The African elephant is the largest living land mammal and has the heaviest brain of any animal. The largest recorded individual reached 4 metres in height at the shoulder and weighed 10 tonnes. There are two subspecies of African elephant, the savanna elephant and the forest elephant (which is considered by some authorities to be a separate species), which occur in a wide range of forest, grassland and semi-desert habitats across eastern, southern and western Africa. The social structures of the African elephant are very complex, with most herds being composed of closely-related female elephants and their calves, led by a matriarch. Elephants can live to the age of 70 and females typically producing one young every three years. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list and the main threats are hunting for ivory, poaching for meat and competition with growing human populations (around 70% of elephants live outside protected areas).
Italian wildlife photographer and conservationist Bruno D'Amicis has spent ten years photographing the endangered Apennine chamois, Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata, in their rugged mountain habitat near his home in the Abruzzo region. Bruno has hiked hundreds of kilometres and spent countless hours in all seasons across the Central Apennines mountain range documenting every aspect of the life of this endemic chamois. His images have now been published in a book Ornata, the world's most beautiful chamois.
~Once on the verge of extinction with their population reduced to a few dozen individuals, the Apennine chamois now faces a brighter future, thanks to better protection status and a reintroduction programme. In a vertical world, where avalanches, cold, storms, eagles and wolve
Almost everyone has heard of chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans, but the fourth great ape,~the bonobo, remains a creature of mystery. Only separated as a species in 1929, the bonobo lives only in the Congo River basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with probably only 10,000 animals left in the wild. It differs from the chimpanzee in both appearance and behaviour, but has been much less studied. Bonobo society is more egalitarian and altruistic than that of chimpanzees and also less violent, with females playing a more influential role.From a distance, bonobos look like ancient, hairy ancestors of humans. In fact, they are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, closer even than chimpanzees.
The gorilla is the largest of the great apes and it occurs in scattered populations across a large swathe of equatorial Africa. There are now recognised to be two species of gorilla, the Eastern gorilla and the Western gorilla. Both are endangered, and the Western gorilla critically so. The Western gorilla typically lives in smaller groups and has a larger home territory than the Eastern gorilla, and its diet is predominantly fruit rather than vegetation, as in the Eastern species. The most closely observed of the gorillas is the Mountain gorilla subspecies of the Eastern gorilla, which occurs in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, and is a popular subject for wildlife travel tours.
The harvest mouse is the smallest European rodent. It is unusual in possessing a prehensile tail, which it uses to climb amongst grasses, reedbeds, crops and other vegetation. Harvest mice build circular nests out of strips of grass which they use for breeding, resting and sleeping. The species is widely distributed in Europe and Asia, but numbers are though to have declined due to habitat loss and changes in farming practices.
Horses & Ponies
Lemurs occur only in Madagascar, where they evolved separately from monkeys. Most species are threatened or endangered, mainly because of habitat loss and degradation. They range in size from the tiny mouse lemurs to the substantial indri and include the bizarre nocturnal aye-aye.
There are more than 260 recognised species of monkey, of which around 50% are threatened and 24 critically endangered. New World monkeys differ from Old World monkeys in having flatter noses and (in some cases) prehensile tails, enabling them to use the tail as a "fifth limb" for climbing. Most species of monkeys are arboreal but a few such as baboons are more terrestrial in habit. Most monkeys live in large family groups. Renowned for their intelligence, several species of monkey have learned how to use tools.
There are 13 species of otter, most of them living in freshwater habitats, but the Sea otter and Marine otter are adapted to life in saltwater. Due to their reliance on unpolluted water and good fish populations, the presence or absence of otters tends to be an indicator of ecosystem health.
We have received rare images from Andrew Walmsley of the recently discovered new species of orangutan, named Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) restricted to the Batang Toru forests of northern Sumatra with a population of some 800 individuals.
The tiger is the largest of all the big cats and the only striped large feline. Once widespread across Asia, it now survives in scattered populations across 13 countries from Sumatra in Indonesia to the Far East of Russia. Tiger populations are under severe threat, due to habitat loss, declining prey species, pressure from increased human population, and poaching for their bones and body parts, still extensively used in oriental medicine, in spite of a worldwide ban. Of nine tiger subspecies, 3 are extinct, 1 extinct in the wild, and the other 5 endangered.~According to recent surveys, there may be fewer than 3500 wild tigers alive today - a decline of more than 97% since 1900.~July 29th has been designated World Tiger Day since the St Petersburg conference in 2010, in order to boost awareness of the plight of the tiger and the need for a co-ordinated conservation effort.
The Red fox is a very widespread and adaptable species. In many countries this animal has adapted well to living in towns and cities in close proximity to man. Our gallery illustrates the behaviour of urban foxes in the UK, continental Europe and North America.
Whales Dolphins and Porpoises
An up-to-date guide to all known whale, dolphin and porpoise species.
ISBN: 978-1-78240-152-0~£29.99~Published by Ivy Press.~~The 90 currently recognised species of the order Cetacea are some of the most diverse, intelligent and elusive creatures on the planet. Highly migratory, the huge distances these animals cover and the depths they dive mean we catch only the merest glimpse of their lives. Technological advances have, however, increased our understanding, and you’ll find all the most interesting new research on these magnificent creatures gathered together in Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises.~~Beautifully illustrated throughout, this title combines highlights from the latest scholarly studies of the nature and behaviour of the world’s whales, dolphins and porpoises, with a fully comprehensive species directory, that offers detailed profiles of each species alongside all the information needed to identify them in the wild.~~Evolutionary biologist Annalisa Berta introduces the history of cetacean biology, evolution and their key anatomical features, as well as information on social behaviour, life history and feeding techniques. This book will inspire readers to find, recognise, watch, and appreciate whales, dolphins, and porpoises and will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in conservation, as understanding how these mammals live, is the key to providing a framework for our efforts in their protection.~~Annalisa Berta has been Professor of Biology at San Diego State University, California, for more than 30 years, specialising in the anatomy and evolutionary biology of marine mammals. Past President of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology and co-Senior Editor of the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Berta has authored and co-authored numerous scientific articles and several books for the specialist and non-scientist, including Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals and Marine Mammals: Evolutionary Biology.
Wild boar in the UK
We have some great coverage, both stills and video, on wild boar in the UK, where a wild population has now been established in several regions following animals escaping from farmed enclosures. This gallery of stills and video clips includes foraging and feeding, suckling young, piglets playing and encounters with humans.
Year of the Pig 2019
5th February 2019 marks the start of the Year of the Pig in the Chinese horoscope. Our Pigs gallery celebrates Domesticated and Wild Pigs in all their diversity. There are 17 species of old world pigs (Suidae), ranging in size from the tiny Indian Pygmy hog to the Giant forest hog of central Africa, and 3 species of peccaries or new world pigs (Tayassuidae). Pigs are highly social, intelligent, omnivorous mammals. The Eurasian wild boar, widely distributed in Europe, Asia and North Africa, is the ancestor of the domesticated pig, which now has an estimated total population of more than 1 billion. Pigs were one of the earliest domesticated species, probably around 9,000 years ago.
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