Illustrations to make people smile and to help inspire love, care & concern for endangered animals
Aleisha Caruso works as a Wildlife Advocate with The United Nations Association of Western Australia, (UNAA-WA). She works to help protect endangered animals from extinction and she contacted me about a project called ‘EXTINCTION SUCKS’ (http://www.myspace.com/extinctionsucks), saying ‘Your work not only makes me smile but is so wonderfully uplfting and I am writing to ask if the Extinction Sucks project is something that you may be interested in working on.’
In January 2009, nine designs were launched as part of a new range from Alice Palace called Extinction sucks, and proceeds from the sale of these greetings cards helped to keep the animals alive & protected. The nine animals featured: the Indian rhino, the Asian elephant, the sea turtle, the moon bear, the Tasmanian devil, the gorilla, the giant panda, the right whale and the hector’s dolphin. On the back of each greetings card there are fun facts, and below is further information on each of these animals as well ways in which to help them.
I N D I A N R H I N O - The indian rhino is the fastest disappearing large mammal in the world. They are critically endangered from poaching for their horns as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine.
Reasons to LOVE the Indian Rhino…
1. They play in the mud, to protect their skin form the sun.
2. They look indestructible, but their skin is actually quite sensitive, especially to biting insects.
3. Baby Rhino calves live with mummy Rhino until a new baby is born, at which time, the toddler is chased off.
4. The Rhino is similar to a unicorn in that it has only one horn.
5. They look big & strong but are naturally nervous.
6. The Indian Rhinoceros can run 35 miles (55 kilometers) an hour… but don’t worry, the Indian Rhino quickly runs out of gas and needs to take a rest stop.
Rhino conservation facts:
• The rhino is the fastest disappearing large mammal in the world.
• Rhinos have lived on earth for 40 million years, but it has taken just half of one century to bring each of the 5 remaining species to the brink of extinction.
• Rhino horn fetches higher prices than gold.
• Rhinos still being poached & killed for their horns which are used in traditional medicine.
• In 2007, 3 of India’s top wildlife reserves have been heavily hit by poachers killing Rhinos.
• In Nepal’s Royal Chitwan National Park alone, poachers shot at least 104 rhinos in the past six years - three of them during a single week in July 2006.
• The situation of the Indian rhinos remains precarious as global market pressures continue to push the demand for their horns currently valued at about US$ 37,000 per kilo in international market.
• The recent incidents suggest that poachers are taking advantage of gaps in enforcement efforts at the field level. They are becoming bolder, shooting animals in the vicinity of park camps and villages, suggesting again that the profits from this illegal trade are high enough to take such risks.
• The criminal cartels poaching rhinos and trading in their horns have become more organized as an international crime syndicate”, said Dr Susan Lieberman, WWF-International Species Programme Director “An organized effort must be launched to stop the poaching, and attack the trade at its roots—the organized smuggling networks taking the horns across the border to end markets, in China and elsewhere in Asia.
• Rhino horn sells for US$10,000 a kilo on the black market, which is more than the price of gold. But the animals’ hooves, skin and other body parts too are sought after for traditional medicine and ritual purposes.
• The greater one-horned rhinoceros once roamed across the entire north of the Indian subcontinent. Today only a few small subpopulations in NE India and Nepal are hanging on.
• Nepal’s rhino population has suffered a catastrophic decline of more than 30% in the past five years, according to WWF.
How to help the rhino
1. Adopt a Rhino by visiting Asian Rhino Project at: http://www.asianrhinos.org.au. Your money will provide vital support to help protect the Indian Rhino in the wild from illegal poaching activities.
2. Travel and adventure ...Travel to Chitwan National Park in Nepal for a Rhino Survey Expedition http://www.tigermountain.com A direct way you can make a real difference to helping save the Indian Rhino stay alive in the wild.
3. Share your views by contacting your local newspaper, magazine or radio station regarding issues regarding illegal wildlife trade in endangered species or write to your local, state, and federal government officials about upcoming legislation.
Help at: http://www.asianrhinos.org.au
I N D I A N E L E P H A N T - The indian elephant is endangered as they are hunted and killed for their ivory.
Reasons to LOVE the Indian Elephant…
1. All in the family - Elephants may live more than 50 years they have close lifelong bonds with their family members their whole life.
