Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thailand flooded, hundreds of Crocodile Release

Flash floods that hit Bangkok turned out to not only soak the place of hundreds of thousands of human lives, but also sink hundreds of crocodile habitat. As a result, the crocodile is loose. Zoo officials ferocious crocodiles trouble grasping it. The Government also requested the help of the community. Residents choosing to shoot dead the elusive crocodile.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Animal World - All about KOALA around the world

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia, and the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae. [1]

The koala is found in coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia, from Adelaide to the southern part of Cape York Peninsula. Populations also extend for considerable distances inland in regions with enough moisture to support suitable woodlands. The koalas of South Australia were largely exterminated during the early part of the 20th century, but the state has since been repopulated with Victorian stock. The koala is not found in Tasmania or Western Australia.

The word koala comes from the Dharuk gula. Although the vowel /u/ was originally written in the English orthography as "oo" (in spellings such as coola or koolah), it was changed to "oa" possibly due to an error. The word is erroneously said to mean "doesn't drink".

The scientific name of the koala's genus, Phascolarctos, is derived from Greek phaskolos "pouch" and arktos "bear". Its species name, cinereus, is Latin and means "ash-coloured".

Although the koala is not a bear, English-speaking settlers from the late 18th century first called it koala bear due to its similarity in appearance to bears. Although taxonomically incorrect, the name koala bear is still in use today outside Australia – its use is discouraged because of the inaccuracy in the name. Other descriptive English names based on "bear" have included monkey bear, native bear, and tree-bear.

Although three subspecies have been described, these are arbitrary selections from a cline and are not generally accepted as valid. Following Bergmann's Rule, individuals from the southern cooler climates are larger.

A typical Victorian koala (formerly P. cinereus victor) has longer, thicker fur, is a darker, softer grey, often with chocolate-brown highlights on the back and forearms, and has a more prominently light-coloured ventral side and fluffy white ear tufts. Typical and New South Wales koala weights are 12 kg (26 lb) for males and 8.5 kg (19 lb) for females. In tropical and sub-tropical Queensland, however, the koala is smaller (at around 6.5 kg (14 lb) for an average male and just over 5 kg (11 lb) for an average female), a lighter often rather scruffy grey in colour, and has shorter, thinner fur. In Queensland, the koala was previously classified as the subspecies P. cinereus adustus, and the intermediate forms in New South Wales as P. cinereus cinereus. A fourth variation, though not technically a subspecies, is the "golden koala", which has a slight golden tinge to the fur as a result of an absence of the melanin pigment that produces albinism in most other mammalian species. The variation from one form to another is continuous and there are substantial differences between individual koalas in any given region such as hair colour. Koalas may also have white fur in rare cases due to a recessive gene.

The origins of the koala are unclear, although almost certainly they descended from terrestrial wombat-like animals. Koala fossils are quite rare, but some have been found in northern Australia dating to 20 million years ago. During this time, the northern half of Australia was rainforest. The koala did not specialise in a diet of eucalypts until the climate cooled and eucalypt forests grew in the place of rainforests. The fossil record indicates that before 50,000 years ago, giant koalas inhabited the southern regions of Australia. The koala fills the same ecological role as the sloths of South America.

Females reach maturity at 2 to 3 years of age, males at 3 to 4 years. A healthy female koala can produce one young each year for about 12 years. Gestation is 35 days. Twins are very rare; the world's first confirmed identical twin koalas, named "Euca" and "Lyptus", were born at the University of Queensland in April 1999. Mating normally occurs between December and March, the Southern Hemisphere's summer.

A baby koala is referred to as a joey and is hairless, blind, and earless. At birth the joey, only 20 mm (0.79 in) long, crawls into the downward-facing pouch on the mother's belly (which is closed by a drawstring-like muscle that the mother can tighten at will) and attaches itself to one of the two teats.

Young remain hidden in the pouch for about six months, only feeding on milk. During this time they grow ears, eyes, and fur. The joey then begins to explore outside of the pouch. At about this stage it begins to consume small quantities of the mother’s "pap" (formerly thought to be excrement, but now thought to come from the mother's cecum) in order to inoculate its gut with the microbes necessary to digest eucalypt leaves. The joey will remain with its mother for another six months or so, riding on her back, and feeding on both milk and eucalypt leaves until weaning is complete at about 12 months of age. Young females disperse to nearby areas at that time; young males often stay in the mother's home range until they are two or three years old.

Animal World - All about PEAFOWL around the world

Peafowl are two asiatic species of flying birds in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny colour with darker brown patches. [1]

The species are:

~Indian Peacock, Pavo cristatus, a resident breeder in South Asia. The peacock is designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of Punjab.
~Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus. Breeds from Burma east to Java. The IUCN lists the Green Peafowl as vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat.

