help offset the sudden buildup of blood (and to prevent fainting) when its head is raised, lowered, or swung quickly. Giraffe "horns" are actually knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes that protect the head from injury.

Giraffes are extremely picky eaters.

Although it feeds 16 to 20 hours a day, the giraffe may consume only about 65 pounds of foliage during that time. It can maintain itself on as little as 15 pounds of foliage per day. It will eat grass and fruits of various trees and shrubs, but its principal food source is the acacia tree.

They are not heavy drinkers.

Giraffes drink water when it is available, and they are able to survive in areas with scarce water.

Young giraffes are self-sufficient but vulnerable.

The 6-foot-tall calf grows rapidly, as much as an inch a day. By 2 months of age, the young giraffe is eating leaves and at 6 months, it is fairly independent of its mother. A young giraffe can even survive early weaning at 2 or 3 months. Although few predators attack adult giraffes, lions, hyenas, and leopards take their toll on the young. Scientists report that only a quarter of infants survive their first year of life.

Challenges

Humans hunt giraffes for their hides and meat.

Giraffe tails are highly prized by many African cultures. The desire for good-luck bracelets, fly whisks, and thread for sewing or stringing beads have led people to kill the giraffe for its tail alone. Giraffes are easily killed, and poaching (now more often for their meat and hide) continues today.

Giraffes are quickly losing their living spaces.

The number of giraffes in the wild is shrinking as their habitats shrink. As human populations grow and increase agricultural activities, expand settlements, and construct roads, the giraffe is losing its beloved acacia trees, which are its main source of food.

Solutions

Our solutions to conserving the giraffe:

  • Educate local communities.

    We educate communities living near giraffes on the importance of sustainable practices for agricultural and settlement growth by providing training on best practices and incentivizing conservation agriculture when appropriate.

  • Reforest key areas.

    African Wildlife Foundation has reforestation projects, focused in West Africa, which plant more acacia trees so giraffes can expand their habitats.

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East Asian Dragon by Evometheus6082
East Asian Dragon

Eastern dragons are found all over the so-called 'Far East,' including China, Korea, and Japan. Many different animals contribute to the dragon's body. For instance, the dragon has the body of a snake, belly of a frog, scales of a carp, head of a camel, horns of a giant stag, the eyes of a hare, ears like a bull, a neck like an iguana, paws like a tigers, and claws like an eagle.

The Difference between Dragons

Chinese dragons have five toes. The Chinese believe that all eastern dragons originated from China. They believed that when the dragons flew away, they began to lose toes. The farther and farther the dragons flew, the more toes they lost. So, Korean dragons have four toes, and Japanese dragons have three.
Japanese dragons have three toes. The Japanese believe that all eastern dragons originated from Japan. They also believed that when the dragons began to leave Japan, they gain toes. The farther the dragons went, the more toes they gained. This is why the other dragons have more toes. The breath of Japanese dragons turned into clouds, which could produce rain or fire. Due to a measure upon their heads, they could ascend to Heaven when they chose.
Korean dragons have four toes. The Koreans believe that all eastern dragons originated from Korea. When the dragons leave Korea and go toward China, they gain toes. When the dragons leave Korea and go toward Japan, they lose toes.

Differences from Females to Males

Other interesting things to note is the differences between the dragons in pictures. For instance, males usually have clubs in their tails while females hold fans. These dragons can also be depicted as descending from the sky or inside clouds. Sometimes you might even be able to see a pearl, which is considered a 'Pearl of Wisdom' that the dragons possess. 
Other things to look for include horns. Male horns were thinner near the base of the head and thicker and stronger outwardly.
Females have 'nicer' manes. Rather, they are rounder, and thus seen as more balanced than the rigid mane of the males. Their noses are usually straighter, their scales thinner, (after all, they are smaller!) and finally, a thicker tail. 'Thicker' meaning throughout the body.

The Oriental Dragons

There are nine types of Chinese dragons, also regarded as the Oriental Dragons. You should also note that nine is a very lucky number to the Chinese. These are: the horned dragon, the celestial dragon, the spiritual dragon, the winged dragon, the dragon of hidden treasures, the coiling dragon, the yellow dragon, and the dragon king. Each of these dragon types has a special attribute to them.

The Horned dragon is also know as Lung. They are the most powerful of the Oriental Dragons and are completely deaf. They how the power to produce rain, too. It should also be noted that the head points South, and the tail points North. In addition, they are a symbol of the East and the sun.
The Celestial dragon protects the mansions of the gods to the Chinese, and the Spiritual dragon creates rain and wind for mankind. The Dragon of Hidden Treasures helps keep watch over concealed wealth, and the coiling dragon lives in the water, primarily lakes and deep, deep waters. The yellow dragon is especially important, for this dragon emerged from water and aided the Emperor Fu Shi by showing him writing.
The Dragon King is really four dragons, and these dragons keep watch over the four main seas. They were honored and respected, for they were the ones the Chinese went to if there was little or no rain. The four lived in the North, South, East, or West waters.

