In the wake of International Tiger Day, some recent news from India suggests the nation is putting tigers and their habitat ahead of diamonds, at least for the moment. Mining company Rio Tinto is asking permission to mine for diamonds in Madhya Pradesh, a large state in central India that encompasses critical tiger habitats such as the Panna Tiger Reserve in Panna National Park. To make way for the diamond mine, Rio Tinto would need to cut down nearly half a million trees.
For decades, there have been mysterious reports about humpback whales coming to the rescue when animals are being attacked by orcas (large black-and-white dolphins known as “killer whales“). But why would humpbacks spend energy risking their own safety to help others? Could this be an example of animals acting selflessly?
From lions and giraffes to elephants and zebras, the future of Kenya’s wildlife lies in the hands of the country’s youth. To help make sure the next generation of Kenyans is prepared for this responsibility, a nonprofit organization called Ewaso Lions created the Lion Kids Camp program, which brings local children together to have fun while they learn about wildlife and discover their role in protecting the land’s natural resources.
As humans, we tend to think we're pretty special--we walk on two legs, we've figured out how to grow our own food, we've built pyramids and skyscrapers, and we can communicate complex thoughts and ideas. But despite all that makes us special, one human behavior--talking to our unborn babies--may not be entirely unique within the animal kingdom.
Some creatures make a living by pretending to be something they're not. (Like Halloween, every day!) In one high-flying example, zone-tailed hawks fool prey down on the ground by mimicking the way turkey vultures fly, and sometimes even disguising themselves by flying among turkey vultures.
Imagine being the very first person to stumble upon a giraffe, a blue whale, or a panda. What would you think about a giraffe's 6-foot-long neck, a blue whale's humongous body, or a panda's striking black-and-white fur? These would be startling sights indeed!
Back in October 2014, Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan marine biologist, took the stage at TEDGlobal to deliver a 6-minute speech called "Why you should care about whale poo." She spoke passionately about the devastating effects 200 years of whaling had on global whale populations. She argued that these animals' importance extends far beyond their charismatic beauty. Rather, as "ecosystem engineers," she said whales play an important role in maintaining the health of Earth's oceans.
At Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, armed guards protect a northern white rhino named Sudan. Sudan is the last living male of his kind. As one of just three northern white rhinos on Earth (the other two, females, are also under protection at Ol Pejeta), Sudan is a constant reminder that rhinos are in trouble. Their greatest enemy? Poachers.