Over the past 30 years, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has experienced a 50 percent loss in coral. Though part of the decline is being attributed to the warmer ocean temperatures caused by climate change, about half of the damage is due to the proliferation of the crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS). The deadly predators can devour as much as 53 square feet (five square meters) of live coral annually.
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While a wild cat chasing down prey sounds perfectly reasonable, one who sprints to fetch sticks might seem a little bizarre. However, that is precisely what Serabie, a rescued adult lioness at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa’s Limpopo province, loves to do.
Sea spiders, which have inhabited Earth for over 500 million years, are fascinating creatures. The marine arthropods, which range in size from a millimeter long to as big as a dinner plate, have eight jointed legs that convene around a tiny body. Since their torsos are so small, they use their legs to conduct normal body functions such as digestion and reproduction. Now, it seems the creatures also have a unique breathing mechanism.
Wildlife filmmakers know to expect the unexpected when observing animals in their natural habitat. For a PBS Nature film crew trying to stealthily capture footage of Arctic foxes in the freezing Arctic tundra that meant losing a hidden camera to the curious animals.
In late September, Gregory Breton and his team were returning to their campsite after spending seven long hours scouting the hot, dusty, Moroccan Sahara for sand cats. Suddenly, just four kilometers away from their destination, they noticed three pairs of gleaming eyes. Upon getting closer, the researchers realized they had stumbled upon something that, to their knowledge, had never been encountered in the wild before — sand cat kittens!
With their thick white-gray fur and black rings, snow leopards are often hard to see against the rugged mountains that they call home. However, a team of photographers that included Mike Birkhead, has managed to capture amazing footage of this elusive cat walking away unscathed, after tumbling off a steep cliff.
Given that sharks have been around for millions of years and can live for as long as 400 years, it is evident that the formidable species has developed an arsenal of survival mechanisms. However, a lemon shark’s two-year quest to rid itself of a piece of ingested stainless steel through its skin, and self-heal Wolverine style, has impressed even the most jaded scientists.
Earlier this year in June, a villager in Garissa County, Kenya stumbled upon a rare sight — two white giraffes! Having never seen anything like it before, he immediately ran over to inform the rangers at the nearby Hirola Conservation Center, established to protect the critically endangered hirola antelope. Cameras in hand, the troopers rushed to the area to capture the first-ever video of the extremely rare specimens, who fortunately, appeared to be in no hurry to leave.