The Critically Endangered: Gharial

Population: Latest research estimates that there may be less than 200 mature, breeding adults in the remainder of the species habitat range.

Size: 300 - 400 lbs. Males range from 9.8-19.6 ft in length and females range from 8.8-12.3 ft. Mature males have a bulbous growth ("ghara") at the end of their snouts.

Habitat: Deep, fast-flowing rivers in India and Nepal. Historically, gharials were also found in Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Diet: Carnivore. The Gharial's jaws are too thin and fragile to grab on to large prey. Adults feed on fish (primarily) and small crustaceans. Young gharial feed on insects, tadpoles, small fish and frogs.

Threats: Destruction of habitat and illegal fishing. In the past, gharials were also hunted for their skins and for medicinal purposes.

Interesting Fact: The Gharial is one of the largest of the crocodilian species, with a long, slender snout adept at catching fish by a quick whip of the head.



The Critically Endangered: Hainan Gibbon

Population: Only 17 known individuals remain.

Size: 15 to 18 pounds

Habitat: Tropical Rain Forest - Restricted to the Chinese island of Hainan

Diet: Omnivore, although tropical fruit makes up around 75% of the diet. Also eats figs, leaves, flowers, and occasionally small insects.

Threats: Deforestation

Interesting Fact: Although adult male Hainan gibbons are entirely black, the females are a light yellow to light beige in color with a black "cap". The above photo captures a female nursing her baby.



7 Endangered Species That You Know Of

It is fairly common knowledge that there are many endangered animal species around the globe today. What most people do not realize is just how endangered these species of animal are. Animals that are familiar to us via zoos and public education may be unknown to our grandchildren and their children.
The following are just a few of the animals listed as officially endangered, along with some staggering statistics. All of these species have intensive conservation efforts being promoted by environmentalists, but still need our help.

1. Giant Panda - An 1,600 pandas remain in the wild today.

2. Rhinoceros - Three out of the five remaining species of rhino are listed as critically endangered. Only about 60 estimated Javan Rhinos, 300 estimated Sumatran Rhinos and 3600 estimated Black Rhinos remain in the wild. The population of Indian Rhinos has increased to over 2,000 due to conservation efforts (including anti-poaching education) and the formation of national parks. However, it is still listed as endangered. The White Rhino is listed as vulnerable, with an estimated population of 14,500.

3. Tigers - 6 of 9 subspecies remain, with around 5,000 estimated living in the wild. One of these subspecies - the South China tiger may or may not exist in the wild at all. There are 59 known South China tigers in captivity. This subspecies is one of the ten most endangered species of animal in the world.

4. Cetaceans - (Whales and Dolphins) - 300,000 cetaceans are killed annually by fishing gear alone. Only approximately 350 North Atlantic Right Whales remain. Experts estimate that only 500 Vaquita remain and the subspecies could be extinct within a decade.

5. Elephants - Estimates show that there are 300,000 - 600,000 African elephants and 25,600 to 32,750 Asian elephants left in the wild. Many elephants have been killed by poaching, and the recent years of anti-poaching education are paying off as elephant numbers increase.

6. Great Apes - (Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans) - Great apes are threatened by the illegal bushmeat trade. They are also taken as pets, leaving many mistreated and abused when their owners can no longer handle these naturally wild animals. Great apes are also susceptible to many of the same illnesses as humans. According to a study in 2006 the recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus in central Africa may have killed more than 5,000 Gorillas alone. Cross River Gorillas are critically endangered with a population estimate of only around 200-300 remaining in the wild. Chimpanzees were once found in 25 African countries, and are now only found in 21. The numbers in the remaining 21 countries are extremely low due to habitat destruction and the illegal bushmeat trade. Approximately 10,000 Bonobos remain in the wild.

7. Marine Turtles - 6 out of 7 subspecies of marine turtles are considered endangered or critically endangered.

For more information:


Animal Conservation

Lately (and probably because of all the shows on Animal Planet that I have been watching - Orangutan Island! Escape to Chimp Eden!) , I decided to do some research on Animal Conservation and protecting endangered and threatened wildlife.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) a.k.a. World Conservation Union, is widely accepted as the utmost authority on global population status of species. Each year, they produce a Red List which details and rates the status of threatened wildlife. This Red List builds global awareness of animal conservation and the desparate need that we, as a planet, must protect our natural resources.

Each species is categorized into one of the categories shown on the chart above. Here is the breakdown:
  • EX - Extinct - There is no reasonable doubt that the last of the species has died.
  • EW - Extinct in the Wild - The only known individuals of the species exist in captivity.
  • CR - Critically Endangered - The species is at an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • EN - Endangered - The species is at a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • VU - Vulnerable - The species is at a high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • NT - Near Threatened - The species is close to qualifying for a threatened category (VU, EN, CR), and is very likely to qualify in the near future.
  • LC - Least Concerned - The species population is abundant and widespread.


Five From My Playlist - 01/05/2008

Music has a whole new group of women leading the way from soulful rock to cheerful pop. Here's a few tracks that I am enjoying:

1. "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles. Sara plays the piano, and her strong voice resonates in this catchy song.

2. "Wonderwoman" - Leaf. Another catchy tune, and the lyric perfectly fits every average wonderwoman.

3. "Almost Lover" - A Fine Frenzy. Alison Sudol, aka "A Fine Frenzy", is one of my new favorite artists. You will love her mesmerizing voice and her honest lyrics.

4. "Bleeding Love" - Leona Lewis. Leona is definitely an artist on the rise in this country. She has a powerful voice and a strong message in each of her songs. "Bleeding Love" will be her first big hit in the US, and I am sure she will have more to come.

5. "Pocket Full of Sunshine" - Natasha Bedingfield. This upbeat song is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I normally don't fall for happy pop, but I am making an exception here.