Posts Tagged ‘Rhinoceros’

Giant insects invading arboretum

April 24, 2008

Artist David Rogers builds insects that are roughly accurate in shape and proportion. But when it comes to size, he tosses authenticity out the window.

Rogers is installing a collection of 15 bugs this week at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. And their size—as big as a rhinoceros, or bigger—not to mention their varnished cedar and willow surfaces and steel skeletons, make them hard to ignore.

“Normally, we’re giants to the ants,” said Judy O’Kelly-Pickell, of Lombard, a frequent arboretum visitor, who on Monday afternoon had just walked under one of Rogers’ ants. “But these are giants to us, especially when they come marching one, two, three in a row like this.”

Rogers, of Long Island, N.Y., began assembling and erecting his artwork Monday with the help of his assistant and an arboretum crew. They hope to finish next week, depending on weather. The bugs will stay three months and be the centerpiece of a series of workshops, art exhibits and observations on the role of insects in nature.

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Scientists will use groundbreaking technique to save one of rarest animals on the planet

April 17, 2008
With only 13 of the creatures left struggling to survive on the plains of the Congo, the northern white rhinoceros is one of the most threatened species in the world.

Plagued by poachers and with its habitat fast disappearing, the magnificent beast is now on the critically endangered list.

But new hope could be on the horizon, as Scottish scientists are hoping to use an innovative technique to save the creatures from extinction. It involves a pioneering genetic process that merges its stem cells with those of its cousin, the southern white rhino, to create a new animal, called a chimera.

It would be the first time the process has been used to try to preserve a species facing extinction in the wild – and, if successful, it could be used to save other endangered animals.

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Artistic animals provide zoos an untapped source of revenue

April 8, 2008

You might not be able to afford a Picasso, a Van Gogh or a Monet — but for $30 you can own your very own painting by Brittany the elephant.

She’s a resident at the Milwaukee County Zoo, where trainers encourage her to paint as a way to keep her mentally stimulated. She holds a paintbrush in her truck and slaps it at the canvas.

Zoo trainers across the country have been teaching animals to paint for years. Artists include monkeys, kangaroos, pandas and even a rhinoceros.

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Mixed news for rhino conservation

March 25, 2008

It has been a decade of quite spectacular triumph and devastating failure for the custodians of Africa’s rhinos.

For the first time in several decades the overall number of white and black rhino has gone up rather than down, thanks to a determined rearguard action and a few frontal assaults by conservationists.

The good news is that there are now almost 4 000 black rhinos compared to the 2, 600 which survived 10 years ago.

The white rhino has fared even better, with the overall population almost doubling from a total of 8, 400 10 years ago, to almost 14 500 individuals today.

That translates into an annual growth rate of almost 7 percent for the white rhino and about 4,5 percent for the black rhino.

Yet it’s still not a very rosy picture, considering that well over 62, 000 black rhinos were slaughtered by horn poachers in the four decades that ended in the early 1990s.

And the bad news is that two subspecies of rhino have almost certainly become extinct over the past five years.

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Take your Valentine on a tour of the sex lives of animals…maybe?

February 10, 2008

The San Francisco Zoo’s 19th annual Valentine’s-themed adventure featuring a humorous exploration into the sexual behavior of animals kicked off Saturday.

“Woo at the Zoo”‘ educates guests through a multimedia presentation and up-close encounters with various creatures inside the zoo’s Osher Great Hall, according to zoo officials. The 90-minute program offers a scientific look at animal reproduction, choosing mates and raising families.

“This is one of the most popular programs that the zoo has to offer going into its 19th year,” zoo spokesman Paul Garcia said this afternoon.

Led by former penguin keeper Jane Tollini, the event will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. In addition, there will be Sunday brunch presentations today and on Feb. 17.

Topics will include how rhinoceros’ foreplay lasts for a more than a month while mating occurs only once a year, and how giraffes neck during courtship. Tollini also will discuss how opossums that have two wombs can get pregnant while they’re already pregnant and how banana slugs are hermaphrodites, Garcia said.

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