Tag Archives: rainforest

World’s Most Biodiverse Location Announced

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons

This enviable title has been awarded to Manu National Park in Peru, now believed to contain the greatest variety of terrestrial species on  Earth.  Following exhaustive research conducted across 16 of the most biodiverse places in the world, using 60 camera traps, Manu’s pristine mosaic of 14 different ecosystems came out on top.  The study was carried out by the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring [TEAM] Network, utilising systematic field station data collection procedures honed over many years to ensure the utmost veracity.  Their work serves to identify trends in species diversity, which can then inform and shape conservation strategy.

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Hydropower Endangering Amazonian Wildlife

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A recent study conducted by the University of East Anglia has found alarming rates of vertebrate species decline, following the creation of Brazil’s Balbina Dam.  Its construction fragmented vast areas of unbroken and often pristine rainforest into what is now an archipelago of 3,546 islands.  The report’s co-author Carlos Peres, a Brazilian professor from the university’s School of Environmental Sciences is deeply concerned with the findings:  “We’re watching extinction unfold right in front of us”.  “We uncovered astounding local extinction rates”, despite much of the area being part of a biological reserve and therefore benefiting from hunting protection.   Continue reading Hydropower Endangering Amazonian Wildlife

The Tiger Quoll

Also known as the Spotted-tailed Quoll, this voracious predator is endemic to Australia and Tasmania where it’s classed as ‘Near Threatened’ by the IUCN. It’s immensely strong for its size and is equipped with carnivorous teeth which enables it to prey upon creatures such as Possums, Bandicoots, Pademelons, Gliders and rats. It also feeds on reptiles, birds and insects and is known to take carrion. Predation is carried out on the ground and in the trees.
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This week’s spotlight on obscurity falls on two of Madagascar’s least known and most elusive mammals.  I’ve chosen to put them together primarily to clearly differentiate between them, as they can be easily confused – even by experts and mammal enthusiasts like myself.  Also, they’re both Malagasy carnivores and do have some morphological and behavioural similarities.  Both have given taxonomists a headache for years, but in simple terms; the Falanouc is mongoose-like, whereas the Fanaloka is more closely related to the civet family and has a fox-like appearance.



Here’s the second instalment of my weekly look into the lesser known mammal species, followed by some footage of one feeding in the wild.

A member of the family, Procyonidae, which includes species such as the Crab-eating Raccoon, Mountain Coati and Olingo; it’s found from southern Mexico to western Panama.  Nocturnal, solitary and tree-dwelling with a sparsely distributed population, it is rarely seen in the tropical rainforest and montane habitats it favours.  Being an omnivore its diet is varied, mainly comprising of fruits, insects, reptiles, amphibians and small rodents.

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Image courtesy of WWF.

My recent feature on new species distribution reminded me about a couple of cryptic remote camera photographs which appeared in the international media at the end of 2005, deep in the Bornean rainforest.  The two images showed a creature unknown to zoologists worldwide:  even the local indigenous people didn’t recognise it.  It caused a sensation at the time, but it occurred to me that virtually nothing further about it has been discovered since, as far as I’m aware.  There has been much speculation and conjecture, but little fact or conclusion; we do only have two dark photos of mediocre quality to work with.


Rare Footage of African Golden Cat

A remote camera in the Gashaka Gumti National Park, Nigeria has recorded a new glimpse of one of the world’s most elusive wild cat species- the African Golden Cat.  The cameras have been set up as part of the Act for Wildlife bio-diversity project, a campaign led by Chester Zoo.  It is the first time this most secretive of creatures has been captured on camera in this area.

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