Dog and dolphins swimming together in Africa!

 

Dog and dolphins swimming together in Africa!

Hi guys, i know it has been way too long since I have last posted a blog or article. This summer has gotten extremely hectic with field work out in the keys and regular work back at the office. On top of all that, i have been carefully writing, editing, re-editing and finalizing an article I have wrote for StrictlyFishWrap. I am very excited to announce that this week (hopefully) StrictlyFishWrap will publish the article I have been working on for weeks. It will definitely be worth the read and I plan on writing more interesting articles related to ecology, wildlife conservation and awareness for them.

On other news, not that summer is winding down, I will have more spare time to blog on interesting, related topics with pictures. I have signed up for my open water certification (scuba) on Aug 31, 2012 and i could not be more excited to finally start scuba diving. When that day arrives, i will post plenty of pictures on the reefs we visit. Again, I apologize for not being up to date with blogs and pictures and videos.

When StrictlyFishWrap publishes my article, you guys will be the first that I’ll inform!

Until then, enjoy this awesome video of dolphins and a black Labrador enjoying each others company in the water. Amazing video!

Oh, and this weekend, I played some frisbee with my dog and got a pretty cool picture. Let me know if you guys enjoy the picture and video. Take care guys and hope everyone is keeping active on wildlife awareness, education and conservation!

Zoey enjoying the beautiful day, playing her favorite sport

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Guard dog

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Zoey guarding the home from unwanted guests. Gotta love dogs!

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Greynold’s Trail

Good evening fellow ecologists and naturalists! Last friday, i took an interesting trip to a park in Miami called “Greynold’s Park”. This is a big park with a few hiking trails and A LOT of golden silk orb-weaver spiders! They are completely harmless and generally build there homes out of contact, but if you aren’t careful, on a rare occasion, you might just run into one. We hiked two short trails, probably 0.25 miles each, but the scenery was amazing. Even though there aren’t majestic mountains or shorelines right next to you, the view still is breathtaking. This was my first time hiking these trails and it will definitely not be my last. Image

Upon exiting one of the trails, i noticed some of the plants had these berries.

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If anyone knows what type of berries or fruit they are, please leave a comment below, i am dying to know. I was very tempted to try a bite but since i do not know very well on wild plants and fruit and what is edible and what isn’t, i did not want to take a chance.

Besides the trip, i have recently moved into a new apartment. It has been an extremely busy and long process but thankfully it is almost over. All that is left is organizing some minor things and getting my dog to get used to the change. Yesterday was the big move and she just laid all day, you can tell she was nervous and out of her element. I felt terrible since she is only 13 months old and has lived all her life in my previous apartment. Hopefully in the next upcoming days, she starts adapting and getting the feel for it. We all just want our pets to live a good, happy and healthy life am i right? I am excited to start taking her to the dog park which is now in walking distance too! Pictures will be posted soon! Until next time my fellow colleagues, have fun exploring!

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New species of fish discovered

New species of fish discovered

New species of fish discovered 200ft below the ocean. They are reef fish! Always warms my heart to read news on new discoveries. Let’s keep them coming !

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A day at the Zoo!

I work for parks and recreation and we have a summer camp program for kids with disabilities. Every summer we take them on field trips, like the zoo, the aquarium, the movies, bowling, etc. Today was our first field trip to the zoo and we got to feed the giraffes!  Image

It was a scorcher today down here in south Florida, so we cut the trip a little short because it became unbearable for the kids. I always love passing by the African Elephant enclosure and today i got lucky and was able to snap a picture of this elephant cooling himself off.Image

Usually the elephants are either resting or out of sight when i visit the zoo, but this time i got a rare chance to see this amazing and one of the most intelligent animals on earth, cool himself off. When i got home from work, i checked facebook and received some disturbing news. The elephant in this picture is named Machito, and he is 32 years old, and has been in grave condition for the past 48 hours. His health started deteriorating over the last few weeks and veterinarians are working around the clock to see what is causing it. Please keep him in your thoughts. Even though he may not be in your city or even country does not mean he is any less important than any other elephant out there. Let’s hope they can find a diagnosis and let’s hope he will get better. Elephants are highly intelligent animals and highly emotional so i can only imagine what must be going on in his mind. I received the news on machito through this link…http://www.facebook.com/zoomiami

On lighter news, i will hopefully begin my fish behavior field excursions in July and will hopefully start a new internship for a wildlife rehabilitation center, specializing in birds. If all goes as planned, i will start the  new internship in August and will post lots of interesting stories that include pictures! I really want to start posting more pictures on my blog so let’s hope i start participating in more excursions! Hope everyone is having a great and safe summer. Until next time my fellow conservationists!