2. Baby Elephant calves are clumsy at first with their trunks but they learn to use them as they grow older.
3. Elephants demonstrate concern for members of their families they take care of weak or injured members and appear to grieve over a dead companion.
4. Elephants have a very high level of intelligence, interesting behavior, methods of communication and complex social structure.
5. Elephants are very social, frequently touching and caressing one another and entwining their trunks.
- When two elephants meet, each places the tip of its trunk in the other’s mouth as a greeting.
- A young elephant is touched by its mother or another close relative every few seconds. This constant re-assurance keeps it from being frightened.
- When elephants meet, they touch each other with their trunks, smell each other and rumble greeting sounds.
6. Elephants often march along in a row , sometimes with each elephant holding the tail of the one in front
7. Adult elephants co-operate with each other to protect and guide the young of the herd, when danger is sensed the group forms a tight circle around the calves. The matriarch (female leader) faces the direction of the threat
8. An elephant baby feels safe between its mothers front legs and it spends most of the first years of its life there. Mother elephants look after their young for longer than any other animals parent except humans.
• A growing elephant learns a lot simply by playing, male elephants push and shove each other to test their strength. Females play games with lots of chasing such as tag.
• A baby elepant is brought up by its family in a fun loving easy going and caring environment.
• Water babies - In the water, baby elephants often hold o to the tail of the elephant in front for safety. They can easily be swept away by fast flowing rivers.
• Little learners - Young elephant calves copy the adults of the family to learn where to find water and food, if they ate in trouble a big sister a cousin or an aunt is always around to help.
• When a baby ele is born the other females in the group sniff the newcomer and softly touch it all over while rumbling with excitement.
• Trunk tricks - Baby elesphants are curious and inquisitive, they wnt to touch and feel eveeryting with their trunk. At first they cannot control their long, wobbly nose - they trip over it or suck on it – just as human babies suck their thumbs. It takes months of practise to learn how to use their trunk.
• Guiding trunk at first, a baby elephant sticks close to its mother night and day. It is always within reach of a comforting touch from her strong, guiding trunk, the mother encourages her baby, helps it to keep up with other members of the herd and often pulls it back if it starts to stray - baby elephants will die quickly if they are left on their own.
• The Matriarch - usually the oldest and largest adult female becomes the matriarch (female leader) and the rest of the group rely on her. She controls when they eat, drink ad rest. She also protects them from dangers and controls family members who misbehave.
• If a baby calls out in distress, its relatives rush to its siude, with rumbles of reassurance and comforting touches with their trunks.
• Elephant calves play together for part of every day. They chase, push and climb over other babies and wrestle with their trunks. These playful calves are testing out their strength and learning to live in the group.
• A young elephant has to master giving itself a dust bath. It must also learn to pick up and carry things with its trunk, drink, feed and have a mudbath if a young elephant cannot reach water, the mother sucks up water in her trunk and squirts it down her babys throat.
• Humans can only hear about one third of the sounds an elephant make.
• Elephants stomach growls as a welcome sound in elephant society.
• Elephants stomachs make loud rumbling and growling noises that other elephants can hear, which seem to be contented sounds signaling everything is okay.
9. Usually Elephants sleep standing up supported by their firm legs.They may rest their trunks on the ground while they snooze. Other times elepahants sleep lying on their sides when they do this they have been known to make pillows of grass for themselves. Sleeping elephants have been heard snoring.
10. Elephants spray each other with water, wrestle with their trunks and flop sideways with great splashes. Sometimes they turn upside down and poke the soles of their feet out of the water. All this play strengthens the bonds between individuals and keeps groups together.
11. Elephants’ ears are a little like air conditioners. As elephants flap their wet ears on a hot day, the blood flowing through the many blood vessels there is cooled. This in turn cools their large bodies.
Elephant Conservation Facts:
• It is estimated that approximately 20,000 elephantts are killed every year to supply the illegal ivory trade – IFAW.
• The Poaching of tuskers Male Elephants for ivory. The ratio of males to females is 1male: 28 females.
• Habitat fragmentation / Human elephant conflict.
• Tuskers (males) are shot for their ivory (females do not have ivory). With most large tuskers gone the poachers now even target young males with small tusks. Poaching of tuskers for ivory is the biggest threat to the Asian elephants all over. This threat has the potential to destroy the species. Imagine a male female ratio that plummets to 1 male : 100 females or a population without males, in the wake of relentless poaching.