How do they fly?

Unlike most types of dragon, most Eastern Dragons have no wings. (As a mater of fact, Ying-Lung dragons were the only ones to have wings.) How, pray tell, did these dragons fly? Well, the people of the East saw dragons as magical beings, so they believed in 'Flight by Magic'.
On Chinese dragon's heads, they would have a lump called the chi'ih-muh. This is usually omitted in pictures, either due to the fact that the Chinese did not wish to put it in or due to the fact that the lump looks 'normal'. Some dragons did not have a chi'ih-muh. Instead, they had a wand (or baton) shaped object that they called po-shan. This, too, would allow them to fly. 

Life Stages of Dragons

Chinese believe that the dragons have several different 'growth' or 'life' stages.

At birth to around five hundred years (or so) of the dragon's life, they are a 'water snake'. They are not dragons in the sense that we think them to be. From five hundred (or so) to around one thousand (or so) they become Chiao, or scaled creatures. 
Chiao are also referred to as Chiao-Lung or Kiao. They are said to begin as a fish, and, at a considerably old age, turn into a dragon. They are scaled dragons.
After the Chiao stage, from about one thousand years to one thousand five hundred years old, the dragon grows rapidly. This is when the dragon becomes a Lung dragon. This takes place over the five hundred year period.
Lung are also called Li-Lung or Chih-Lung. Unlike some dragons, they are hornless and symbolize the scholar. These dragons can gain horns, but only after about five hundred years.
When the dragon is between the ages of one thousand five hundred and two thousand, he or she will become a Horned Dragon. They will gain horns and thus look much wiser in the process.After the dragon is two thousand years old, they become a Ying-Lung. They are winged dragons that are also scale-less. They gain wings only after they've been around for about one thousand years, and they never have scales.

Other Information

Eastern dragons were revered and honored as demi-gods. Why? They were the primary source of rain, which the Chinese viewed as essential to life. Furthermore, dragons could cause dangerous floods if they were not satisfied. The only fears that Chinese dragons had were simple. Dragons feared tigers, perhaps due to the fact that they were the 'opposites' of each other (in the Chinese Zodiacs).Other fears include beeswax, silk died in five colors, the lien tree, iron, and the still unknown wang plant. Why did they fear them? Well, Chinese believe in balance, like the Yin Yang. For all good, there must be bad. For all brave, there must be some fear. Each fear has an element:

  • Fire - beeswax (lights the candle)
  • Earth - wang plant
  • Water - silk (flow of silk)
  • Wood - lien tree
  • Metal - iron (made of man)
  • All - silk died in five colors, meaning all the elements
Most of the Eastern dragons could also shape shift. They could take the form of different creatures, such as beasts or man. Whensoever they did this, they were always the most beautiful and kind of all the species.

In turn, other animals, including humans, could become dragons. Mainly through magic, people could turn into one of these amazing beasts. One story is of a man studying magic to change into a dragon. Another has it that a boy swallowed a dragon pearl and transformed into one.

There is also the Dragon's Gate, where fish can take the challenge to become a dragon. They must swim against torrents of water and clear a huge leap, and if they complete this they can become a dragon themselves. This gate is located in the Yellow River at the border between the Shensi and Shansi providences. The transformation from fish to dragon is said to be instantaneous. In addition, the dragons are said to rise from this gate in to the skies in the spring and descend into the waters in autumn. 

All Chinese dragons are said to have one hundred and seventeen scales total. Eighty-one of these scales are 'yang', or the active, dominant, moving force. The other thirty-six scales are said to be of 'yin', or the passive, recessive, accepting force. This is said to keep the dragon in balance. 

Eastern Dragon Types

The Koreans speak of the following: Mang are four-toed dragons. They are a symbol of temporal power. 

Chinese speak of the Pa Snakes, on the other hand, as huge serpents that enjoy elephants for meals. Thus, they appear in elephant-oriented areas. They spit out the bones of the elephant three years after they are eaten! 

There are the ch'i-lung. They are hornless and tri-colored. (The colors are red, white, and green.) 

P'an-lung are dragons that do not have the ability to fly. (They are lacking the chi'ih-muh or the po-shan, perhaps.) 

P'eng-niao is a semi-dragon bird. Being half bird and half dragon, they seldom appear in Chinese Mythology. 

There is also k'uh-lung. This dragon is born from a certain seaweeds. 

The deity of rivers was also draconic. Pi-hsi was partly a tortoise and partly a dragon. Pi-hsi is that of the element of water. 

