Humpback whale mothers whisper to calves to avoid predators

This video says about itself:

Baby Humpbacks Need 150 Gallons of Whale Milk a Day

4 February 2016

Whale milk is some of the richest milk available to any mammal. A baby whale will drink 150 gallons of it a day to sustain its dramatic growth.

From Functional Ecology:

High suckling rates and acoustic crypsis of humpback whale neonates maximise potential for mother–calf energy transfer


1. The migration of humpback whales to and from their breeding grounds results in a short, critical time period during which neonatal calves must acquire sufficient energy via suckling from their fasting mothers to survive the long return journey.
2. Understanding neonate suckling behaviour is critical for understanding the energetics and evolution of humpback whale migratory behaviour and for informing conservation efforts, but despite its importance, very little is known about the details, rate and behavioural context of this critical energy transfer.
3. To address this pertinent data gap on calf suckling behaviour, we deployed multi-sensor Dtags on eight humpback whale calves and two mothers allowing us to analyse detailed suckling and acoustic behaviour for a total of 68-8h.
4. Suckling dives were performed 20-7 7% of the total tagging time with the mothers either resting at the surface or at depth with the calves hanging motionless with roll and pitch angles close to zero.
5. Vocalisations between mother and calf, which included very weak tonal and grunting sounds, were produced more frequently during active dives than suckling dives, suggesting that mechanical stimuli rather than acoustic cues are used to initiate nursing.
6. Use of mechanical cues for initiating suckling and low level vocalisations with an active space of <100 m indicate a strong selection pressure for acoustic crypsis.
7. Such inconspicuous behaviour likely reduces the risk of exposure to eavesdropping predators and male humpback whale escorts that may disrupt the high proportion of time spent nursing and resting, and hence ultimately compromise calf fitness.
8. The small active space of the weak calls between mother and calf is very sensitive to increases in ambient noise from human encroachment thereby increasing the risk of mother–calf separation.

Japanese bats in winter, video

This video says about itself:

Searching for Japanese Bats – Japan‘s Northern Wilderness – BBC Earth

Steve heads for the Rimizu limestone caves in Japan to search for hibernating bats.

Bats in Dutch The Hague city

This video says about itself:

Bats in Transylvania

3 June 2014

Bats. Flyers of the night, mysterious creatures hiding in caves and abandoned buildings, about whom many of us don’t even know that they are not birds but belong to the family of mammals. The Apuseni Mountains in Romania is one of the regions that host the largest population of bats in Europe. Due to the ever-growing human pressure, however, bats and the caves serving as their homes have to be protected in many places. In this film we will follow in the footsteps of a bat conservation team, who are trying to explore and solve the problems threatening the bat population with the support of the LIFE Nature program.

Dutch wildlife warden Jenny van Leeuwen reports today that during research in the Haagse Bos, a forest in the center of The Hague city, six bat species have been found.

They are: Daubenton’s bat, common noctule, common pipistrelle, serotine bat, pond bat and Nathusius’ pipistrelle.

There are also other mammals in the Haagse Bos, including red squirrels, roe deer and red foxes.

Megatherium giant sloth was vegetarian

This February 2017 video is called 10 Interesting Facts About Sloths.

From the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Germany:

Giant sloth was vegetarian: Diet of fossil Megatherium decoded

April 18, 2017

Summary: Scientists have examined the diet of the extinct Giant Sloth Megatherium. Based on analyses of the collagen in the fossil bones, the researchers concluded in their study that Megatherium subsisted on an exclusively vegetarian diet. Until recently, there had been much speculation about the food habits of these elephant-sized, ground-dwelling animals.

Together with an international team, Senckenberg scientists examined the diet of the extinct Giant Sloth Megatherium. Based on analyses of the collagen in the fossil bones, the researchers concluded in their study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Gondwana Research that Megatherium subsisted on an exclusively vegetarian diet. Until recently, there had been much speculation about the food habits of these elephant-sized, ground-dwelling animals.

Sloths may well rank among the world’s most peculiar animals: With their backs pointing downward, they hang in trees and move in slow motion from branch to branch with the aid of their sickle-shaped claws. “Sloths already occurred 10,000 years ago, for example the species Megatherium,” explains Professor Dr. Hervé Bocherens of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen.

The extinct relatives of the sloths could reach the size of an elephant and were much too heavy to spend a significant amount of time in the trees. Instead, they lived on the ground, where they excavated large burrows. For many years, their dietary habits were an enigma; the long claws on their hands and feet, in particular, gave rise to various speculations. Did the sloths use their claws to dig up subterranean insect colonies? Did the long claws serve as hunting tools, and were the giant animals carnivores? Or did the fossil representatives live on a strictly vegetarian diet, like the recent sloths? “These questions were at the center of our new study,” adds Bocherens.

Normally it is possible to deduce the feeding habits of fossil animals on the basis of the shape and wear of their teeth – however, the teeth of the Giant Sloth are not comparable to those of modern animals. “We therefore had to use a different method, so we measured the composition of carbon isotopes – the ratio of protein and mineral content – in the fossilized sloth bones,” explains Bocherens, and he continues, “Our measurements show that Megatherium lived on an exclusively vegetarian diet.”

In carnivores, the proportion of proteins is significantly higher than in herbivores, which primarily eat food high in carbohydrates. These differences can be documented in the isotopes. In order to reinforce their results, the scientists compared their data with more than 200 bones from modern mammals, whose diet is known, as well as with fossil specimens from both carnivores and herbivores. “Our results show that by using this method, it is possible to reconstruct the feeding habits of animals even several thousand years after their death,” adds the biogeologist from Tübingen.

Knowledge of the sloths’ feeding habits is important in order to understand their role in past ecosystems. “Moreover, the results can help us understand the interactions between Megatherium and the first human inhabitants of America – their habitats overlapped for several thousand years, before the Giant Sloth became extinct,” offers Bocherens as a preview.

Animals of colonel’s illegal zoo freed

This video says about itself:

18 August 2016

From the extremely spiritual and important Swinhoe’s Soft-shell Turtle, to the enigmatic greater Bamboo Lemur, these are 22 of the RAREST Creatures on Earth!

A symbol of Vietnam’s independence died in 2016. The critically endangered Swinhoe’s softshell turtle was found dead in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem (Hone Keem) Lake. Better known as Yangtze (yank-zee) turtles, experts claim it was one of only four such turtles in existence. One lives in a different lake in Hanoi while the other two live in a zoo in China. Estimated to be between 80 to over 100 years old, the 440 pound animal is considered to be the rarest turtle species on the planet. The animal’s death caused a nationwide outpouring of grief … rare sightings of it were deemed to be good fortune, giving it a key role in Vietnamese mythology. In a story taught to generations of Vietnamese schoolchildren, the turtle is considered the sacred custodian of the magic sword of the 15th century rebel leader Le Loi, who vanquished Chinese invaders.

Pygmy Three Toed Sloth — aka the Monk Sloth or Dwarf Sloth, it’s native to the small island Isla Escudo de Veraguas (vair-ah-gwas) off the coast of Panama. Because the animal is found only in the red mangroves of the Panamanian island, its numbers have always been low … but in 2012, the sloth’s total population was estimated at only 79. They’re listed as critically endangered.

Javan Rhino — This one-horned species of rhino is known to survive in just one location — the Ujung Kulon (you-jung ko-lon) National Park in western Java. The population of rhinos there is thought to number no more than 61 animals. Quite possibly the rarest large mammal in the world, the rhino’s numbers have declined as a result of poaching and loss of habitat.

Ploughshare Tortoise — This species of tortoise is only found in the dry forests of the Baly Bay area in northwest Madagascar. Its colorful shell makes it a target for poachers engaged in the illegal international pet trade. Population estimates for the tortoise range from 440 to 770, but those numbers are decreasing. The tortoise has a very high risk of extinction, possibly becoming extinct in the next 10 to 15 years.

Dusky Gopher Frog — Native to the southern US, this frog once flourished along the Gulf Coastal Plain in Mississippi, Alabama, and lower Louisiana. Today, the only known population remaining is comprised of about 100 adult frogs from a single site in Harrison County, Mississippi. The Dusky Gopher Frog is considered the most rare amphibian in North America.

Greater Bamboo Lemur — Named as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, it’s current range is held to southeastern Madagascar, although fossils indicate it may have roamed as far north on the island as Ankarana. Recent estimates place the population at around 500 individuals.

Red Crested Tree Rat — About the size of a guinea pig, this animal was sighted for the first time in decades in 2011. Prior to that, its last recorded sighting was in 1898 … back then, two creatures that were found and studied, serving as the source of all information about the animal until it reappearance after 113 years. There’s no information concerning the size of its population, but it has been listed as critically endangered since its habitat in coastal Colombia is affected by feral cats, deforestation and climate change.

Gooty Tarantula — aka the Metallic Tarantula, it’s found in India … what’s left of them, anyway. Actually the size of its population is unknown. Deforestation and firewood collection are reasons for this spider facing a decline in its populations.

Araripe Manakin — This critically endangered bird was discovered in 1996 and is native to the Araripe Uplands in the northeastern region of Brazil. Its total population is estimated at 500 pairs of the animal surviving today. Due to threats from deforestation and water diversion, the bird is listed among the world’s 100 most threatened species.

Tonkin Snub Nosed Monkey — Native to Vietnam, these animals are known for their black and white coloring and pink nose. They were thought to be extinct until the 1990s, until it was rediscovered in 1992. Despite conservation efforts, it continues to be listed as among the world’s 25 most endangered primates. In 2008, less that 250 primates were thought to exist.

Madagascan PochardThe extremely rare diving duck was thought to have gone extinct in the late 1990s … but the species was rediscovered in Madagascar in 2006. As of 2013, the population numbered approximately 80 individuals. Rice cultivation, cattle grazing on shores, and hunting are among the factors that have led to the duck’s diminishing numbers.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Malnourished chimpanzee in rusty cage in illegal zoo Guinea

Today, 09:20

In Guinea an illegal zoo of rare animals has been closed down. A colonel of the Guinean army had captured 33 animals for sale, including crocodiles, parrots, a serval, baboons, tortoises and a chimpanzee.

There is a lot of money in Guinea in the illegal animal trade. Not only ivory and skins of exotic animals are sold, also live specimens of rare species are traded by criminal gangs.

The zoo was detected during an investigation of four years by a wildlife organization, Interpol and the Ministry of the Environment of Guinea. During raids three people were arrested in two places, the colonel later reported to the police.

Rusty cages

The animals were kept in rusty cages that were often too small. The chimpanzee was malnourished and was also kept alone, while chimpanzees live in groups.

Many of the animals have now been released in a national park. Exceptions are some animals that are not native, like ostriches and a few turtles.

The chimpanzee must be in quarantine first, to recuperate and to make sure it can not transmit diseases.

Pine marten in Sweden, video

This May 2007 video shows a pine marten in Sweden.

Pine marten in Dutch Groningen province: here.

Japanese snow monkeys video

This BBC video says about itself:

15 March 2017

In Northern Japan, Steve Backshall finds the elusive snow monkey. Winter shrinks their feeding grounds making them easier to spot.