November 2074

Jun. 27th, 2017 12:13 pm
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

"Unfinished Business with the Group Captain"

  • Graphic Depictions Of Violence
  • Major Character Death

Lena "Venom" Oxton made Winston a promise, one Winston did not like. But Lena Oxton keeps her promises.

This is part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders Overwatch AU continuity, and the linked novella should be read first, both for spoiler avoidance and for context.

[In the north of England - November 2074] )
[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_fawn 2

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has an adorable new addition. A male Southern Pudu was born on May 31 to mother, Posie, and father, Little Mac.

This is the first fawn for Little Mac, and he is proving to be an excellent father, doting on the yet un-named male fawn. Keepers often find him grooming his new son or sleeping next to him. Posie is also an excellent mother and shares a birthday with the little one.

Pudu, the smallest species of deer, are around 15 inches tall when full grown. Jacksonville Zoo’s new fawn weighed less than two pounds when born and stood less than eight inches tall.

2_fawn 1

3_fawn and Mac

4_fawn 6Photo Credits: JZG Senior Mammal Keeper, Lynde Nunn

The two species of Pudus are: Northern Pudu (Pudu mephistophiles) from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and the Southern Pudu (Pudu puda) from southern Chile and southwestern Argentina.

Adult Pudus range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long.

As of 2009, the Southern Pudu is classified as “Near Threatened”, while the Northern Pudu is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

Southern Pudu fawns are born with spots, which form strips that will develop into a solid reddish-brown fur as they grow older.

The Pudus at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) are currently housed in the Wild Florida loop, next to the Manatee Critical Care Center. Keepers report they are naturally shy creatures, with the fawn usually hiding in the exhibit shrubbery.

More great pics below the fold!

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6_fawn 4

7_fawn and posie

8_fawn and palm frond

9_fawn and mac 2

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11_fawn3

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_20170616-06roshanpatel

Keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center are celebrating a conservation success five years in the making: a pair of Bourret’s Box Turtle hatchlings.

These young are the first of their species to hatch, both at the Zoo, and as a part of the North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Bourret’s Box Turtle.

Ever since the turtles emerged from their shells June 12, keepers have closely monitored them to ensure they are eating and gaining weight. They appear to be healthy and thriving, weighing 25 grams each (about 1/52 the size of their mother, who weighs 1,300 grams).

Staff have not yet verified the 10-day-old turtles’ sex, as they show no sexual dimorphism at this age. The young turtles, as well as the adult female and two adult males, will remain off-exhibit while under observation.

2_20170616-05roshanpatel

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4_20170616-07roshanpatelPhoto Credits: Smithsonian's National Zoo

The Bourret’s Box Turtles’ parents arrived at the Zoo in 2012 following a SSP breeding recommendation. From October to March, adult Bourret’s Box Turtles undergo a period of ‘brumation’: a hibernation-like state based on temperature cycling. It is only after completing this annual process that successful reproduction occurs. Despite the female producing eggs every year since 2013, this was the first year the eggs developed fully and hatched.

Bourret’s Box Turtle eggs can be difficult to hatch in human care, in part because the incubator’s humidity and temperature must be set at a specific range in order for embryonic development to occur. Keepers checked on the incubated eggs daily and made minor adjustments to maintain this range. The female laid her first clutch of this year on March 22, and these hatchlings emerged after a 12-week incubation. Keepers are cautiously optimistic that a second clutch, laid April 29, will hatch with similar success. The Zoo will share the information gathered about this species’ breeding and development with AZA for the benefit of other institutions that exhibit and want to breed this species.

Scientists estimate only 2,300 Bourret’s Box Turtles (Cuora bourreti) remain in their native habitat, the evergreen forests of Vietnam and Laos. These terrestrial turtles are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as their populations have declined more than 90 percent since the mid-1950s due to habitat deforestation and illegal trafficking in the food and pet trade.

old door phased itself out today

Jun. 25th, 2017 07:58 pm
solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)
[personal profile] solarbird
The 1995 P166 that has been until now door.murkworks.net has formally and abruptly retired itself. So I'm having to move the new box into place now. This is the DMZ box I was talking about earlier.