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Tasmanian Tigers

Happy Wednesday everyone! I wanted to post a blog about thanking everyone who has been tuning in and even following my blogs. I am an amateur at this and i am overwhelmed with the positive feedback i have received. I have my editor (girlfriend) who has been proof reading and making sure i don’t make too many grammatical errors lol. All in all, i am very happy with everyone who has been reading and following my blogs, thank you guys! and i hope i continue receiving plenty of new subscribers and readers!

Now, onto the good stuff. Today’s topic is a bit interesting and certainly might have a lot of people with different views on the subject. I have recently been reading the book “100 Heartbeats” written by Jeff Corwin, in which he talks about endangered species and the work he has done in trying to protect them and prevent them from becoming extinct. I have been enjoying the book very much, his writing is very simplistic and the experiences he has with these animals are amazing. The information and emotion this book has to offer, makes it a great book to read, as well as an amazing learning experience.

I became fascinated with the topic of endangered animals and started looking at animals that were already extinct in this century. I came across the Thylacine or the “Tasmanian Tiger” and came across videos of it and looking into information on how it became extinct. The last Thylacine died in 1936 and it was said that they were exterminated by humans, due to the misconception that the Thylacines were the primary cause of attacks on sheep. Farmers and people who settled into Australia were constantly hunting down these animals because they thought they were killing all their livestock. There were other factors contributing to the extinction of this animal, including competition with wild dogs, and erosion of it’s habitat. Stumbling across videos on youtube on thylacines, i adored it’s appearance. It looked like a wild dog, had stripes like a tiger, and had a pouch for it’s young, like a marsupial. All these fascinating attributes it had, and to find out, it was neither a feline nor canine, but a marsupial! Just realizing that this amazing looking animal was a marsupial put me even more in the mood to finding some sort of documentary on it.

“Cloning the Tasmanian Tiger” was the name of the documentary. It is a 50 minute documentary and i had plenty of spare time so i decided to watch it. The video in my opinion is very informative and a great topic. The title says it all. A director at a museum in Australia wants to clone a Thylacine and the question is not whether he could, its whether he SHOULD. The documentary brings up interesting topics on whether cloning should be allowed or not but it is much more complicated. If only every scientific debate were black or white, the world would be much simpler, but it is not. I honestly have mixed feelings about this subject. Should we really be playing god and simply recreate any extinct animal we want? Will cloning extinct animals make people less concerned over conservation issues because they will think “hey, if the animal becomes extinct, science will just create it again”. I do not know how people will react but i don’t see why people would care about preserving species when they know that science can bring it back from extinction. The whole point of conservation biology is to PREVENT animals from becoming extinct and it’s not only animals, but an entire ecosystem! I personally think if we fall into this type of lifestyle, we as humans will ultimately not care about preserving anything, whether its an ecosystem, habitats, or the animals that live in them. We already are greedy enough to destroy homes of any type of species, no matter how important they are to the ecosystem. As i stated before, things are never black and white and one opinion is never the right one, especially for this delicate topic. What do you think should happen? should we bring back a species, that we ourselves have wiped out? Do you think bringing back a species from the dead is something we must do in order to improve the biodiversity on this planet? I am all ears on different opinions and would love to hear yours. One thing that extinct species should remind us, is that there is a delicate balance on this planet and everyone is playing an important role. The more species we wipe out from the planet, the more problems we will ultimately face from the environment.

In this world, there are a million problems that we are working on to resolve, including ones on our very own country. But as a researcher and naturalist, we all deserve the right to live on this earth. We all depend on each other for survival.

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RIP Lonesome George

Today is a sad day for animal lovers, conservationists, naturalists, and ecologists all over the world. Lonesome George died today at the age of 100. Lonesome George was the last member of a subspecies of giant tortoises that lived on the Galapagos islands. George was an iconic conservation figure and thousands of people from all over the world would come to the Galapagos just to see him. It truly breaks my heart to see even a subspecies go extinct. Whalers in the 19th and 20th century would hunt these tortoises for their meat which greatly reduced their population. The sad part is that most people won’t even care that George was the last member of his species and will continue on with their daily lives as if nothing has happened. Even sadder, is the fact that it’s very unlikely that people will read or hear about this story, yet if Kim Kardashian gets a divorce the entire WORLD knows about it.