The male (peacock) Indian Peafowl has iridescent blue-green or green colored plumage. The peacock tail ("train") is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail coverts. The "eyes" are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Like a cupped hand behind the ear the erect tail-fan of the male helps direct sound to the ears. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female (peahen) Indian Peafowl has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. She lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male but has a crest. The female can also display her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young.

The Green Peafowl appears different from the Australian Peafowl. The male has green and blueplumage and has an erection crest. The wings are black with a sheen of blue. Unlike the Indian Peafowl, the Green Peahen is similar to the male, only having shorter upper tail coverts and less iridescence. It is difficult to tell a juvenile male from an adult female.

As with many birds, vibrant plumage colours are not primarily pigments, but optical interference Bragg reflections, based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers. Slight changes to the spacing result in different colours. Brown feathers are a mixture of red and blue: one colour is created by the periodic structure, and the other is a created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections from the outer and inner boundaries. Such interference-based structural colour is important for the peacock's iridescent hues that change and shimmer with viewing angle, since unlike pigments, interference effects depend on light angle.

Colour mutations exist through selective breeding, such as the leucistic White Peafowl and the Black-Shouldered Peafowl.

The peafowl are forest birds that nest on the ground but roost in trees. They are terrestrial feeders.

Both species of Peafowl are believed to be polygamous. However, it has been suggested that "females" entering a male Green Peafowl's territory are really his own juvenile or sub-adult young (K. B. Woods in lit. 2000) and that Green Peafowl are really monogamous in the wild. The male peacock flares out his feathers when he is trying to get the female's attention.

During the mating season they will often emit a very loud high-pitched cry. They also travel in hunting packs between ten and ninety.

Peafowl are omnivorous and eat most plant parts, flower petals, seed heads, insects and other arthropods, reptiles, and amphibians.

In common with other members of the Galliformes, males possess metatarsal spurs or "thorns" used primarily during intraspecific fights.

Animal World - All about PARROT around the world

Parrots, also known as psittacines, are birds of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three families: the Psittacidae ('true' parrots), the Cacatuidae (cockatoos) and the Strigopidae (New Zealand parrots). Parrots have a generally pantropical distribution with several species inhabiting temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is found in South America and Australasia. [1]

Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. The plumage of cockatoos ranges from mostly white to mostly black, with a mobile crest of feathers on the tops of their heads. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length.

The most important components of most parrots' diets are seeds, nuts, fruit, buds and other plant material. A few species sometimes eat animals and carrion, while the lories and lorikeets are specialised for feeding on floral nectar and soft fruits. Almost all parrots nest in tree hollows (or nest boxes in captivity), and lay white eggs from which hatch altricial (helpless) young.

Parrots, along with ravens, crows, jays and magpies, are among the most intelligent birds, and the ability of some species to imitate human voices enhances their popularity as pets. Trapping wild parrots for the pet trade, as well as hunting, habitat loss and competition from invasive species, has diminished wild populations, with parrots being subjected to more exploitation than any other group of birds. Measures taken to conserve the habitats of some high-profile charismatic species have also protected many of the less charismatic species living in the same ecosystems.

Researchers are unsure about the origins of parrots. Psittaciforme diversity in South America and Australasia suggests that the order may have evolved in Gondwanaland, centred in Australasia. The scarcity of parrots in the fossil record, however, presents difficulties in proving so.

A single 15 mm fragment from a large lower bill (UCMP 143274), found in deposits from the Lance Creek Formation in Niobrara County, Wyoming, had been thought to be the oldest parrot fossil and is presumed to have originated from the Late Cretaceous period, which makes it about 70 million years old. There have been studies, though, that establishes that this fossil is almost certainly not from a bird, but from a caenagnathid theropod or a non-avian dinosaur with a birdlike beak.

It is now generally assumed that the Psittaciformes, or their common ancestors with a number of related bird orders, were present somewhere in the world around the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (K-Pg extinction), some 65 mya (million years ago). If so, they probably had not evolved their morphological autapomorphies yet, but were generalised arboreal birds, roughly similar (though not necessarily closely related) to today's potoos or frogmouths (see also Palaeopsittacus below). Though these birds (Cypselomorphae) are a phylogenetically challenging group, they seem at least closer to the parrot ancestors than for example the modern aquatic birds (Aequornithes). The present-day combined evidence is widely in support of the hypothesis of Psittaciformes being "near passerines"; i.e. they almost certainly belong to the radiation of mostly land-living birds that emerged in close procimity to the K-Pg extinction. They have been variously allied to to groups such as falcons, songbirds, trogons, woodpeckers, as well as "Coraciiformes", hawks and owls, and the puzzling mousebirds. This seems to be by and large correct. Other proposed relationships, such as to pigeons, are considered more spurious today.