Henceforth, "Door" refers to "New Door," not the old machine that is broken. It is latest Debian.

Door has three network cards: eth0 going to cable modem, eth1 going to fixed IP LAN segment, eth2 going to DHCP LAN segment. Door is running both DNS and DHCP servers.

Door can see everything in the world, on all cards. Complete functionality.

DHCP side can see everything in the world, on all cards. Complete functionality.

Fixed IP machines can all see Door (including its DNS services), and each other, and talk to the DHCP side, but can talk to nothing living out on eth0.

tcpdump on Door shows Door handing off ICMP packets on eth0, so that direction seems okay.

I am not seeing ACKs coming back to Door on eth0 from google.com but I can't be sure they aren't doing something tricky and my filters are confused.

Kernel IP routing table
Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags Metric Ref    Use Iface
0.0.0.0         173.160.243.46  0.0.0.0         UG    0      0        0 eth0
173.160.243.40  0.0.0.0         255.255.255.248 U     0      0        0 eth1
173.160.243.42  0.0.0.0         255.255.255.255 UH    0      0        0 eth1
173.160.243.43  0.0.0.0         255.255.255.255 UH    0      0        0 eth1
173.160.243.44  0.0.0.0         255.255.255.255 UH    0      0        0 eth1
173.160.243.46  0.0.0.0         255.255.255.255 UH    0      0        0 eth0
192.168.1.0     0.0.0.0         255.255.255.0   U     0      0        0 eth2


Door is 173.160.243.41 (on eth0), 173.160.243.45 (on eth1), 192.168.1.1 (on eth2). 173.160.243.46 is the modem. 173.160.243.40 is a network to eth1.

Anybody know wtf?

eta: The router - in addition to not showing door any ACKs for anything from .42 and .43 - is sending out a lot of ARP packets looking for 173.160.243.42 and 173.160.243.43, and I'm starting to think it won't talk to a gateway box in the fixed-IP range. I try to add .41 as a gateway address for .42 and .43 and it refuses, saying illegal LAN address. SUPER RAGIFICATION ENGAGED.

eta2: And the new problem is that the PS4 won't pick up the gateway information from the Linux-based DHCP server. It will pick up an address! It's also not getting the DNS server number either. Why? Fuck if I know, everything else does it right.

Thought for the Day

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:57 pm
bcholmes: I was just a brain in a jar (brain thoughts)
[personal profile] bcholmes

Lately I’ve found myself spending too much time arguing with “allies.” Whether it’s explaining to them, as a black gay man, why racism in the Gayborhood is a serious issue or why nondiscrimination laws should be statewide, it feels as though I’m having to defend myself to those who should be advocating by my side. What I have realized is that too many allies conduct themselves as service providers: They show up only when there’s an immediate need, they require me to explain the problem again and again, and they may or may not actually fix anything.

In other words, allies are more trouble than they’re worth.

— Ernest Owens, “Why I’m Giving Up on ‘Allies'”

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born at Chester Zoo (4)

The first Andean Bear to be born in mainland Great Britain has emerged from its den at Chester Zoo.

The rare cub, which is yet to be sexed, arrived to parents Lima, age 5, and Bernardo, age 7, on January 11.  After spending months snuggled away in its den, the cub has started to venture out and explore for the first time.

GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born to mum Lima at Chester Zoo (9)
GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born at Chester Zoo (5)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Made famous in the UK through the classic children’s character Paddington Bear, the Andean Bear is the only Bear to inhabit South America. They are found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

The species is listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Conservation experts from the zoo say the birth of this cub is especially significant given how threatened the species is. 

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the zoo, said, “The cub was tiny when it was born but Lima is doing a fantastic job, particularly given that she’s a first-time mum, and the cub is developing quickly. Lima is keeping her new charge close and she certainly has her paws full. But even though she’s not letting it stray too from her side, we can already see that her cub has a real playful side."

“This is a momentous breeding success for us. To become the first zoo in mainland Great Britain to ever breed the species is an amazing achievement,” Rowlands said.



