Jan 13

A-Z of Endangered Species – Lemur

L-Lemur-BTBGSML is for Lemur – There are around a 100 different types of Lemur and this week I have decided to pick just one, it is a Lemur that I think everyone would recognize, the Ring Tailed Lemur. All wild Lemurs live on the island of Madagascar, the name Lemur means Ghost or Spirits and this was first used for the Loris (a nocturnal lemur) but is now used for all the Madagascan primates. The range in size and shape, the smallest being the cutely names mouse lemur (at just 30 grams).

The Ring Tailed lemur lives in large groups of up to around 30, the groups huddle together to keep warm and are very social. The ring tailed lemur is also one of the few species living in a matriarchal society, this means that it is the females who have control over the group.

Lemurs of all kinds are at threat from deforestation in Madagascar, large areas of their habitat has been lost to farming. Lemurs are also at threat from humans who hunt them for bushmeat, they are also one of the main food sources for hawks and a previous entry into my endangered species list, the Fossa. Ring Tailed Lemurs seem to adapt to zoo life fairly well and there are now over 2000 of the animals in zoos around the world, this has helped with breeding the animals but it also means that lemurs are sometimes taken from the wild for private zoos and to become pets.

I am approaching my halfway mark now, Letter M is next week and then it will be downhill all the way for me, I will however need to start thinking about some of the more difficult letters such as Z, Q and X. You can donate to the WWF-UK by visiting this link – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies

Jan 06

A-Z of Endangered Species – Kakapo

KakapoThis week I am featuring a bird for the second week running, this however is a very different bird to last weeks Japanese Crane. For the first time in my project I am heading down to New Zealand and a bird called the Kakapo. The Kakapo has some rather unusual qualities, it is a parrot but being one of the worlds largest and heaviest parrots it is unable to fly so it is a ground dwelling creature, The Kakapo is also a nocturnal bird so can usually only be seen at night.

Living only in the forests of New Zealand the Kakapo once thrived on the islands due to the fact that there are very few natural predators, this is also thought to be a reason why the bird lost its ability to fly, with no reason to escape from predators it stays on the ground all the time. Kakapo live surprisingly long lives, usually 50-60 years but some have lived to over 100 years.

The defenceless Kakapo has been suffering for many years, firstly from the local tribesmen who collected their feathers for their elaborate costumes, and then more recently from other predators such as cats and rat which were introduced by Europeans. As of January 2017 there are just 154 Kakapo left on the planet, that does seem like a very low number but recent years have seen a small population boom for the Kakapo so things might be looking up for them. One thing that amazes me is that every single one of the 154 Kakapo has a name, I quite like the sound of Robbie, a 15 year old male, he is the son of a female called Heather and a male called Sass, you can check out all their names here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kakapo

My main focus of this project is to bring awareness to the many species under threat and one way you can help is to share this post and any of the others from my A-Z series. To find out more about the work to help the Kakapo visit the Kakapo Recovery page here – http://kakaporecovery.org.nz/

If you would like to make a donation towards the WWF-UK then I have set up a Just giving donations page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies . 100% of the monies raised on the Just Giving page will go directly to the WWF-UK.

Dec 31

A-Z of Endangered Species – Japanese Crane

j-japcrane-mdbsmThis week I am heading to the far east and the Japanese Crane, also known as the Red Crowned crane this bird is one of the largest of the crane family, These amazing birds are an icon of Japan and legend says that these birds will live to 1000 years old, they are a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity.

The Japanese Crane can be found in Japan, China, North and South Korea and more recently in Siberia. They are well known for a dance which is performed during the mating season, they are sometimes described as ‘Snow Ballerinas’ with their graceful moves.

The Japanese Crane was hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s but thankfully a small group of birds managed to survive, the birds were then hit with lots of other problems, mainly the loss of their habitat and it was thought that there were fewer than 20 of the birds left in the wild. In the 1950s however locals suddenly awoke to the problem and started to feed the birds, helping them to survive the harsh cold winters. By 1959 the population has increased to around 150 and it has been rising ever since, breeding programmes and new colonies have been set up and now the future is looking bright for this beautiful bird.

My main focus of this project is to bring awareness to the many species under threat and one way you can help is to share this post and any of the others from my A-Z series.

If you would like to make a donation towards the WWF-UK then I have set up a Just giving donations page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies . 100% of the monies raised on the Just Giving page will go directly to the WWF-UK

Dec 23

A-Z of Endangered Species – Indochinese Tiger

i-indotiger-btbgsmHello everyone, it is now week 9 of my endangered species made from balloons, for the past few weeks you may have noticed the WWF have been concentrating their efforts on Tigers. I thought it would be good to tie my project into to the WWF campaign by featuring a tiger this week so for the letter I this week I have made an Indochinese Tiger.

Despite its name the Indochinese tiger is no longer found in China, there are only 350 of the animals left and they can be found in secluded mountainous forest regions of Cambodia, Laos, Burma Thailand and Vietnam. The habitat of the tigers can be found along many of the borders of the countries which makes tracking and counting the tigers very difficult.

The Indochinese tiger is an expert hunter and will stalk and eat wild boar, deer, cattle and goats. Due to their size they have no natural predators however they are at huge risk from poaching,  there is an increasing demand for tiger parts to be used in traditional medicine and the set up of tiger farms has just made the problem worse.

The WWF carries out research of the tiger populations to help improve their habitat, they are also working with local communities to help people co-exist with the tigers.

