August 12 is World Elephant Day– a day to celebrate one of the planet’s most beloved animals and draw attention to the challenges they face. There are two extremely important facts about Elephants you won’t find in our story below: Populations have declined by 62% over the last decade, with 24,000 Elephants poached last year in Africa alone.
We’ve written about the importance of Elephant conservation for years, from the story about how an Elephant inspired GGT back in 2000 to our fundraiser for Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park in 2014. We hope to inspire our readers to take actions to help Elephants, such as:
– Do not buy ivory or other wildlife-related products.
– Visit Elephants in countries where they live in the wild. Ecotourism benefits the economy, provides jobs, and deters poachers and abuse.
– Choose ecotourism operators who support local elephant conservation projects and who treat elephants with respect and dignity.
– Support organizations that are working to protect habitat for wild elephants and stop the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, and finding solutions for human-elephant conflict.
– Do not support organizations that exploit or abuse elephants and other animals for entertainment and profit.
– Support healthy, alternative, sustainable livelihoods for people who have traditionally relied on elephants, wild animals and natural resources. Learn about indigenous cultures that have traditionally lived in harmony with elephants.
Now, onto our 27 Fascinating Facts About Elephants, which we hope will give you an even greater appreciation for the beauty, intelligence, and emotional capacity of these amazing animals!
SPECIES: Hairy Nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana)
CURRENT RANGE: Small isolated populations in southeast Asia.
CURRENT THREATS: Habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade (both for skins and for pets).
CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: There is just one Hairy Nosed Otter in captivity– a rescued male at the Wildlife Alliance’s Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
SPECIES: Maui dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui)
CURRENT RANGE: West Coast of North Island, New Zealand
CURRENT THREATS: Fisheries, oil exploration, inbreeding, disease.
CONSERVATION STATUS: Critically Endangered
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Occasionally between Manukau Harbour and Port Waikato, North Island, New Zealand.
(The following is a guest post from Justin Carmack of True Nomads, which focuses on his diving adventures around the world. You can follow Justin on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you’re a blogger interested in guest posting, please email us [email protected])
Rare Sharks are beautiful and amazing to see in their own habitat. But, most importantly, they are apex predators, making them a vital link in the marine ecosystem’s food chain.
It’s the shark’s job to regulate populations of fish by preying on the weak, slow, and old among the schools. If these rare sharks were to disappear, it would begin a devastating domino effect. The whole marine eco chain would collapse one layer at a time, eventually killing off humans.
Without sharks to feed on them, fish populations would explode. If there are too many fish, the species they feed on would slowly disappear, eventually killing them off completely. This would eliminate another food source and kill off the rest of the fish in the food chain, all the way down to microorganisms, plankton and algae.
Did you know that plankton and algae are the number one producer of oxygen in the world? More than even the Amazon Rainforest! It’s also the biggest natural carbon-scrubber/eliminator/filter on the planet.
Starting to get the picture? Over time, if we were to let human greed and apathy kill off rare sharks, the chain reaction could be catastrophic, leading to more greenhouse gases, global warming, and possibly the end of mankind. The first step to stop this catastrophe is education, so here is a look at five rare shark species worth saving:
They don’t look like much. To my unadjusted eye, they merely look like tire tracks leading to holes in soft sand. But to those who know, like my husband, they mean only one thing – we are on an active turtle nesting beach. We’ve been waiting for this moment for almost a week.
We are in Oman, a land of forts and frankincense, Bedouins and wadis, desert dunes and rugged coastline. But for us, Oman is first and foremost a country whose white sand beaches serve as the yearly nesting sites for tens of thousands of sea turtles. Ever since Bruno described his cherished memory of watching turtles lay their eggs in the sand here, it’s been the experience I’ve longed for most in Oman.
And so we headed for Ras al Jinz, a turtle nesting site of internationally-recognized importance. Every year, over 20,000 female green turtles – an endangered species – plod up the beach here to dig deep trenches with their rear flippers into the soft sand and deposit their eggs.
And every night, one hundred tourists watch the turtles in this most-intimate of act.