It does not matter if he was just a subspecies or just some animal you had ever met or seen in person. George was an iconic figure of conservation, a member of his last species living until today! I am very proud at the conservation work being done around the world though. So many people are fighting to save all endangered species and raising awareness of the importance of it. Even if George wasn’t your family member or friend, it should make people aware of the seriousness of this issue going on today. What gets me frustrated is that many species today are becoming extinct, not because of some naturally occurring event but because of human activity. Our selfishness and greed to use up all of the world’s resources has led to destroying the habitats of numerous species and eventually causing them to become extinct. New laws need to be made and stricter laws need to be enforced so when people or companies commit these environmental crimes, it is not just a slap on the wrist. Orangutans are on the brink of extinction because of people destroying their habitat in order to obtain palm oil from the palm trees they reside in. That is just one example.

More people need to be aware of these environmental issues so future generations can benefit from this planet. A lot of people just don’t care about saving these animals because they don’t see anything wrong going on in the world. The sad fact is, if we continue to lose biodiversity on this planet, we will ultimately suffer from it. I personally don’t think enough people are aware of the severity of the situation, and there should be more YouTube videos about conservation so we can all share with one another. Facebook and YouTube have become such popular media outlets, that if more people would start making awareness videos on conservation and it’s importance, there could be even greater movements and more supporters of these causes. Instead, we have videos of cats playing pianos going viral. I have even been thinking of making a video myself just to put it out there, but I am a terrible film editor and I have a lot more research to do before I can even plan to start making a video.

One last point I want to make is that obviously these tortoises aren’t the first or last species to fall victim to bad intentioned humans. So many other animals have become extinct due to human selfishness. We cannot continue to live this way, how can we humans be so inhumane? We need to stop being so vicious and cruel toward our fellow neighbors. And with that I leave you this quote:

“We share this planet with many species. It is our responsibility to protect them, both for their sakes and our own.”
– Pamela A. Matson, Ecologist, Dean, School of Earth Sciences and Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies, Stanford University, California

(To read the full story on Lonesome George, click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18574279)

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The girl who couldn’t cry wolf

Today during my lunch break, i was reading some news online and stumbled across an article http://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/features/article_1699609.php/Exclusive-Nat-Geo-star-and-expert-Casey-Anderson-on-Swedish-wolf-attack-mauling which a woman in Sweden was mauled and killed by a pack of wolves. She worked at the zoo and was found in pieces when her co-workers found her. The article did not say too much detail about the attack because not a lot of information was gathered but instead interviewed Casey Anderson who is a naturalist and bear handler. Brutus the bear might ring a bell to any of you who watch tv. He’s been on a few shows and talks about conservation, animals, and the environment. They interviewed Casey because he was also mauled by a pack of wolves but luckily survived the attack, so they wanted to know the experience he had and what he was thinking and so on. I like Casey and his view on the natural world and animals, hell, anyone who is interested in animals is already a friend of mine. He and Brutus (his bear) are well known for always being together but i have mixed feelings about this. Many people anthropomorphize animals because of the tendency to be caring and nurture any living thing that is either cute or vulnerable. Animals are wild and their instincts kick in when their life is on the line. The lady in Sweden who was attacked by wolves should not have gone alone. Wolves are in a highly complex social hierarchy and you have members of the pack always looking to dominate the leader to move on up the ladder. When they eat, only the leader gets to eat first and the best meat. The least powerful in the pack eats scraps or the less desirable meat. It’s fascinating and just boggles my mind how wolves can be such intelligent species, no wonder they are apex predators. They have been known to fight down prey twice their size and who can easily kill them in defense. They work like a team and have a strategy for each hunt. Just what i have typed should intrigue even the least enthusiastic animal lover. This is nature at its best, creating an animal so intelligent and powerful that even with it’s medium size, are still apex predators in the wild. And the more ironic thing is that, it’s closest living relative, the dog, is man’s best friend! The point i wanna make in this post is that anyone who is handling animals or encounters wildlife should encounter it extremely cautious and never alone. Any wild animal, no matter the size, can be dangerous and will do what is necessary to protect itself and it’s young. There are animals who are friendly to humans and even than should we still approach with caution. Most animals keep to themselves and we should admire and study from a safe line and if necessary to handle, as stated before, handle with extreme caution. I can’t stress enough the safety of handling wild animals, the name says it all, wild! They are unpredictable and therefore should not be underestimated. One of my greatest experience with approaching wild life was a year ago i was kayaking in the bay, early in the morning, when i was approached by a bottlenose dolphin, two feet from my kayak! When i noticed the dolphin, my heart went racing, my hands clammy and sweating and i immediately turned my kayak to get a better view. I never paddled closer to him/her. I just kept my distance, stopped paddling and see what he/she would do. The dolphin ended up going my direction and went right under my kayak! It was one of the greatest experiences i have ever had. As it went under my kayak, i saw his/her eye and i can tell it was thinking about things and analyzing me from curiosity. After it went under my kayak, it went off in search for food, i am assuming. I will write one day about dolphins and whales and why they are one of my favorite animals because if i get started now i will never finish. But hopefully i didn’t steer you off from the main subject of this blog, which is wildlife safety. Never be afraid to explore and encounter wildlife, they are magnificent beings that have personalities and a mind of their own! but as i stated before always with extreme caution. Here are some cool pictures of the dolphin i encountered and a neat one i found on a wolf. Until then, stay safe exploring, discovering and sharing!ImageImageImageImage

