Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

Worm-like Marine Animal Providing Fresh Clues About Human Evolution

June 18, 2008

Research on the genome of a marine creature led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is shedding new light on a key area of the tree of life.

Linda Holland, a research biologist at Scripps Oceanography, and her colleagues from the United States, Europe and Asia, have deciphered and analyzed fundamental elements of the genetic makeup of a small, worm-like marine animal called amphioxus, also known as a lancelet.

Amphioxus is not widely known to the general public, but is gaining interest in scientific circles because of its position as one of the closest living invertebrate relatives of vertebrates. Although amphioxus split from vertebrates more than 520 million years ago, its genome holds tantalizing clues about evolution.

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World’s Rarest Rhinos Make First Video Trap Appearance — Then Toss Camera

May 30, 2008

After just a month in operation, specially designed video cameras installed to capture wildlife footage in the jungles of South East Asia have twice recorded remarkable images of a mother and child pair of the world’s rarest rhino.

But the success was not without incident as after a short inspection, the rhino mother charged the camera installation in Ujung Kulon National Park and sent it flying.

“With fewer than 60 Javan rhinos left in the wild, we believe this footage was well worth the risk to our equipment,” said Adhi Rachmat Hariyadi, who leads WWF-Indonesia’s project in Ujung Kulon National Park. “It’s very unusual to catch a glimpse of the Javan rhinos deep inside the rain forest. The motion triggered infrared video traps are a useful way to observe them and the ways they use their habitat in a more detailed way.”

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Female Concave-eared Frogs Draw Mates With Ultrasonic Calls

May 19, 2008

Most female frogs don’t call; most lack or have only rudimentary vocal cords. A typical female selects a mate from a chorus of males and then –silently — signals her beau. But the female concave-eared torrent frog, Odorrana tormota, has a more direct method of declaring her interest: She emits a high-pitched chirp that to the human ear sounds like that of a bird.

his is one of several unusual frog-related findings reported recently in the journal Nature.

O. tormota lives in a noisy environment on the brushy edge of streams in the Huangshan Hot Springs, in central China, where waterfalls and rushing water provide a steady din. The frog has a recessed eardrum, said Albert Feng, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Illinois and team leader on the new study.

“In the world we know of only two species — the other one in southeast Asia — that have the concave ear,” Feng said. “The others all have eardrums on the body surface.”

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Asia’s love of ‘living art’ koi fish growing

May 10, 2008

Koi, an ornamental fish which enthusiasts liken to a moving work of art, are gaining popularity across Asia thanks to changing lifestyles and increasingly sophisticated tastes, experts say.

Asian fish connoisseurs treasure koi — domesticated varieties of the common carp — as Europeans would a painting by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, they say.

“I look at a Picasso and I say it’s a child’s painting… but people will pay hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for it. For Asians, koi is like living art… it’s like poetry in motion,” said Richard Tan, chairman of the committee that organised the First Asia Cup Koi Show in Singapore this month.

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Baby Animal Photos!

May 4, 2008

Two of three baby sand kittens are seen in their display area at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The kittens were born two months earlier. Sand cats, the smallest of all wild cats, are rare and considered a threatened species in the wild. They are found in three areas of the world; the Sahara Desert, the Arabian Peninsula and central Asia. The sand cats at Lincoln Park are native to the Arabian Peninsula and have been at the zoo since October 2004. Sand cats live in desert habitats that have an extremely wide range of temperatures.

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Manila zoo orders therapy for stressed-out animals

April 17, 2008

Sisi slowly browses through the yellow pages, looking not for a phone number but for peanuts and sunflower seeds hidden in the directory.

Mali plays with a block of ice containing apples and oranges, crushing it with her feet to get at the fruit.

Sisi, a 23-year-old orangutan, and Mali, a 33-year-old elephant, are two of a number of mammals and birds undergoing behavioral therapy at Manila Zoo as part of a program to combat the stress and boredom of living in captivity.

The program is Manila’s answer to criticism that conditions at its 49-year-old zoo, among the oldest in Asia, are dismal — so dismal that other zoos refuse to send their animals there.

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Thai pair caught selling endangered animals

March 23, 2008

 

Thai wildlife police have arrested two vendors and seized more than 200 rare animals including endangered tortoises during a raid at Bangkok’s popular weekend market.

Police say the sting operation turned up more than $70,000 worth of rare birds and animals.

One woman and one man have been arrested and charged with smuggling endangered species.

The World Conservation Union says illegal trade at the market is just one part of a larger international operation.

It says Thailand has become a transportation centre for the illicit animal trade in south-east Asia.

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