• Poaching for ivory can wipe out the population over the long term.
How to help the Indian Elephant
1. Do not support elephant poachers by buying anything that is made from elephants, such as ivory jewellery or trinkets, elephant leather wallets, or elephant hair bracelets. If you own ivory already do not glamorise it by wearing it. Demand causes death to these innocent creatures.
2. Elephants eat a lot - up to 200kg of various food per day! Provide a meal for one of a hungry herd of rescued Elephants. Visit http://www.elephantnaturepark.org.
3. Become a volunteer at a Elephant conservation park and help care for rescued elephants as well as protect the species in the wild from illegal poaching activities. Visit http://www.elephantnaturepark.org.
Help at: http://www.elephantnaturepark.org
S E A T U R T L E - All 7 species of marine turtles are Endangered or Critically Endangered. Although they have managed to survive 100 million years, sea turtles are now in trouble due to environmental threats such as floating plastic bags. They mistake the bags for jellyfish which they eat, and choke and suffocate on. In addition, turtles are caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries, and people harvest precious turtle eggs by the thousands from nests.
Reasons to LOVE the Sea Turtle…
1. Female sea turtles return to the same beach from which they hatched to lay their eggs, they swim thousands of km’s to get there - we don’t know no one knows how the females find the beach where they were born.
2. Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches on land to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances between foraging grounds and nesting beaches.
3. During the first year after hatching, many species of sea turtles are rarely seen. This first year is known as the “lost year” – scientists don’t know exactly where they go or do.
4. Sea turtles do not need any training whatsoever to swim because they are born with that ability already.
5. A female Sea Turtle can lay up to 200 eggs at once.
6. When in the eggs, turtles take about 2 months to incubate and their sex is determined by the temperature. Under 29 degrees they become male, over 29 degrees they become female.
7. Something wondrous happens along our beaches: An ancient mariner, the loggerhead sea turtle, leaves the water during the night and crawls ashore to lay her eggs in a sandy nest.
8. The task of excavating a nest to lay her eggs may take a mother turtle hours to accomplish. Weighing several hundred pounds she patienetly and laboriously digs a nest cavity with her rear flippers. She then deposits approximately 100 pliable ping-pong ball sized eggs into the chamber, covers them with sand and returns to the sea.
9. After roughly a two-month incubation period, a cluster of tiny hatchlings emerges from the sand and scramble back to the ocean.
10. Sea turtles have existed on Earth for 150 million years with little serious threat to their survival - until recently.
11. After 50 days in the eggs, the turtles start breaking out of their shells.
12. Green Sea Turtles are very much like you and me; they breathe through their lungs.
13. Cold weather is fatal to the hatching of the eggs: it can kill the turtle in the egg if the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
14. A sea turtle’s body shell is made from an inner layer of scales. About only 5 out of the 200 Sea Turtles will survive from the dangerous waters; that is the reason so many eggs are laid.
15. Sea Turtles are very sensitive to sound - The Sea Turtle’s eardrum lays flat on its head behind its eye. Sea Turtles have better senses of smell than a shark or a dog.
16. The bad part about them is that they are color-blind. Leatherback sea turtles have high concentrations of red blood cells. Their muscles are stronger than a human’s. The Leatherback Sea Turtle has no scales in their shell. They have rubbery fibers instead.
17. Most Sea Turtles are nomads and travel about 1,300 miles a day! Leatherback Sea Turtles have the longest migration of all Sea Turtles.
18. A Sea Turtle’s shell is tough as a rock, so when diving into waters it would never crack.
19. Sea Turtles can stay submerged underwater for as long as 5 hours. But this is dangerous because it slows down the Sea Turtles heart rate to conserve oxygen. 10 minutes can elapse in between heart beats.
20. On a Sea Turtle’s shell there are strange markings. A lost culture has believed they could tell when the end of the world could be by reading the marks.
21. The Leatherback’s staple food is the jelly fish. They feed on a variety of crabs, jellyfish, sea-lice, and mollusks Sea turtles excrete salt absorbed in sea water from their eyes, which is why they seem to cry.
