Endangered Species

26 Wonderfully Weird Animals

 

Let’s face it, the world can be an ugly place. From flame wars on social media to heartbreaking stories on the nightly news, humanity’s awfulness can occasionally be overwhelming. Every once in a while we like to take breaks from stories about poaching, habitat loss, and the effects of global warming to marvel at the incredible array of beauty that still exists on this planet we call home. And so it is that we present to you 26 Wonderfully Weird Animals (from A to Z)– many of which are endangered– that we believe make this world a more interesting place…

 

Weird Animal Species, Aye Aye

Aye Aye, photographed by Frank Vassen via Creative Commons

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Dereck and Beverly Joubert with Great Plains Origami Rhino

 Dereck Joubert on Rhinos Without Borders

 

Africa is in serious trouble. And no, we’re not just talking about ebola (although the outbreak certainly isn’t helping matters), but poaching.

 

The Asian hunger for wild animal parts purported to work miracles ranging from increasing virility to curing cancer has driven poaching and profits from illegal trafficking to record-shattering levels. Africa is losing an average of 5 Lions per day, 5 Elephants per hour, and a Rhino (whose horn is currently valued at around $65,000 per kg) every 7 hours in South Africa alone. The devastating decline of these key species, which could eliminate the continent’s entire wild population by 2050, threatens both the environment and the economy of myriad African nations.

 

Ecotourism is an enormous industry in east and south Africa, generating approximately $80 billion in annual revenue. Much of this money comes from wildlife safaris to search for “the Big 5″– Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos and Buffalo. If these species disappear, it will likely set off a chain reaction in which tourism revenue declines, poverty rises and poaching for bush meat increases… a vicious circle that spells bad news for wildlife and those who treasure it. With growing concerns of ebola fears hurting African tourism to places like Kenya and South Africa, the importance of addressing the poaching problem head-on becomes even more vital.

 

Dereck and Beverly Joubert in Botswana

 

Award-winning filmmakers (and National Geographic Explorers-In-ResidenceDereck and Beverly Joubert are among Africa’s most outspoken wildlife conservation advocates. Through their Big Cat Initiative, the Botswana-based couple took the front lines on the battle to protect Africa’s beloved felines by raising awareness and implementing change to the dire situation facing Lions and Leopards. The project has since funded 60 projects in 23 countries.

 

Now, through their Great Plains Conservation and Great Plains Foundation arms, the Jouberts have launched Rhinos Without Borders, an attempt to save endangered Rhinos by translocating 100 of them from South Africa to Botswana in order to protect them from the tragic rise in poaching. To do this, they’ll need to raise nearly $5 million, as the costs to capture, transport, quarantine and release these animals will average about $45,000 per Rhino.

 

Our company Green Travel Media will be partnering with the new Travelers Building Change non-profit and 50-100 travel bloggers to help raise funds for Rhinos Without Borders, with the goal of raising enough money to save #JustOneRhino. We recently spoke to Dereck Joubert at great length about his ambitious undertaking, discussing why it’s crucial to focus on Rhinos now, why Botswana is safer from poachers than South Africa, and controversial Rhino conservation methods ranging from poisoning their horns to cutting them off entirely.

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North Atlantic Right Whale and Calf

North Atlantic Right Whale and Calf via public domain

Endangered Species Spotlight:

North Atlantic Right Whale Facts

 

SPECIES: North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)

CURRENT RANGE: Along the east coast of North America, from Canada down to Georgia and Florida

CURRENT THREATS: Ship strikes, entanglement in commercial fishing lines

CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered

WHERE CAN YOU SEE THEM: With just 400-450 left, chances of spotting them are slim, but your best bet is off the Georgia/Florida coast in winter.

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Bornean Orangutan at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, Malaysia

Bornean Orangutan Conservation at

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

 

(The following is a guest post from Margherita & Nick Ragg of adventure & nature travel blog The Crowded Planet. Follow their adventures via Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a blogger interested in guest posting on GGT, please email pitches to Editor-In-Chief Bret Love at GreenGlobalTravel@gmail.com.)

 

 

In The Land Below the Wind, Agness Keith wrote of the Bornean orangutans that used to visit her garden in order to eat fruit from the trees. The book was written in the 1930s, when the country was still covered in primary rainforest, thick and unexplored, providing habitat for a wealth of wildlife. It was said that orangutans could cross the whole of Borneo, swinging from one tree branch to another, without ever touching the ground.

 

Orangutans are one of four species of great apes, and found only in Borneo and Sumatra. Their affinity with humans was first recognized by the native people of Borneo, the Dayaks, who named them after the Malay-Indonesian words for man of the forest. Dayaks believed orangutans could talk, but chose not to in order to prevent being enslaved and put to work.

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Baby Elephant at Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

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An Elephant Changed My Life

I realize this may sound like exaggerated hyperbole. But, until you’ve come face-to-face with an animal more than twice your height and 75 times your weight, it’s hard to fathom how the experience can alter your perception of humanity’s place in the Universe. 

 

For me, it happened during the first game drive on the first day of my safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

 

He was a massive bull elephant, feeding on a tree about 75 yards from our open-air safari vehicle in Londolozi Game Reserve. As he noticed us, he slowly turned and ambled our way with a sense of purpose. When he got within 50 yards, I began looking at our guide nervously. By the time he’d reached the 30 yard mark, we asked if perhaps it was time to move the Jeep and give him some space. Solomon assured us that it was fine, as the elephant came closer and closer and closer.

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN