World Habitat Awareness Month on April, 2017: What is the lifespan of a Giant Otter?

April, 2017 is World Habitat Awareness Month 2017. DINOSAUR TRAIN --- BUDDY AND THE NATURE TRACKERS FLAP BOOK REVIEW ... World Habitat Awareness

What is the lifespan of a Giant Otter?

The giant otter is the longest of all the otter species, with a length of 6 ft (1.8m), including the tail, and a weight of 76 lbs (34 kg). The females are smaller and weigh only 57-60 lbs (26-27 kg). The tail is, on average, 2 ft (56 cm) in length, with 2/3 of it flattened. The fur is dense, thick, and velvety, and is highly sought after by fur traders. The guard hairs are short, 5/16 in (8 mm) long, twice as long as the underfur. The fur is water repellent and is a deep chocolate brown in colour. A unique white mark is located on the throat that can be used to distinguish between individuals. The head is round and the ears are small. The nose is completely covered in fur, with only the two slit-like nostrils visible. The eyes are large and acute, perfect for hunting underwater. The legs are short and stubby and end in large webbed feet tipped with sharp claws. The giant otter is well suited for an aquatic life, and can close its ears while underwater.

Giant otters have a life span of 12 years in the wild, 21 years in captivity.

HABITAT

The giant otter is found in the lakes, slow-moving forested rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and swamps of South America. They are absent from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. They are highly social animals found in extended family groups of 10-20 individuals. They share roles within the group, which is structured around the dominant, breeding pair.

FEEDING

Giant otters are one of the largest predators of their region, and so can choose from a wide variety of animals to feed on. They feed mainly on fish, such as catfish and perch, but will also feed on crabs, caimans (related to the alligators) and snakes. They can hunt in either groups or alone, tending to head towards the deeper waters while in groups. They consume up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of food each day, using mostly their sense of eyesight to capture it.

In the zoo, they are fed bass, carp, tilapia, catfish, trout, and vitamin supplements.

ENEMIES

Giant otters are at the top of the food chain, and therefore have few natural predators. Jaguars are some of the few that have been known to hunt them. Humans are their main enemies, at one time exclusively hunting them for their fur. One pelt was worth a year's wages in South America, and so giant otters were hunted by most everybody, driving them nearly to extinction by the 1970's. Today they are very rare, with an estimated population of only 2000-5000. Factors besides the fur trade are keeping their numbers down. Ignorant fishers sometimes shoot them, as they are thought to compete with the fishing industry. Other factors include mercury poisoning caused by gold mining; habitat loss; and the disturbance of waterways by boaters.

CONSERVATION

Much is being done to protect the giant otter. In 1973, CITES classified the giant otter as endangered and banned all trade in pelts. The Philadelphia Zoo opened up the first North American exhibit of giant otters in order to increase public awareness. Finally, a sanctuary for giant otters and other native endangered species was created in 1995. It is an 81510 acre lot on the Duroche Ranch, and was created by the Nature Conservancy with Ecotropica.

BREEDING

Giant otters have a gestation period of 65-70 days, after which a litter of 1-5 pups is born. The mothers give birth in underground dens near the shore. The pups are taught to swim after 2 months and leave to fend for themselves after 2-3 years. Giant otters are very sensitive to human activity, and tourists boating too close to a nursing mother can cause her so much stress that she stops producing milk; the pups starve. Giant otters give birth annually.

RELATIVES

There are 13 species of otters found throughout the world, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. The giant otter is a river otter and is closely related to the North American river otter and the European otter.

can anyone tell me anything about golden lion tamarins...?

can anyone tell me anything about golden lion tamarins...?

Only 600 golden lion tamarins remain in the wild. This rare and beautiful primate is currently found in just one small area of Brazilian rain forest northeast of Rio de Janeiro. Several factors threaten their survival: their Atlantic coastal rain forest habitat has been almost completely developed for plantations, cattle grazing, and human habitation. Only isolated tracts of forest remain—leaving the tamarin groups so scattered that there is danger of inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity. In addition, tamarins frequently have been captured for sale as pets and are highly susceptible to human diseases like rubeola and herpes viruses.

Golden lion tamarins are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as endangered in the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red Data Book, and in Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Organized in 1981, the Golden Lion Tamarin Species Survival Plan (SSP) is part of the International Golden Lion Tamarin Cooperative Research and Management Committee's (GLTMC) program for conservation of the species. Unlike most SSP programs, the Golden Lion Tamarin program is managed globally, rather than regionally and all known animals in captivity participate in the program. A total of 140 institutions worldwide are now involved in conservation efforts for the tamarins. In the United States, Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, the Metro Washington Park Zoo in Portland, Oregon, and the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, have been active in maintaining tamarin colonies.

Traditionally, tamarins reproduced poorly in captivity. After zoos conducted behavior studies to determine the best social organization and group size for successful breeding and rearing, the numbers of births rapidly increased. Survival rates were further increased following research into their dietary needs; tamarins need insects or meat protein in their diet and vitamin D from sunlight. The numbers of tamarins in North American zoos have multiplied from 70 tamarins in 1969 to around 500 animals in 1995. (The females give birth once or even twice a year, frequently to twins; a single pair of tamarins can produce more than 30 offspring during their reproductive years.) Now zoos are using contraceptive implants to keep their numbers in check. Currently young are being produced only to maintain a total zoo population of 500 and to increase genetic diversity.