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Sunday funday

Greetings fellow bloggers, i know it’s been a while since i have posted a blog here but instead of posting a blog everyday, i decided to post when i most felt inspired to write. I felt if i were to write everyday, my blogs would just be nonsense and random postings. I want this blog to be meaningful, bring up current ecological and conservation issues or thoughts of a certain subject. I am currently reading the book “100 heartbeats” by Jeff Corwin. He was my favorite biologist to watch on tv when i was younger. He was funny, outgoing and seemed to love what he did. Besides Steve Irwin, he was another favorite of mine to watch on TV. One day i stumbled into a Barnes and Noble and was looking for a good book to read, i noticed “100 heartbeats” and thought “wow, i really wanna read what this book is about”. When i was paying for the book, the cashier remarked “oh wow, this seems like a pretty good book to read, too bad i am not too fond of Jeff Corwin”. I asked her why she thought of that and she told me her husband works at the zoo and heard that in Jeff Corwin’s show, Jeff would manipulate the environment or the animals to get the right shot for the camera. I thought she just heard rumors and i looked into it online and found nothing. I really wanted to know if it was true because i looked up to him just like most biologists or naturalists i see on television. In the end i found nothing and i know not everyone is perfect and if he did do those things it would be not to an extreme where animals would be harmed. Who knows in reality if it was true or not but either way i still payed for the book and started reading it. It’s a very interesting book that talks about certain species that are endangered, the fight and importance of conservation and his own thoughts on these experiences. On another note, i am eager for july to arrive already because that is when my expedition to the reefs start! Very excited on that. On a side note, i started teaching my dog to catch a Frisbee and i got a pretty good picture of her. Hope you guys enjoy it! One more thing i wanted to point out. I realized that people get a lot of traffic on there blogs because they post pictures and post often. Sadly i am not a photographer and i don’t post often but i can assure you guys, when i post something i will try my best to make it meaningful and interesting. As for pictures, i will try my best to post old stuff and new stuff. I will be taking a trip with my lovely girlfriend to a wildlife sanctuary in west palm beach next week so i will be making sure i take lots of pictures and get lots of interesting facts on the animals i see! Until then, have fun exploring, sharing and discovering.Image

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Exotic species in texas?

I recently tuned in to the show 60 minutes and they were giving a special on ranches in Texas that had exotic species from Africa, Asia, and Europe that are either endangered in their native lands or completely extinct! The catch to this story is that the ranches are not wildlife sanctuaries but rather hunting grounds where people can book a day of hunting these wonderful and rare animals for as much as $7,500 dollars. Three of the owners of the ranches were interviewed and they claimed they were conservationists, and that if it wasn’t for the ranches, these species would ultimately disappear from the planet. On top of that, they were saying how by hunting these animals, they are conserving them. I personally have a very strong opinion about this topic. Just because you have endangered animals in your ranch does not give you the right to open hunting season so you can get a profit out of it and at the same time call yourself a conservationist. One of the owners said when it comes down to conservation, the only thing that matters is the numbers of the species. Technically he is right, conservation is about keeping a healthy number of a certain species to balance out the ecosystem and keep it healthy but at the same time these ranchers are abusing the term “conservation”. A true conservationist cares about saving species in a humane way. When a hunter or fisherman catches its prey, it is to be solely consumed and not treated as a trophy. I am myself a fisherman and it is one of my favorite activities but when i fish i try to do it the most humane way because if it wasn’t for these animals we would not have food on our planet. A true conservationist does not only preserve the species but also it’s habitat, while these ranchers who call themselves “conservationists” breed them just to be hunted. I strongly disagree with them because they give conservationists a bad name. It is wrong and very inhumane, the reason they do it is for profit not to preserve these species. I do not condone hunting and fishing as long as it is for consumption and not to be showed as a trophy prize. These wonderful animals deserve to live and not be used as a show case so people can go hunt them and these owners make a ton of money out of it. What is your opinion on this matter? I don’t mind having a friendly argument or hearing other opinions of this subject. This is their website http://www.texasexotichunting.net/index.html Until next time!

PS. here is a preview of the episode http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7396481n

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