Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pygmy Hippo Calf

This is a portrait of Monifa, a pygmy hippo calf born at the Tarongo Zoo in Sydney on Oct. 15, 2008. Outside of zoo walls, little is known about the pygmy hippo because they are solitary, nocturnal, creatures found in the interior forests of West Africa. It is estimated that 2,000-3,000 individuals remain.

My favorite new site,, has some great footage and information on the pygmy hippo.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Attwater's Prairie Chicken

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas has a wonderful Prairie Chicken Recovery program. I donated this sketch of a male during booming season to their recent fund-raiser, Bandanas, Boots, & Bison Concert Under the Stars. Click here to watch a male in "booming" action. It is pretty amazing!

Here are a few words about the history of the Attwater's taken from Fossil Rim's website:

Less than a hundred years ago, one million Attwater's Prairie Chickens ranged over six million acres of coastal prairie in Texas and Southwestern Louisiana. Today, less than one-percent of the original coastal prairie remains. As development eradicated this fragile habitat, the native species followed. Today a mere 50 birds live in the wild.

In 1992, as part of a comprehensive recovery plan for the species, we initiated a captive breeding program at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. This work has been crucial in preventing the Attwater's extinction.

Since 1992, Fossil Rim has contributed 60% of the total Attwater's into the wild.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Brown Pelican

The brown pelican is the only pelican that dives from the air to catch it's food, which is quite a sight! But these amazing birds nearly disappeared from North America between the 1950's and 1970's due to the use of the pesticide DDT.

The birds were removed from the Endangered Species list in the Southeastern US in 1985. This year the California Fish and Game Commission decided to remove the brown pelican from the state Endangered Species list.

Channel Islands National Park in Ventura, California (one of the most beautiful places on earth!) provides essential habitat for this species. Click here to find out more information about the brown pelican and Channel Islands.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Burrowing Owls

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has identified the Burrowing Owl as a candidate species and in several states they are considered a species of concern. They are endangered in Canada.

I think the 2 most interesting Burrowing Owl factoids are that they live in underground burrows (hence the namesake) and to ward off danger the chicks make a sound identical to that of a rattlesnake. There is a fantastic video of Bob Fox, co-founder of Wild At Heart, on the AZ Game and Fish Dept.'s website that demonstrates the chicks convincing performance.

Wild At Heart is a non-profit dedicated to the conservation and preservation of Arizona's native birds of prey. Through The Burrowing Owl Project, this organization is helping relocate owls that are in danger of losing their natural habitat due to suburban development.