Little is known about Andean Bears in the wild. Information learned from the zoo birth will aid conservationists working to protect these Bears in South America.

Population estimates for the species were last made a decade ago, placing wild numbers at just 20,000. Conservationists are convinced that the Bears' numbers have decreased further, but are unsure how many remain in the wild.

The main threat to the Andean Bear is habitat loss, with some 30% of the forests that contain sufficient food disappearing in the past 20 years. Hundreds of Bears are also illegally killed by farmers and business owners every year, largely to prevent them from raiding crops and livestock.

Chester Zoo works with scientists in Bolivia to study Bear-human conflict.



See more photos of the cub below.


GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born at Chester Zoo (1)
GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born at Chester Zoo (3)
GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born at Chester Zoo (6)
GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born at Chester Zoo (7)
GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born to mum Lima at Chester Zoo (1)
GB first. Rare Andean bear cub born to mum Lima at Chester Zoo (4)











Spring of 2077

Jun. 24th, 2017 09:04 pm
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

So... huh. I guess this happened. It's small and very lightweight but here it is. ^_^

This is part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders continuity, and takes place before the end of that story. You should read that story first, for context.

Spring of 2077 - Nepal )
[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

DSC_9622_SanMateo_1250

Two Mexican Gray Wolf pups born at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo swapped places with two wild-born pups in New Mexico as part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Grey Wolf Recovery Program. 

The pups born at Brookfield Zoo are now integrated with a wild Wolf pack in New Mexico, and the wild-born pups are being reared by the zoo’s Wolves.  This process, called cross-fostering, maintains genetic diversity in the wild and zoo-dwelling populations of this endangered species.

18920643_10155552218399170_6106734629373990342_n
DrCopper_BZexam_1250 (1)2
DrCopper_BZexam_1250 (1)1Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo



In early May, teams from Brookfield Zoo gathered up the largest male and female pups from a litter of five born at the zoo on April 22.  At just 11 days old, the pups required feedings every four hours as they were transported by plane and van to the San Mateo Wolf pack’s den in New Mexico.

As the adults in the San Mateo pack moved down the canyon, the zoo’s field team entered the den and counted eight pups in the litter. Two were selected to bring back to the Brookfield Zoo.

Scents are important to Wolves, so each of the new puppies was rolled in their new den's substrate, urine, and feces to ensure that all the pups smelled the same and they’d be accepted as members of their new families.  The zoo reports that the zoo's pack is providing excellent care to the pups, and they emerged from the den with their foster siblings in late May.

Keepers Lauren Gallucci and Racquel Ardisana explained the thrill of participating in this meaningful conservation effort. “We began our careers in animal care because we want to make a difference in wildlife education and conservation, connecting zoo guests to the larger issues in our natural world. Having the opportunity to make such a direct impact on the conservation of a species for which we care every day really hit home!”

Native to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas and northern Mexico, Mexican Gray Wolves were hunted to near-extinction in the 20th century. By 1927, they were thought to be extirpated from New Mexico. The last wild Mexican Gray Wolves known to live in Texas were killed in 1970.

After the species was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1976, plans to reestablish the species began. By the mid-2010s, more than 100 Wolves were living in the recovery area. 

The zoo’s participation in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program shows how zoos can partner with other conservation organizations to help save species.

 

hey linux networking peeps

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:32 pm
solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)
[personal profile] solarbird

I’m finally getting back to working on a new gateway/router server and I’m basically setting up this old-school sort of DMZ, with the rest of our servers hanging off one card, and our internal LAN/DHCP/NAT side hanging off the other. (Using ISC, which Debian seems to like.) And all of that seems to be right from the new server’s perspective, which is yay!

Except there’s no packet forwarding from the DHCP side even though it’s enabled and I’m sure I enabled it and yes the kernel thinks its enabled but it isn’t happening.

Any ideas where to start?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Banbury

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:33 am
[syndicated profile] englishmanintx_feed

Posted by Lawrence Burton

'What a handsome fucker!' exclaimed the Pixie happily.