Fei-lian is the Chinese god of the wind. With him, he carries a bag of wind. He is dubbed a troublemaker, and he is watched by Shen Yi, the archer. Shen Yi is the balance of Fei-lian. He is depicted as winged dragon with the head of a stag and the tail of a snake. In human form, he is Feng Bo. 

Japanese Dragon Types

There are the Tatsu, which are Japanese dragons. They are a symbol of the Mikado. They are also looked upon as imperial and spiritual power, and they tend to live in lakes and springs. [9]

Sui-Riu is the Japanese Dragon King. The Dragon King was in charge of all the rain, and he was sometimes known as 'the rain dragon.' 

Han-Riu is a multi-striped Japanese Dragon. Though the dragon is around (or over) forty feet long, this dragon can never reach heaven. 

Ri-Riu, a bit of an unknown dragon, has exceptional eye sight. (As in comparison with other dragons, of course.) 

Ka-Riu was one of the smaller dragons, being that the dragon was only seven feet long. It is said, however, that the Ka-Riu was fiery red. 

Fuku Riu is a dragon of luck. 

Hai-riyo is a Japanese 'Dragon-Bird'. Said to be much like the Chinese Ying-Lung, this was the most 'evolved' form of a dragon. 

Eastern Dragon Colors

What makes the dragon colors so important? Each has its own special meaning and symbol. They also have their own attributes to them.

Eastern Dragons are born with their colors based upon the age and color of their parents. The colors of dragons are: white, red, black, blue, and yellow. Each is born to a different parent.

Black dragons are children of a thousand-year-old dragon that is black-gold. They are symbols of the North. They caused storms by battling in the air. 

Blue dragons are children of blue-gold dragons that are eight hundred years old. They are purest blue colors, and they are the sign of the coming spring. They are they are the symbol of the East. 

Yellow dragons are born from yellow-gold dragons who are one thousand years or older. They hold no symbol. They are secluded and wander alone. They appear at 'the perfect moment' and at all other times remain hidden. Yellows are also the most revered of the dragons. 

Red dragons descend from a red-gold dragon who is about one thousand years of age. They are the symbol for the West, and are much like black dragons. They can cause storms in the skies when they fight. 

White dragons come from white-gold dragons of a thousand years of age. They symbolize the South. White is the Chinese color of mourning, and these dragons are a sign of death. 


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Evometheus6082
Zach moss
Artist | Hobbyist | Artisan Crafts
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Born in 4/29/1994 in Berlin Germany. I like to take pictures of animals and mushrooms for project Noah and to make pipe-cleaner lifeforms and have higher functioning autism.
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MarielKeybash96 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You Visted my SpritelandersClub?
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Evometheus6082 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yea I was just looking around
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MarielKeybash96 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
ok
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RisenDork Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks so much for the birthday Llama Badge!  You are so thoughtful!

Love 
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WillemSvdMerwe Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014
Thanks a lot for the watch!
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789lol Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ようこそに私達の基~!.::. Youkoso ni watashitachi no ki~!
:squee: *Welcome to our group~!* :squee:
Our group may just be starting out, so thank you so very much for giving us a chance and joining! I plan to submit new journals weekly, so don't miss out! Nod Also, once we receive enough support, we may even do contests, giveaways, and other community projects. So if you know any other Japanese enthusiasts, please feel free to invite them over. Heart

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~Tania (789lol):iconbowplz:

:iconflowerdanceplz:Share-a-bit-of-Japan:iconflowerdanceplz:
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Evometheus6082 Featured By Owner May 4, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for inviting me in the 1st place may the 4th be with you
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789lol Featured By Owner May 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No problem. xD I'm sure I saw you in another Japanese group so I thought that you might be interested is all. x3 I'm glad you're happy! / By the way, have you read the journal that I posted? fav.me/d7gs6x4

The reason I ask is that I plan on doing similar journals in the nearby future based around a certain aspect of Japanese culture that our members would like to hear about. C: Could you help me out?

I just need to know (for now xD) what are the top 5 aspects of Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about?
(In example: (tales/stories vs poems) literature, (tradition vs modern) music, (traditional vs modern) art, (t.v.m.) food, patriotic (anthem, flag, etc.), games, etc.)

Please and thank you!
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dango117 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Student Artist
welcome to autistic angels Kermityay  im one of the co founders feel free to ask me qs or chat! XD
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RisenDork Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Uncanny.  My son (Kilauea2011.deviant art) has high functioning autism.  He is a gifted photographer (animals, mushrooms and other nature-scapes) and writer.  His favorite band is Within Temptation, and he also listens to Dragonforce and Evanescence.  Our family loves watching Through the Wormhole together, too!  You should look him up -- I bet you'd find you have even more interests in common, as well as someone to share with, who understands first-hand what it is like to have a unique, blessed world-view!  Best of luck in your artistic endeavors! Ninja Sherlock Holmes 
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