22. Some turtles can live for more than a year without food.
23. Once a male sea turtle hatches and enters the ocean, it will probably not step on land again.
24. A female turtle laying eggs will dig several empty nests to throw off predators trying to eat the eggs.
25. Age 80 is middle-aged for galapagos tortoises.
26. Turtles age back from the Triassic age, 200 million years ago.
Sea Turtle Conservation Facts:
• Pollution, drowning in fishing nets, floating plastic bags. Sea turtles are being killed because of their beautiful skin and killed for products like shells, leather, perfumes, and cosmetics. They are sold for high prices, up to $250 a kilogram.
• Although they have managed to survive 100 million years, sea turtles are now in trouble due to environmental threats such as floating plastic bags. They mistake the bags for jellyfish which they eat, and choke and suffocate on. Turtles are caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries, and people harvest precious turtle eggs by the thousands from nests.
• Get caught in fishing nets and die.
• Choke on rubbish (plastic bags, etc.).
• Hunted for food.
• Hunted for shells (used for jewellery). Illegal.
• Eggs are poached from nests and sold as an aphrodisiac (not in Aus).
• Pest animals (pigs, dogs, etc.) dig up nests and eat the eggs.
How to help the Sea Turtle:
1. You can help secure a safer future for endangered sea turtles by adopting a sea turtle by visiting The Marine Conservation Society at http://www.mcsuk.org.
2. Never buy marine souvenirs such as turtle shells.
3. Climate change affects humans and turtles alike many animals are threatened because of the earths rising temperatures, do your part to slow global warming to find out how visit: http://www.fightglobalwarming.com.
4. Do not litter – rubbish like plastic bags can easily make their way to the sea causing the deaths of many sea turtles who either get tangled and drown in them or mistake them for food eat them and choke to death. Use a environmentally friendly bags that can replace 500 single-use plastic bags.
5. CLEAN UP - take part in a coastal cleanup the turtles will love you for it.
Help at: http://www.mcsuk.org
T H E M O O N B E A R - This bear is endangered because it is hunted and killed for its gall bladder and paws, and for the pet trade: young bears are sold as pets on the illegal wildlife trade, and from deforestation of their natural habitat.
Reasons to love this bear:
1. Just like the moon every moon bear’s chest has a different shaped moon pattern.
2. Moon bears love to den in hollow logs and caves almost as if when you walk past they want to jump out and say peek-a-boo.
3. Moon bears love to splash water in their face .
4. They are very intelligent and have a large vocabulary, making clucking sounds during play and ‘tut-tut-tut’ sounds in warning.
5. Cubs will usually stay with their mother until they are around 2 or 3 years old as she teaches them many of the skills they’ll need in adulthood.
6. Bear cubs learn by following and imitating their mothers during the long period they are with her.
7. It’s not a myth bears love honey and will dig honey and termites to get their sweet treat - they are believed to be able to smell it from up to 5 kilometres away!
8. Whether its a ripe berry patch or a dripping honey comb, bears rely on their noses & will fight buzzing bees and biting termites when it’s dinner time.
9. The bears long slender tongue is ideal for licking honey from bees nests and for scopping up termites and other insects
10. Moon bear mothers often give birth to twins and have strong bonds with their cubs.
11. Moon Bears tend to be solitary, crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) animals once they reach adulthood. They can survive for up to 35 years in captivity, though usually live for 25 -30 years in the wild.
12. We will never know what thy dream about when they hibernate between November and March.
13. Spend most of the day Sleeping or sunbathing in the branches.
After 8 months of sales, the greetings card which stars the two bears is the top seller from the range of 9 designs. We have donated proceeds from these cards to the Free the Bears Fund to help keep the bears alive and protected - we’re sponsoring Bouncer for a year - who was rescued after being caught in a trap as a small cub. He had suffered terribly and his right forearm was badly mutilated. Unfortunately, his arm had to be completely amputated but Bouncer has managed to adapt remarkably well and now lives happily with a group of Sun bears at the Wildlife Friends of Thailand Rescue Centre in Phetchaburi.
• Deforestation of their natural habitat.
• Illegal Poaching for fur, meat and gall bladders for TCM (Asian medicinal trade) popular for improving health.
• Hunting bears are hunted for sport.
• Malayan sun bears are hunted for bile and paws; that is popular for improving health.
• Pet trade: young bears are sold as pets on the illegal wildlife trade.