I leave Newbold, Warwickshire around eleven, cycling a zig-zag path heading east along the smallest country lanes I can find in the hope of avoiding anything you'd call traffic. Sue has offered to give me a lift from Halford, reasoning that it's a long way on a bike and Sunrise Hill will probably kill me. I've told her I'll be okay because I need the exercise and enjoy cycling.

'I scoff at hills,' I roared laughingly in the manner of Brian Blessed, but not out loud. My laughter was internal. I hadn't heard of Sunrise Hill, but I've cycled up other hills, and surely it couldn't be any worse than the one outside Wellesbourne; and people who cycle less than I do always seem to regard the smallest speed bump as a giant escarpment; and other reasons, probably...

I cycle from Newbold to Halford, then on to the villages of Oxhill and Upper Tysoe, at which point I come to Sunrise Hill; and unfortunately it is indeed a bastard. Fuck you, I mutter to my inner Brian Blessed, conceding defeat after about a hundred yards and getting off to push the bike the rest of the way. I stop to catch my breath three or four times, and after about ten minutes I'm at the top of the hill. I follow the road into Shenington, along what turns out to be the edge of the escarpment, dipping right back down to my original elevation and then back up again three or four times, up-down-up-down-up-fucking-down and rarely has such agricultural language been directed against a single geographical feature.

After seventeen miles I'm in the next county, Oxfordshire, and specifically I'm in Banbury. My guesswork regarding travel time has been a bit out and I'm late for Tom and Fiona's barbecue.

Tom probably isn't quite my oldest friend, but he's the first I visited on a regular basis. He lived in an old farmhouse in the village of Darlingscote, Cotswold stone, exposed wooden beams, and uneven floors. I found the place magical. The main thing we had in common was, as with all children, probably that we were the same size, but we shared a sense of humour and we both liked Star Trek. We'd play in the fields at the back. He was probably Spock, which I'm guessing from the fact that he'd keep calling me Jim, and somehow, despite this, I was a Cyberman from Doctor Who. The logic of these scenarios probably doesn't stand up to much scrutiny, and the continuity is all over the place, but I guess it worked for us at the time. My assumed identity for such childhood roleplay tended to be one chosen for its silent implication of terrible power, which unfortunately didn't necessarily translate well when the point of the game was in pretending to be captured on an alien planet or whatever. Tom didn't seem to mind, or possibly even to notice that my Cyberman was a fairly boring choice of persona; although I distinctly recall Sean objecting to my electing to be the Mighty Thor on the grounds that Thor was never really known for jumping around all over the place, unlike Spiderman.

Somehow we drifted apart about half way through secondary school, our respective peer groups polarised by divergent relationships with pop music and the automotive industry. Years later we ran into each other at a school reunion, having both reached an age at which what differences we had cultivated no longer seemed to matter; so that was nice; and amazingly, he was still very, very funny. Stranger still was that he'd married Fiona, with whom I had shared a table during art lessons for most of the fourth and fifth years.

I've been to see them once before in Banbury, back in 2015 during a previous visit to England, and this time they're having a barbecue. My road map doesn't extend into Oxfordshire, so I've scribbled directions on post-it notes copied from what I could find on the internet. I don't know Banbury at all, despite having lived nearby for the first twenty or so years of my life. I asked my mother about this and she told me we'd simply never had any good reason to pass through Banbury. It wasn't on the way to anywhere we ever went. This might partially account for why I'm already lost. I stop to ask directions, and happily it turns out that I've been heading the right way, and that Tom and Fiona's house is only a little further. Tom calls my mobile just as I turn the corner into his close.

'Where are you, Loz?'

'I'm right outside. I think I can see you,' but the bloke pottering about in his back garden seen through two panes of glass is someone else. I've been here before but none of the houses look quite familiar; except maybe one of them does, sort of...

I lock my bike, shove it down the side of the garage, then pass down the side of the house into the garden, greeted by a chorus of jokes about where I've left my horse. I'm wearing my stetson, so I only have myself to blame.

