Monday, October 22, 2007

Meet Gilbert, the Rockhopper Penguin

Gilbert is a Rockhopper at Riverbanks Zoo. My sister and I had the chance to meet him at Zoo Adventures. It was a very interesting experience, touching a rockhopper penguin. It felt very soft when it was wet, but it felt VERY soft when it was dry.
Rockhoppers are small and aggressive, and live in the sub-Antarctic islands. They feed mostly on krill, fish and squid. Rockhoppers aren't endangered, but some penguins are in danger due to global warming and habitat loss. Here's some video-- watch the way he walks down the stairs!

I've had the chance to touch many exotic animals in my life so far-- tiger, gibbon, chimp, elephant, giraffe, macaw, zebu, yak, oryx, boa, zebra-- and now Gilbert. When I meet animals so close, it makes me want to help animals even more.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Right Way to Save Right Whales?

Right whales got their names because they were the "right whales" to catch since they have lots of fat and oil, and because they floated after they were harpooned. They are very intelligent mammals. They can be found off the coast of South Carolina especially in the winter and spring.

But unfortunately, the right whale could become extinct very soon. Some say less than 400 are left in the whole world. Fishing nets are killing them. Speeding ships are too--here's a picture of one killed this year by a big ship.
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This story about right whales showed up in my e-mail. It says they are not even sure how to save the right whale now. The laws are too weak. Click here to listen to a save the whale song.

These beautiful animals swim right off our coast. Do you think we should try to save the right whale from extinction?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wild Encounter with a Parrot

A wild parrot landed on my mom's shoulder last week. We were in Irmo, when suddenly, it just flew through the door of the ice rink and said "hello, hello." Then it jumped on her head. My mother asked people to get it off her, but they were too scared. It was on her for 45 minutes, until someone called a "bird guy", who owned 150 birds. He took it home.

It reminded me of a show I saw called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, where wild parrots lived in the middle of a big city.

It also made me think of the Carolina Parakeet. Huge flocks of these colorful birds were once everywhere in South Carolina, until they were hunted into extinction in 1918. Here's what John Audubon wrote about the Carolina Parrot.
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Wouldn't it be nice to look out your window and see wild colorful parakeets in the trees?

Would you be surprised if a parrot landed on your shoulder?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hoooooowwlll! Wolf Awareness Week

Did you know October 9 to 14 is Wolf Awareness Week? I think it's great to stop and think about any endangered animals. Especially an animal so misunderstood like the gray wolf.

Native Americans admired gray wolves, and tried to copy their cleverness and hunting ability. But in the 20th Century, we hunted wolves almost to extinction in the U.S. That's because farmers were worried about their livestock. And fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood taught people to fear the wolf, even though there is no recorded killing of a human by a wolf.

But some people tried to save the gray wolf from extinction. They became listed as endangered animals. Now the Yellowstone wolves are a great success story. You can read about it here.

But this Time article says there might be trouble ahead for the gray wolf again. If you want to help the gray wolf, click here and send a letter.

I've never heard the howl of a wolf in the wild, but I hope I can someday.

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