Europe is the origin of the first presumed parrot fossils, which date from about 50 million years ago (mya). The climate there and then was tropical, consistent with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Initially, a neoavian named Mopsitta tanta, uncovered in Denmark's Early Eocene Fur Formation and dated to 54 mya (million years ago), was assigned to the Psittaciformes; it was described from a single humerus. However, the rather nondescript bone is not unequivocally psittaciform, and more recently it was pointed out that it may rather belong to a newly-discovered ibis of the genus genus Rhynchaeites, whose fossil legs were found in the same deposits.
The feathers of a Yellow-headed Amazon. The blue component of the green colouration is due to light scattering while the yellow is due to pigment.

Fossils assignable to Psittaciformes (though not yet the present-day parrots) date from slightly later in the Eocene, starting around 50 mya. Several fairly complete skeletons of parrot-like birds have been found in England and Germany. Some uncertainty remains, but on the whole it seems more likely that these are not direct ancestors of the modern parrots, but related lineages which evolved in the Northern Hemisphere and have since died out. These are probably not "missing links" between ancestral and modern parrots, but rather psittaciform lineages that evolved parallel to true parrots and cockatoos and had their own peculiar autapomorphies:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Animal World - All about CAMEL around the world

A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia, and Bactrian camels are native to Central and East Asia. Both species are domesticated; they provide milk and meat, and are working animals. [1]

The term camel (from the Arabic جمل, ǧml, derived from the triconsonantal root signifying "beauty") is also used more broadly to describe any of the six camel-like creatures in the family camelidae: the two true camels, and the four South American camelids: the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña.

The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. A fully grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in)[clarification needed] at the hump. The hump rises about 30 in (76.20 cm) out of its body. Camels can run at up to 65 km/h (40 mph) in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).

Fossil evidence indicates that the ancestors of modern camels evolved in North America during the Palaeogene period (see also Camelops), and later spread to most parts of Asia. The people of ancient Somalia or the Kingdom of Punt first domesticated camels well before 2000 BC.

The 14 million dromedaries alive today are domesticated animals (mostly living in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Maghreb, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent). The Horn region alone has the largest concentration of camels in the world, where the dromedaries constitute an important part of local nomadic life. They provide peripatetic Somali and Ethiopian people with milk, food and transportation.

The Bactrian camel is now reduced to an estimated 1.4 million animals, mostly domesticated. It is thought that there are about 1,000 wild Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.

There is a substantial feral population of dromedaries estimated at up to 1,000,000 in central parts of Australia, descended from individuals introduced as transport animals in the 19th century and early 20th century. This population is growing at approximately 8% per year. The government of South Australia has decided to cull the animals using aerial marksmen, because the camels use too much of the limited resources needed by sheep farmers. For more information, see Australian feral camel.

A small population of introduced camels, dromedaries and Bactrians survived in the Southwest United States until the second half of the 20th Century. These animals, imported from Turkey, were part of the U.S. Camel Corps experiment and used as draft animals in mines and escaped or were released after the project was terminated. A descendant of one of these was seen by a backpacker in Los Padres National Forest in 1972[. Twenty-three Bactrian camels were brought to Canada during the Cariboo Gold Rush.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Animal World - All about PENGUIN around the world

Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their lives on land and half in the oceans. [1]

Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos Penguin, lives near the equator.

The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): adults average about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the Fairy Penguin, which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are generally found in temperate or even tropical climates (see also Bergmann's Rule). Some prehistoric species attained enormous sizes, becoming as tall or as heavy as an adult human. These were not restricted to Antarctic regions; on the contrary, subantarctic regions harboured high diversity, and at least one giant penguin occurred in a region not quite 2,000 km south of the equator 35 mya, in a climate decidedly warmer than today.

The etymology of the word "penguin" is highly disputed. The English word is not apparently of French, nor of Breton or Spanish origin (both attributed to the French word pingouin "auk"), but first appears in English or Dutch.

Some dictionaries suggest a derivation from Welsh pen "head" and gwyn "white", including the Oxford English Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, the Century Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, on the basis that the name was originally applied to the great auk, which had white spots in front of its eyes (although its head was black).

An alternative etymology, found in a few English dictionaries, links the word to Latin pinguis "fat", from its perceived appearance. This etymology would be improbable if "penguin" were found to have been originally applied to the great auk, as some sources suggest.

A third theory states that the word is an alteration of “pen-wing”, with reference to the rudimentary wings of great auks. This has been criticised for the unexplained nature of the alteration of the word.