Nathan, son of Tom and Fiona, crushes me with a bear hug and a grin.

'Hello, Nathan,' I wheeze.

He lifts a glass from the garden table to show me with some pride. 'I can drink beer now!'

'Blimey,' I suggest, doing the mental arithmetic and realising he must have passed eighteen since I last saw him. 'I'm surprised you remember me. I was only here for an hour or so, and that was two years ago.'

'I remember you.'

Sue is already here. 'I told you I'd give you a lift,' she sighs.

Tom works the barbecue, flipping burgers and hot dogs, and Zoe is here too. I haven't seen her since school. I vividly recall thinking she was the blondest girl in the whole universe on our first day at Shipston, and she is still lovely as ever. It seems almost scary how little we've all changed, and mainly because we obviously have all changed but it's hard to tell, so I'm probably losing my marbles.

I pull up a lawn chair and we get down to the important business of talking complete bollocks, catching up with the last thirty years of business.

Paul Betteridge is definitely dead, we conclude. The facebook account has to be someone using his identity for reasons best known to themselves. Sue remembers his demise quite well, and with good reason given his attempt to brand her with a lump of red hot metal, fresh from the furnace. I don't remember him being such a bad lad - really more of an inventive nutcase, but then he never tried to brand me. This at least means that I haven't just imagined him ending up in a coma after crashing a stolen combine harvester into a haystack, or whatever it was that happened.

We discuss who has had a sex change, mostly referring to sons and daughters of people we knew at school, or daughters and sons depending on how much time has passed since I wrote this. It's difficult to imagine how such a conversation would have gone one generation past, but in 2017, none of us seem that bothered by the idea. It's weird and out of the ordinary for sure, but I guess we're all too old to give that much of a fuck about someone else's business.

Fiona and Sue talk about work, which opens out into a wider discussion of the joy of telling people we don't like to either piss off or stick it up their respective arses. We talk about Nathan, the kids, and even a few grandchildren who've been buzzing around at the periphery of the conversation, what they will do, what sort of world they will live in, the usual stuff.

The strangest development of all seems to be that Tom, Fiona, and Nathan are one of those ballroom dancing families you hear about, all three of them, and they're probably fairly good at it because they keep winning prizes. Tom invites me to inspect the shed he's built at the foot of the garden. It's bananas and yet brilliant - a stroke of genius. It's his own tiny dance studio, complete with the mirrored wall and all the trimmings; at which point I notice he's lost a spare tyre since I was last here. I guess it's good for him.

We eat burgers and hot dogs, and Fiona and I compare notes about diverticulitis which she recently contracted. Thankfully she's getting better now.

I hit the road about four, reasoning that I want to be back in Coventry before it gets dark, which I just about manage. I've covered one hell of a distance on just two wheels, and it's been knackering but absolutely worth it. I've spent an afternoon in the company of people I never really anticipated seeing again once I'd left school, and not because I ever had a reason to avoid anyone, but because we all seem to have shot off on different paths; but meeting up again, I realise that we probably all have more in common than we did first time round; and that we've made it to fifty without turning into arseholes, which is nice.
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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Baby lemurs 05312017 B

The Jackson Zoological Society is proud to announce the birth of two critically endangered Red Ruffed Lemurs.

On Saturday, May 27, Jackson Zoo keepers arrived at work in the early morning to discover two newborn males in the Lemur exhibit!

New mother, Nekena, arrived at the Jackson Zoo in December of 2016 from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. She joined the Zoo’s resident father and son, Timmy and Phoenix, respectively, as part of the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan.

“The 2017 Breeding and Transfer Plan was published this past February. At that time we had 187 Red Ruffed Lemurs in the Species Survival Plan®(SSP), where we recommended 18 males and 16 females for breeding,” said Christie Eddie, Red Ruffed Lemur SSP Coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. “We are in the midst of birthing season and these offspring are among birth reports from five SSP institutions. I expect more to come!”