How you can help:
1. Adopt a rescued bear at http://www.freethebears.org. All proceeds ensure the bear orphan receives the very best care and attention and has a safe, peaceful and happy life in one of Free the Bears Funds sanctuaries.
2. Travel and Adventure ...Join Free the Bears Fund on a unique adventure by travelling to one of their Asian Sanctuaries to get up close and personal with the beautiful bears that they have rescued. You can make a real difference helping out with the enrichment program and food preparation for the rescued bears. For more info visit http://www.freethebears.org.
3. Become a member of Free The Bears Fund and help support them with their vital mission to protect preserve and enrich the lives of bears throughout the world. Visit http://www.freethebears.org.
4. Help care for rescued Bears by becoming a Volunteer in one of the Free The Bears Funds Asian Sanctuaries. For more info visit http://www.freethebears.org
Help at: http://www.freethebears.org
T A S M A N I A N D E V I L - The Tasmanian Devil is endangered because a mystery highly contagious facial tumour disease called Devil Facila Tumor Disease is killing the population. They are also threatened by cars, loss of habitat, and disease.
Reasons to love the Tassy Devil:
1. When they emerge from the pouch after being born the young often ride on their mother’s back.
2. After the breeding season in March, the mother gives birth to her tiny babies, called joeys, which will remain in her pouch for close to four months.
3. They are curious and energetic and love growling & screeching.
4. They spend their days looking for wombats old cosy hollow logs to set up a cosy camp in.
5. Tasmanian devils travel long distances each night in their pursuit of food, sometimes covering as much as 16 kilometers.
6. Amazingly enough, about 50 are born at a time! They must race a distance of about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) from the birth canal to the mother’s rear-facing pouch, where they compete to attach themselves to one of only four available teats. Only those four will then have a chance to grow and survive.
7. A strong sneeze— No, they aren’t catching a cold! Instead, the sneeze may come before a fight between devils, but these are mostly spectacular bluff behaviors, all part of a ritual to lessen any fighting that may lead to serious injuries. After a nose-to-nose confrontation—during which their ears flush red!—one or both animals will usually back down.
8. Devils face a new challenge: a deadly disease that’s wiping out their population.
9. The Tasmanian devil could be extinct within a decade because there is little hope of finding a cancer vaccine before the wilderness population is wiped out.
• The Devil Facila Tumor Disease is a contagious cancer that is killing the tasdie devils at an alaeming rate. The Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) is a mysterious causes tumours to form in and around the mouth of the tassie devils, this interferes with feeding and eventually leads to death by starvation.
• Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is extremely unusual as it is only one of three recorded cancers that can spread like a contagious disease. The cancer is passed from devil to devil through biting. The live tumour cells aren’t rejected by the animal’s immune system because of a lack of genetic diversity among Tasmanian devils.
• DFTD has wiped out 80% of the tassy devils in the last decade and it threartend to wipe out the entire race.
How to help:
1. You can help rehabilitate an orphan baby devil at http://www.devilsindanger.com.au. This is a direct way to make a real difference to helping the Tassy Devils with their fight for survival.
2. You can become a surrogate parent of a devil Joey. Your money will go toward building a ‘No Injury Breeding Centre” to house the Tassy Devils in a safe and secure habitat to ensure they have no contact with wild diseased devils. Go to http://www.devilsindanger.com.au.
3. Don’t let our Devils become Angels! Spread the word about the plight of the Tasmanian Devil – the greater the awareness the greater the support!
Help at: http://www.devilsindanger.com.au
G O R I L L A - - Our closest living relatives may be extinct in 40 years, thanks to poaching and the loss of forest habitats.
Reasons why we love gorillas;
1. Gorillas share 98% of our human DNA and it sure shows they love when they are happy and cry when they sad.
2. Babies like to ride on their mums back.
3. They are gentle, loving, peaceful vegetarians - also: sensitive, self aware, highly intelligent, playful, peaceful animals who are family orientated.
4. They have so much love life & spirit in them.
5. They will die to defend a family member.
6. They display every emotion that we do as joy, sorrow, fear and despair.
7. They show curiosity and humour.
8. They ponder and problem solve.
9. They need physical re-assurance when they are frightened.
10. They cry when they are sad or hurt.
11. They have the capacity to understand the moods and needs of others.
12. They have close life-long friendships with their families & friends.
13. They affectionately hug, kiss & hold hands to bond with each other.
14. Each have their own unique personality.
15. Gorillas are ticklish – just like humans, under their arms, chins, etc.
16. They are gentle and protective and have been known to show compassion and save human infants toddlers that have fallen into their enclosures.