The captive population's numbers are now high enough to risk re-introducing tamarins back into their native habitat. A golden lion tamarin biological reserve was created in Brazil in 1974. Called Poco das Antas, the reserve is a 6,000 hectare (approximately twenty square miles) section of land located about 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Rio de Janeiro. About 40 percent of the reserve consists of mature forest and the remaining area is being reforested. The Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program is funded by a collection of conservation and zoological institutions and is organized by the National Zoo, Smithsonian Institution.

Since 1984, nearly 140 animals bred in captivity have been released in the Poco das Antas Biological Reserve. Animals selected for release are first sent to the National Zoo for retraining in wild behaviors. They are free to roam a patch of woods on the zoo grounds, near a nest box and food source. After a few months in this environment, they are sent to the Project Headquarters at Poco das Antas. Again they are provided with nest boxes and food, but the food is moved farther and farther away and gradually reduced to encourage the tamarins to forage naturally. Out of those reintroduced, 30 have survived and have successfully raised 95 offspring as of 1995. Some offspring have been born from unions between captive and wild-born animals.

An important goal of the GLTCP has been education programs to increase public awareness about the plight of golden lion tamarins. They have become a national symbol of conservation in Brazil. As part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Poco das Antas Reserve, the Brazilian Post Office released a special series of stamps, postcards, and envelopes featuring golden lion tamarins.

Landowners who own property adjacent to Poco das Antas have been encouraged to create permanent, private reserves for the tamarins called Private Reserves of Natural Patrimony (RPPN). Where possible, forest corridors linking up neighboring plantations, called fazendas, will be developed to enable greater mobility and interaction between tamarin bands.

What is it like hunting in Alaska?

What is it like hunting in Alaska?

The one thing that most folks from the lower 48 states can't quite comprehend is just how ENORMOUS Alaska really is. The three largest states down there are California, Montana, and of course, Texas. Add them all together and you are close to the size of Alaska alone. If it were possible to actually look at 100,000 acres in a day, you couldn't see all of Alaska in one year. It has such an amazing and l-o-n-g shoreline that it is half again bigger than that of ALL the other coastal states put together. If you could lift it in its entirety and lay it over the lower 48, it would stretch from coast to coast and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Minnesota is estimated to have more than 15,000 lakes, and Alaska has more than 50,000 of her own. The third longest river in North America (the Yukon) crosses the entire state of Alaska and rivers number in the thousands. Of the 20 tallest mountains in the United States, 17 of them are in Alaska. Alaska has parks that are bigger than some states. Because of its immense size, Alaska has weather systems like several states in the lower 48. Some areas of Alaska are decidedly better during the coldest winter months than places like Montana, North Dakota and some of the other upper tier states. A few years back, Anchorage, AK averaged 10 degrees warmer in January and February than Colorado Springs. In the southeastern part of Alaska, a heavy winter garment might be little more than a heavy sweater and winter wear might more likely include rubber boots and a raincoat. A large portion of the south- eastern panhandle is considered to be true rain forest overgrown with giant trees and enormous ferns while the North West has virtually NO trees. In the Far North, an entire bouquet of a dozen flowers may fit entirely within the circumference of a fingernail. Because of the GREAT diversification of habitat, an equally great diversification of wildlife occurs as well. There are actually places in Alaska not suited to much in the way of wildlife. He who believes there is a bear behind every tree and a moose or caribou behind every bush will be disappointed if he hunts there. Alaska is vast and wide open, and with few roads to take you to those areas where wildlife is most abundant. MANY hunts require a river boat or small bush plane to ferry the hunter to pristine areas away from civilization. Few of us are lucky enough to drive down the road and shoot a trophy animal just off the edge of the pavement. Most of our animals do not congregate and migrate in herds like caribou, and so it is challenging to know exactly where they will be from one day to the next. Finding a legal sized animal may take numerous miles of four-wheeler travel to find just the right animal, and then it may take a LOT of hard work to dress and quarter that animal out and pack it back to the nearest road, or to where your boat or bush plane can pick you up. In some places, you may be fighting your way through an almost impenetrable wall of brush trying to stalk closer to a BIG bear. In other places you may be glassing caribou on the side of a wide-open hill in vegetation that doesn't even cover the tops of your boots. When seasons open in the fall, you may be hunting in 75 degree weather today and tracking game in 5 inches of snow the next morning before finishing the day's hunt in a frigid drizzle. You MUST plan and prepare for any eventuality when hunting Alaska. The terrain is varied. The methods of hunting are varied. And the many kinds of weather you may encounter are just as varied as well. EVERYTHING about Alaska is huge. There is nothing quite like it anywhere on the continent, and maybe the world. Its land, its people, its wilderness, and its wildlife are unique. Even just to walk among them is an adventure. You will NEVER feel closer to nature than when you enter into the realm of the Alaska Wild. You will develop an awareness, a keen observation, and a FAR greater appreciation for life in general when you have exposed yourself to the adventure of hunting Alaska. Virtually EVERY hunt will lift you to levels you have never experienced before. EVERY trip into the wild brings you back better than you left. You will be filled with an energy and an emotion the likes of which you have never known before. Just hearing the word, "ALASKA" will start your blood surging and your heart will pick up the pace. Planning a trip to Alaska will capture your imagination. Taking a trip to Alaska will capture your heart. Living in Alaska will become a religious experience to which you will lose a part of your very soul. To REALLY get to know what Alaska is all about, you must come and see it for yourself. No mortal words can really do it justice. It isn't a state of the Union. It's a state of the mind. I am so VERY blessed and honored to be able to call it "HOME".

Also on this date Saturday, April 1, 2017...