2_Baby 2

3_Lemurs on a pillowPhoto Credits: EJ Rivers/ Jackson Zoo

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Red Ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) as “Critically Endangered”. Found only in a small area of Madagascar, they are the most endangered type of Lemur in the world due to increased cyclones, illegal logging, and the illegal exotic pet trade. According to the IUCN, there are only approximately 35 Lemurs on average per square kilometer in their native habitat and declining rapidly. Less than 65% of newborn young survive to three-months of age in the wild, and there are less than 600 in zoos or refuges in the world.

“We are absolutely delighted to see these two little ones arrive, both for our park and the species as a whole” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director, Beth Poff. “More than a third of the animals at the Jackson Zoo are either endangered or threatened, and although every birth here is special to the staff, adding numbers to an endangered species is that much more precious.”

The Jackson Zoological Society participates in Species Survival Plans for many other animals, including successful births for the Pygmy Hippo and the Sumatran Tiger. The Jackson Zoo also regularly submits information and samples to dozens of ongoing international studies.

Now barely three weeks old, the Red Ruffed Lemur brothers are getting stronger every day. Unfortunately, it was the first pregnancy and birth for their hand-raised mom, Nakena, whose inexperience with newborns was apparent. Vet Tech, Donna Todd, stepped in and has been hand-raising the endangered babies ever since May 27th.

According to the Zoo, the two are like ‘night-and-day’ when it comes to temperament (one decidedly vocal, one much quieter). But both boys are eating well, have bright eyes, are jumping and playing equal amounts, and are more curious about their surroundings every day.

Special public viewings at the Jackson Zoo Vet Hospital are being arranged, and the Zoo hopes to be able to let the public “meet” them (at a distance) within the next month or so.

Visitors and Jackson Zoo members can visit the adult Lemurs during regular zoo hours (seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm), and follow the Jackson Zookeepers on Instagram (@JacksonZoo) for close-ups and behind-the-scenes photos of all the park residents. People can also “adopt” the baby Lemurs (or their parents) for twelve months by contacting EJ Rivers at: ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org.

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Porcupettes 8

Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of the first Porcupine twins in the Park’s forty-seven-year history!

The as-yet-unnamed and unsexed twins were born recently to first-time mother, Stempu, and father, Prickle. The newborns are currently on show in the enclosure they share with a trio of inquisitive Dwarf Mongooses.

According to Cotswold staff, the twins are perfect miniature versions of the adults, even born with a full set of quills, which begs the question visitors have been keen to ask keepers: “How does the female give birth without injury?” After a gestation period of approximately one hundred and twelve days (the longest gestation period of any rodent), the female gives birth to offspring covered in soft, moist and flexible quills, enclosed in a thin placental sac. Immediately after birth, the quills quickly harden in the air and become prickly. The babies, also known as Porcupettes, are also born relatively well developed, with eyes open and teeth present.

2_Porcupettes 11

3_Porcupettes 2

4_Porcupettes 20 (5)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

African Crested Porcupines (Hystrix cristata) are the largest of the twenty-five Porcupine species. They are also the third largest rodent in the world, behind the Beaver and Capybara.

Their Latin name means, “quill pig”. Porcupines possess a spiny defense that is unique among rodents: approximately thirty thousand sharp quills adorn their back. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot fire their quills at enemies, but the slightest touch can lodge dozens of barbed quills into a predator’s body. Quills are modified hairs made of keratin (the same material as human hair, fingernails and the horn of a Rhino). Each quill can boast up to eight hundred barbs. If threatened, Porcupines reverse charge into a predator, stabbing the enemy with its sharp quills. The resulting wound can disable or even kill predators including Lions, Leopards and Hyenas.

Section Head of Primates, Chris Kibbey, commented, “Dad, Prickle, and mum, Stempu, were introduced in October 2016, and it wasn’t long until love blossomed and keepers were delighted to recently discover little Porcupettes running around the enclosure. The babies are born about Guinea Pig-sized and although are born with quills, they are soft at birth, making things considerably easier for mum. The twins are doing really well and have already developed their mother’s habit of stamping their feet, indicating their frustration at keepers disturbing them.”