The number of extant penguin species is debated. Depending on which authority is followed, penguin biodiversity varies between 17 and 20 living species, all in the subfamily Spheniscinae. Some sources consider the White-flippered Penguin a separate Eudyptula species, while others treat it as a subspecies of the Little Penguin; the actual situation seems to be more complicated. Similarly, it is still unclear whether the Royal Penguin is merely a color morph of the Macaroni penguin. The status of the Rockhopper penguins is also unclear.

Animal World - All about PANGOLIN around the world

A pangolin, also scaly anteater or Trenggiling, is a mammal of the order Pholidota. There is only one extant family (Manidae) and one genus (Manis) of pangolins, comprising eight species. There are also a number of extinct taxa. Pangolins have large keratin scales covering their skin and are the only mammals with this adaptation. They are found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The name "pangolin" derives from the Malay word pengguling ("something that rolls up"). [1]

Pangolins are nocturnal animals, and use their well-developed sense of smell to find Linkinsects. The long-tailed pangolin is also active by day. Pangolins spend most of the daytime sleeping, curled up into a ball.

Pangolins were classified with various other orders, for example Xenarthra, which includes the ordinary anteaters, sloths, and the similar-looking armadillos. But newer genetic evidence indicates that their closest living relatives are the Carnivora, with which they form the clade Ferae. Some paleontologists have classified the pangolins in the order Cimolesta, together with several extinct groups.

The physical appearance of pangolins is marked by large, hardened, plate-like scales. The scales, which are soft on newborn pangolins but harden as the animal matures, are made of keratin, the same material of which human fingernails and tetrapod claws are made. The pangolin is often compared to a walking pine cone or globe artichoke. It can curl up into a ball when threatened, with its overlapping scales acting as armour and its face tucked under its tail. The scales are razor-sharp, providing extra defence. The front claws are so long that they are unsuited for walking, and so the animal walks with its fore paws curled over to protect them. Pangolins can also emit a noxious smelling acid from glands near the anus, similar to the spray of a skunk. Pangolins have short legs, with sharp claws which they use for burrowing into termite and ant mounds, as well as climbing.

The size of pangolins varies by species, ranging from 30 cm to 100 cm (12 to 39 inches). Females are generally smaller than males.

The tongues of pangolins are extremely elongated and extend into the abdominal cavity. By convergent evolution pangolins, the giant anteater, and the tube-lipped nectar bat, all have tongues which are unattached to their hyoid bone and extend past their pharynx deep into the thorax. This extension lies between the sternum and the trachea. Large pangolins can extend their tongues as much as 40 cm (16 inches), with a diameter of only 0.5 cm (1/4 inch).

In pangolins, the section of the brain that relates to problem solving is highly developed. Although their problem solving ability is primarily used to find food in obscure locations, when kept in captivity pangolins are remarkable escape artists.

Arboreal pangolins live in hollow trees, whereas the ground dwelling species dig tunnels underground, up to a depth of 3.5 m (11 feet). Pangolins are also good swimmers.

Pangolins lack teeth and the ability to chew. Instead, they tear open anthills or termite mounds with their powerful front claws and probe deep into them with their very long tongues. Pangolins have glands in their chests to lubricate the tongue with sticky, ant-catching saliva.

Some species, such as the Tree Pangolin, use their strong, prehensile tails to hang from tree branches and strip away bark from the trunk, exposing insect nests inside.

Gestation is 120–150 days. African pangolin females usually give birth to a single offspring at a time, but the Asiatic species can give birth from one to three. Weight at birth is 80–450 g (3–18 ounces), and the scales are initially soft. The young cling to the mother's tail as she moves about, although in burrowing species, they remain in the burrow for the first 2–4 weeks of life. Weaning takes place at around three months of age, and pangolins become

Pangolins are hunted and eaten in many parts of Africa and are one of the more popular types of bush meat. Pangolins are also in great demand in China because their meat is considered a delicacy and some Chinese believe pangolin scales reduce swelling, promote blood circulation and help breast-feeding women produce milk. This, coupled with deforestation, has led to a large decrease in the numbers of Giant Pangolins. In November 2010, pangolins were added to the Zoological Society of London's list of genetically distinct and endangered mammals.

Pangolin populations have suffered from illegal trafficking. In May 2007, for example, 31 pangolins were found aboard an abandoned vessel off the coast of China. The boat contained some 5,000 endangered animals.

The Guardian provided a description of the killing and eating of pangolins: "A Guangdong chef interviewed last year in the Beijing Science and Technology Daily described how to cook a pangolin: 'We keep them alive in cages until the customer makes an order. Then we hammer them unconscious, cut their throats and drain the blood. It is a slow death. We then boil them to remove the scales. We cut the meat into small pieces and use it to make a number of dishes, including braised meat and soup. Usually the customers take the blood home with them afterwards.'"