17. They like to spin around until they fall over.
18. They have the capacity for endless romping and play.
19. Best friends go everywhere together & are inseparable and are partners in fun and mischief.
20. They have temper tantrums when they don’t get their own way.
21. They like to play with new things especially when you tell them not to.
22. One has a security blanket which he loves and uses whilst he sleeps.
23. Gorillas are born after the same amount of time as humans (8-9 mnths).
• Habitat destruction - Habitat loss is a major threat to gorillas. Forests are rapidly being destroyed by commercial logging interests, for subsistence agriculture,and gorilla road building activities. There is a strong link between habitat loss and the bushmeat trade, as forests opened up by timber companies are more easily accessible to hunters, who often sell meat to employees of the logging companies.
• Hunting for meat & trophies Poaching of infants for the pet trade.
• The illegal killing of great apes for bush meat is widespread across Africa, and illegal exports of live animals continues both from Africa and South East Asia.
• Loss of habitat, hunted by people, and suffering from disease.
• The commercial trade in bushmeat, which occurs throughout west and central Africa, may now be more of a threat to African primates than habitat loss and degradation. However, the number of gorillas killed annually is unknown. Estimating numbers of gorillas poached is difficult because they are often butchered and eaten on the spot, or their meat is smoked for later sale in towns. Although the great apes constitute only a small proportion of all animals killed for the bushmeat trade, they present easy targets for hunters, and in some areas, such as eastern Cameroon, gorillas are favoured by hunters because of the weight of saleable meat.
• Gorillas are also frequently maimed or killed throughout their range by traps and snares intended for other forest animals such as antelope.
• Hunting for medicine and the live animal trade Gorillas are also sought after as pets, trophies, and their body parts which are used in medicine and as magical charms.
How to help
1. Become friends with Koko the Gorilla! Learn more about how very special, intelligent, emotional and human like Gorillas really are. Visit http://www.koko.org.
2. Become a Member of the Gorilla Foundation and help support their vital Research, Education and Conservation work to ensure that Koko and her species do not become extinct in the wild. Visit http://www.koko.org.
3. Only buy timber from sustainable logging and do not buy electrical items that contain Coltan (a tiny piece of metallic ore from Africa which is being mined and is contributing to forest loss and unrest in the region and is accelerating the loss of mountain gorillas at an alarmingly fast rate) and use your power as voters and consumers to stop forest from being destroyed by the timber and mining industries.
Help at: http://www.koko.org
G I A N T P A N D A - Endangered from poaching, habitat destruction & breeding threats.
Reasons to love The Giant Panda:
1. 60 % of the time panda mothers often give birth to twins and have strong bonds with their cubs.
2. With less that 2000 pandas in the wild and captivity, every new birth represents increased survival hope for this beloved symbol of endangered species everywhere.
3. Female pandas can only get pregnant over a 3 day period 1 time every year.
4. A newborn giant panda weighs between 90 to 150 GRAMS (3 – 5 ounces) - This is lighter than an apple.
5. A newborn Panda cub weighs 900 x TIMES LESS than its mothers does.
6. The size difference between a newborn panda cub compared to its mother is ONE of the GREATEST in the Animal Kingdom and except for marsupials (Kangaroo,Possums etc), a giant panda baby is the SMALLEST MAMMAL NEWBORN in COMPARISON to the size of it’s mother.
7. Newborn panda cubs enter the world completely pink and have their eyes closed like a kitten.
8. They are white, blind, furless, and helpless at birth.
9. Mother pandas transport their young by gently holding them in their teeth, similar to the way female cats carry their kitten.
10. The mother holds the cub to her chest much like a human mother.
11. Panda cubs grow very slowly: They get their black & white markings at 4 weeks of age.
12. At 4 weeks, a baby panda’s eyes open. Cubs won’t be able to stand on their own for nearly four months - At 3 to 4 months it is able to move on its own.