Four-year-old Stempu is notorious for her feet stamping (her name means ‘stamp’ in Swahili), and she protects her first litter with great ferocity. Her pups were recently caught on camera stamping their tiny feet. Three-year-old Prickle (also the collective noun for a group of Porcupines) is far more relaxed and both are proving to be formidable parents.

Another area of great curiosity from visitors is: “How do Porcupines actually mate?” Mating is a ‘thorny’ challenge due to the spines and quills of the participants, but the answer was discovered in the first scientific study of its kind (published in the Italian Journal of Zoology in 1993*). The nineteen-month study into the mating habits of African Crested Porcupines found that the male prepares for mating by ‘stepping’ with his hind legs on the spot, followed by the female raising her tail onto her back, relaxing her quills, anchoring them firmly against her body and raising her rear. This enables the male to mount her without risking injury from her quills. The male’s forelegs do not hold onto the female’s back at any point. He clasps her sides with his front paws and carefully balances on his hind feet. The study also uncovered that this monogamous species showed an exceptionally long mating pattern (one to five minutes), compared to the known mating behaviors of other Porcupine species.

The African Crested Porcupine is found in Italy, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The Romans were credited with introducing this species to Italy, but fossil and sub fossil remains suggest it was possibly present in Europe in the Upper Pleistocene (approximately 11,700 years ago). They have been extinct in heavily settled parts of Uganda since the 1970s.

African Crested Porcupines have been found at altitudes of 11,480 feet on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Porcupines are formidable opponents. In addition to piercing a predator’s skin with their barbed quills, they hiss, growl, click their teeth, stamp their feet and rattle their spines in warning when threatened. The crest of spines and quills can be erected at will to make the animal look enormous and threatening.

This Porcupine species feeds on a variety of roots, bark, bulbs and fallen fruit.

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Because they eat cultivated crops they are seen as agricultural pests, and farmers use dogs to hunt them. Farmers are also known to illegally use poison to kill them. They are also killed for their quills, which are used as ornaments and talismans. In North Africa, they are killed and sold for use in traditional medicine.

5_Porcupettes 6

6_Porcupettes 7

7_Porcupettes 20 (7)

8_Porcupettes 18

9_Porcupettes 20 (2)

10_Porcupettes 20 (1)

Porcupine Papa, "Prickle":

11_Porcupette dad Prickle

12_Porcupettes 13

13_Porcupettes 14 Prickle and baby

[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_FWZ giraffe calf 1

Today is ‘World Giraffe Day’, and what better way to celebrate than by announcing a new Giraffe birth!

On June 8, the Fort Worth Zoo welcomed a male Reticulated Giraffe to the herd. At birth, the soon-to-be named calf weighed 185 pounds and stood roughly 6 feet tall. When fully grown, he will weigh up to 3,000 pounds and measure about 18 feet from head to hoof.

The Fort Worth Zoo houses Reticulated Giraffes, and their name describes the mammal’s chestnut-brown rectangular markings. Like human fingerprints, each Giraffe pattern is different. Native to the African savannas, a Giraffe’s most distinguishing feature is its long neck, which can account for 7 feet of its height.

The new calf, along with the rest of the herd, will soon join several other species in the Zoo’s new African Savanna exhibit, scheduled to open next year. Guests will not only see mixed species interacting and sharing the space, but will also have an opportunity to stand eye-to-eye and feed these gentle giants.

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4_FWZ giraffe calf 4Photo Credits: Fort Worth Zoo

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF): “World Giraffe Day is an exciting annual event initiated by GCF to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year!

Not only is it a worldwide celebration of these amazing and much loved animals, but an annual event to raise support, create awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffe face in the wild. By supporting World Giraffe Day (WGD) you directly help save giraffe in Africa. With only 100,000 giraffe remaining in the wild, the time is right to act NOW!

Zoos, schools, NGOs, governments, institutions, companies and conservation organisations around the world are hosting events on 21 June every year to raise awareness and support for giraffe in the wild.”

For more information on ‘World Giraffe Day’, please see GCF’s website: https://giraffeconservation.org/

More great pics below the fold!

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