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Galapagos Giant Tortoise Bounces Back from Extinction

Sunday 16 December 2012

The Galapagos were discovered by Europeans in 1535 and it took just half a millennium to virtually wipe out a species that had been walking the Earth for millions of years. Out of the more than quarter million roaming the islands in the sixteenth century, by the 1970s only a few thousand specimens of the ten surviving sub-species (referred to as races by tortoise experts) were living on the islands.

One race (Chelonoidis nigra porteri), found on the island of Espanola was down to just 14 individual animals. There was no time for anything other than drastic action. All individuals plus one from San Diego Zoo in California were collected and taken to Santa Cruz island. There a breeding and repatriation program began with the 12 females and 3 males representing the last best hope for their race. This interventionist approach has resulted in Espanola now being home to over a thousand giant tortoises.

Beneath the Surface

Saturday 17 November 2012

This is a beautifully made piece of film by Sarosh Jacob. It captures life beneath the surface in a number of places throughout the world, starting with Bonaire and a mesmerizing school of fish. Next we go on to the Cayman Islands and its beautiful coral alongside the Kittiwake shipwreck. From there it is on to Socorro, Mexico and we get to see dolphins and whale sharks: next to Iceland and the Silfra Rift and lagoon. Finally we go to the Philippines, and witness clownfish anemone, schooling jacks, turtle and Palau to see the amazing sight that is Jellyfish Lake.

It is an almost bewildering array of animals and habitats. It is also for those of you who have emailed in specifically asking for more marine life and environments to be featured on Ark in Space. You’re quite right – over 70% of the planet is covered by water!

Man and Beast

Sunday 11 November 2012

We have never had movie time on Ark in Space, but this is a brilliant point at which to start. Directed by Dante Ariola, it tells the story of Dr Alan Rabinowitz – who is one of the leading experts on big cats in the world. We are shown his childhood and his visit to the Bronx Zoo in his youth: yet Alan was different as a child.

He had a major stutter which meant that he found difficulty in expressing himself to people. Yet like many stutterers he discovered that when he spoke to animals, it disappeared.

In this beautifully made short film (which should really be made in to a full length movie)we follow his life through his formative years and in to adulthood where he overcomes his stutter and finally gets to study jaguars in the wild.  Today Dr Rabinowitz is CEO of Panthera, a nonprofit organization devoted to saving the world’s wild cat species.  He has devoted his lifetime to charting the world’s last wild spaces, with the aim of preserving wild territories and safeguarding homes, on a massive scale, for many of the world’s most threatened mammals.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Saturday 10 November 2012

Nature is never too far away, even if you live in a highly populated place like California. Point Reyes National Seashore is somewhere that offers the visitor vast tracts of wilderness and incredibly diverse wildlife.

It is particularly noted for being an Ule Elk reserve and the wintering grounds of the Elephant Seal.  This wonderful video by Matt Brass explores this sublime and peaceful stretch of US coastline.

Got Milk?

These fours little guys were in a cat shelter and didn’t know quite know what to expect when they received some human visitors. What they did know, of course, is how to look endearing!  It seems that the one with the red collar had already found a home.  Let’s hope that the rest of this cute quartet found somewhere to go too!

Image Credit Flickr User Old Skool Kora

Puppy Mill Sing-Along

Sunday 10 June 2012

Puppy Mills have been and continue to be a huge problem wherever there is a market for pet dogs. In other words, it is a global issue.  However, that does not mean that people in specific areas cannot help to raise awareness and as you will see this can easily translate to the trade in dogs anywhere.  This video was created for San Francisco SPCA to raise awareness of the cruelty of online puppy mills.

It raises the issue so well that there is little or no need to put the message home in writing. However, puppy farms are only a quick fix (to probably use an incorrect metaphor).  My grandmother used to have a saying and that is buy cheap buy twice. Dogs bought from puppy farms come with a host of problems, not least those caused by the experiences they have had in the first few weeks or months of their lives.  Many of these dogs need to be put down sooner rather than later causing great distress all round. If you are thinking of welcoming a dog in to your house, do it properly! Get down to a shelter!

Hey! When is it Time for MY Dinner?

Tuesday 5 June 2012

You know the old saying, water, water everywhere? That may as well be the case both literally and metaphorically for this monkey at Omaha zoo.  While the carp – which I must say look very well fed – get to enjoy their dinner, this poor little guy has to do without. Of course he will get his own later but there is just a look of resignation on his face that I had to share with you! It just speaks volumes.

Both Images Courtesy of Flickr User Templarion

A Boy and his Sheep

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Whoever said a boy’s best friend was his dog may have gotten it wrong! In this case it might just be a sheep.  However, we suspect that this young Afghan boy might have a barbecue on his mind rather than a lifelong friendship, which might explain the rather resigned look on the sheep’s face!

Image Credit Flickr User peretzp

Too Much Walking

There is a certain time in a day when you just have to give up and have a rest, especially when all you have done is plod around! Sometimes there is such a thing as being too dog tired to do anything else!

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