13. They will follow their mother at about 3 months after birth.
14. At 6 months they start eating bamboo.
15. They are fully grown in 2-4 years then they leave to find a territory of their own!!!!
16. In the wild, pandas nest on the ground or in hollow trees.
17. Sometimes new mothers do not seem to know how to take care of their cubs.
18. In captivity, if the mother does not care for the cub, they are then raised in incubators, in the nurseries at the Panda Reserves.
19. When twins are born, mother pandas will not usually care for both cubs.
20. At the Panda Reserves, the caretakers in the nursery leave one cub with the mother for her to care for and place one in the nursery in an incubator.
21. The cub iin the incubator is hand fed and given 24 hour care everyday.
22. Each week the twins are rotated between spending time with their mother and time in the incubator this enables both cubs to bond with mum, receive her care & also the antibodies in her milk. The mother accepts both babies, but only one at a time.
23. This process of exchanging the cubs is called the “cub swapping technique” and was developed at the Wolong GP Sanctuary in 1995.
24. The CST allows both of the cubs to survive in captivity.
25. In the wild, nature makes a choice between life and death however In the research centre this choice is not necessary providing an incubator is available.
26. The Wolong Panda Reserve now has a 90% Survival rate with Captive born cubs, due in large part to their method of raising twins in incubators.
27. 100% of last year’s 16 cubs survived, the largest number ever, due in part to the incubators and supplies provided by Pandas International.
28. Cubs are also hand raised, when first time mothers, who often do not seem sure as to how to care for their cub are unable to care for them.
29. BABY PANDAS LOVE TO PLAY.
30. Just like humans, baby pandas are playful—like to roll down hills & do somersoults, run and chase each other they are learning the skills of the wild and how to be a panda like how to climb trees and eat bamboo usually they learn by copying their mums (they have climbing facilities which replicate their natural environment) new foods like carrots and bamboo.
31. The recent births offer a real ray of sunshine (hope) for the very fragile Giant Panda Population.
32. There is a Tibetan legend explaining why Giant Pandas have the black markings around their eyes, ears and on their bodies - - Long, long ago the pandas lived in the high mountains of Tibet. At that time their beautiful fur was snow white and they were friends with a young shepherdess. One day a mother panda and her cub were playing with the shepherdess and her flock, when a strong and hungry leopard attacked the panda cub. The shepherdess bravely tried to save the little cub, but the leopard killed her too. All the pandas were very sad and according to custom in the mountains, they covered their arms with ashes to honour the shepherdess and the young cub. The pandas were so sad they wept for a long time and wiped their eyes to hide the tears and covered their ears to block the sound of the crying. The hugged one another to comfort those crying. As they did this, the ashes soaked deep into their fur and certain parts of their bodies turned black - and remained so.
How to help
1. Become a Panda ‘parent’ by adopting a baby panda cub at http://www.pandasinternational.org.
2. Your money will provide vital funds needed to help protect Giant Pandas and their habitat in China as well as provide caretaker staff, veterinary care, medicine and vitamins, and lots of bamboo at the Wolong Giant panda Sanctuary.
3. Go on a Panda Eco tour. Visit: http://www.westchinaadventures.com/Wolong panda reserve.
4. Panda Babies are expensive—help purchase milk formula for the panda cubs expected in 2009.
5. Travel and Adventure ...Go on a unique adventure and go on a Pandas International Eco Tour where you will travel to the Wolong Panda Research and Conservation Centre in China to get up close and personal with the beautiful Giant Pandas. You can make a real difference helping out with the enrichment program and food preparation for the bears. For more info visit: http://www.westchinaadventures.com/Wolong
Help at: http://www.pandasinternational.org
R I G H T W H A L E - whale populations are endangered. Nearly one-third of deaths are still from human causes, including ship collisions, entanglements in fishing gear, and habitat degradation.
Reasons to LOVE the whale
1.They can communicate with each other by creating a series of high pitched noises which sound like singing.
2. They are very placid, the gentle giants of the sea & despite their enormous size, they glide gracefully through the water.
3. They are inquisitive and playful animals & will approach boats to explore or maybe just to say hello!
How to help
1. Visit Project 551-Stop Whaling Now! And make a real difference! Go to http://www.project551.org. In 2008 the Government of Japan harpooned 551 whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.You can help stop them doing the same next year by making a whale tail and sending in your photo to Project 551.
2. Help Save Right Whales from the deadly and deafening sound of Sonar by signing a online petition asking the Navy to reconsider its plans for a 500-square-mile sonar range in the waters near critical habitat for the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale and close to the only known calving ground and migratory path of North Atlantic right whales. Only about 300 of these whales are believed to exist today. Sign the Natural Resources Defense Council’s petition at http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/protect_whales_fl - it’s urgent that they hear from you right away !
3. Strive for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Whales are threatened by pollution and ozone depletion. By living a greener lifestyle, you help cut down on these problems and help create a healthier planet.
4.Be sure to dispose of pollutants and hazardous wastes properly. Storm water runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution. Leaks from vehicles contribute to the problem as oil, antifreeze and other harmful elements are washed into creeks, streams and rivers, that eventually feed the world’s oceans making Whales sick and sad.
Help at: http://www.project551.org
H E C T O R ‘S D O L P H I N - they are critically endangered
Reasons to love the hectors dolphin
1. They spend their days swimming along the coastline, surfacing to breathe, diving to find food and playing.
2. The Hector’s dolphin is the smallest dolphin as well as the rarest oceanic species and there are only about 100-150 North Island Hector’s dolphin left in the world.
3. Life, play and babies.
4. Hector’s dolphins like to have company. They usually swim in groups of between 2 and 12 dolphins.
5. Dolphin calves are 50-60cm at birth and stay close to their mothers who provide them with milk and protection until they are old enough to fend for themselves, usually at about one year old.
6. Hector’s dolphins tend to hang-out in the same area for many years and sometimes for life.
7. Dolphins love to play – and it’s wonderful to watch! Dolphins spend a lot of time playing. They play in the surf and use leaves and seaweed as toys. They are also interested in human activity. Dolphins will swim over to investigate people swimming, in kayaks and boats.
8. Their belly is white except for a small area between the flippers.
9. They use echo-location to locate their prey – it’s like seeing with sound. Dolphins send out a stream of high frequency clicking noises and when the sound strikes an object it bounces back and the dolphin can tell by listening what the object is - what kind of fish it is, how far away it is and how fast it is moving. That’s pretty clever
10. They like to swim beside kayaks and in the wake of boats.
11. Hector’s dolphins are all grown up at 8 years old.
1. Entanglement in fishing lines might drive this species to extinction.
2. The Hector’s dolphin is an endangered species and needs our help to keep them safe. In the ocean they face many dangers.
3. Set nets are the biggest threat to the dolphins.
4. As well as being in danger from drowning in set nets, Hector’s dolphins have a low birth-rate, which means that their population does not grow quickly.
5. Trawling, another type of fishing, is also a threat to dolphins.
6. Some dolphins are harmed or killed by reckless boat users who are not careful in waters where dolphins live.
7. Marine pollution also poses a threat to dolphins. They may accidentally eat rubbish, such as plastic bags, or get caught in it. Polluted waters may also make dolphins sick.
8. The Mauii dolphin which is the subspecies of the hectors dolphin s the world’s rarest marine dolphin - there are around 100 in the wild - and more than one human induced death every seven years seriously threatens its chances of recovery.
9. ENTAGLEMENT IN fishing nets.
• Populatiion: 111 Maui Dolphns / 7000 Hectors
• This subspecies is the world’s rarest marine dolphin - there are around 100 in the wild - and more than one human induced death every seven years seriously threatens its chances of recovery.
• This animal is severely threatened by fisheries bycatch, and recent sensitivity analysis has predicted extinction within the next few decades unless all net fishing (including gillnet and trawl fishing) is banned within its range.
• Community and school awareness programme,
• Population surveys and genetic studies.
How to help
1. Support the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust’s Hector’s Dolphin research and conservation work by making a small donation. Your money will provide the vital support needed to continue protecting the Hector’s Dolphin from near extinction. Visit http://www.whaledolphintrust.org.nz.
2. Send an Ecard to the Minister of Fisheries and Conservation asking for better protection for the Hector’s Dolphins go to http://www.careforthewild.org.
3. Do not litter – rubbish can easily make its way to the sea where a dolphin may get tangled in it or mistakenly think it is food and eat it.
4. You can make a real difference to the future of Hector’s Dolphins.Please eat only Dolphin-Safe Fish.
Help at: http://www.whaledolphintrust.org.nz