To find out more about the Indochinese tiger and the work the WWF are doing follow this link – http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/indochinese-tiger

You can donate to the WWF-UK by visiting this link – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies

Dec 16

The A-Z of Endangered Species – Hercules Beetle

h-hbeetle-mdbumA-Z of Endangered Species – Hercules Beetle

I have reached week 8 of my endangered species made from balloons and for the letter H I have decided to feature my first insect of the series, This fascinating creature is called the Hercules beetle and is one of the largest beetles in the world. living in the jungles of south America it spends its time foraging through the leaf litter looking for food.

The Hercules beetle is named for it’s sheer size with some being measured up to 18cm in length but it is rare for them to get this big. This amazing beetle can carry up to 850 times its own body weight which makes it one of the strongest creatures on earth for its size. To give you an idea of its strength it is the equivalent of me lifting up a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

There are 13 different types of Hercules beetle and the male beetles all have the distinctive horn pincers, some have horns which are longer than the actual body of the beetle. As is the case with many animals in the jungles of South America these incredible creatures are under threat due to the deforestation of their natural habitat. They are also affected by water and air pollution.

You can find out more about the Hercules Beetle here – http://a-z-animals.com/animals/hercules-beetle/

You can donate to the WWF-UK by visiting this link – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies

http://www.bowtieballoonguy.co.uk/

Next week it is the letter I and I will be featuring a very popular animal.

Dec 10

A-Z of Endangered Species – Galápagos penguin

g-gpenguin-mdbsmThis week is week number 7 and I am featuring my first bird of the series, It is a penguin, everyone loves penguins and this Galápagos penguin is the only species of penguin living north of the equator. As the name suggests these penguins live on the Galápagos Islands in the Eastern Pacific ocean around 600 miles to the west of Ecuador.

This Penguin survives in the warmer Galápagos Islands due to the Cromwell current bringing cold waters up from the southern cooler regions. They spend their days in the sea eating fish and crustaceans then return to land at night.

The Galápagos penguin is quite small in size and so it is at risk from many predators. On land, the penguins are preyed upon by crabs, snakes, domestic cats, hawks, owls and even rats while in the water they are preyed upon by sharks, seals and sea lions. They also face many dangers such as Illegal fishermen interrupting the penguins’ nests and being in fishing nets by mistake. On top of all of those risks they are also in danger from regular volcanic activity.

You can find out more about the Galápagos penguin here – http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/galapagos-penguin

You can donate to the WWF-UK by visiting this link – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies

Next week for the letter H I am going to feature my first insect of the series.
http://www.bowtieballoonguy.co.uk/blog/

Dec 03

A-Z of Endangered Species – Fossa

f-fossa-mdbsmThis week for the letter F I have made an animal called a Fossa, this mammal is the largest carnivorous animal on the island of Madagascar and they look like a cross between a dog and a cat. The fossa will eat everything they can catch including frogs, lizards, insects, fish, lemurs and other small mammals.

The Fossa is a solitary creature and they live in the dense forests all across Madagascar, usually high up in the hills and mountain forests.  As with a lot of animals on Madagascar these creatures are suffering from the deforestation taking place on the island, there are protected habitats in place to give them a safe home however these are not massive and there is a lot of unprotected land. Another problem comes from local farmers, they regard the fossa as a serious threat to their poultry.

The Fossa can be seen in zoos and wildlife parks all around the world, successful breeding programmes are helping to ensure this wonderful animal does not disappear. if you would like to find out more about the fossa then follow this link – http://a-z-animals.com/animals/fossa/

My main focus of this project is to bring awareness to the many species under threat and one way you can help is to share this post and any of the others from my A-Z series.

If you would like to make a donation towards the WWF-UK then I have set up a Just giving donations page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies . 100% of the monies raised on the Just Giving page will go directly to the WWF-UK

Next week for the letter G I am going to feature my first bird of the series.
http://www.bowtieballoonguy.co.uk/blog/

 

Nov 26

A-Z of Endangered Species – Eastern Lowland Gorilla

e-elgorilla-mdbsmThe Eastern Lowland Gorilla is the largest of the four subspecies of gorilla, It has large stocky body, large hands and is covered in jet black hair. In this picture we can see a young male gorilla foraging for food, like all gorillas living mainly on a diet of fruit and other herbaceous materials.

Found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the Eastern Lowland Gorilla has been a victim of many years of civil unrest, The gorilla makes its home in the tropical rainforests of the DRC but their habitat has been dramatically reduced in size in recent years. Poaching is also a major problem along with major diseases such as Ebola.

The WWF is working hard to monitor the Gorilla population. Protected areas are being expanded and the WWF are working with the local people, park authorities and the Congolese government to help conserve this amazing primate.

The WWF has some amazing information about the Eastern Lowland Gorilla here – http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/eastern-lowland-gorilla , My main focus of this project is to bring awareness to the many species under threat and one way you can help is to share this post and any of the others from my A-Z series.

If you would like to make a donation towards the WWF-UK then I have set up a Just giving donations page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies . 100% of the monies raised on the Just Giving page will go directly to the WWF-UK

Next week for the letter F I am going to feature an animal that most people will never have heard of.
http://www.bowtieballoonguy.co.uk/blog/

Nov 18

A-Z of Endangered Species – Desert Tortoise

d-deserttortoise-mdbsm

It is week 4 and that means the letter D for my A-Z of Endangered Species and this week I am featuring my first reptile of the series, it is a Desert Tortoise.

This tortoise lives in the southwestern states of the United States and in northern areas of Mexico, it prefers the softer desert grounds so that it can use its strong claws to dig its underground burrows.

Desert Tortoises are threatened by various things, poaching and disease are common but other problems include the introduction of litter and landfill sites which attracts ravens, these birds can eat the smaller baby tortoises. Ravens would not normally do too well in the harsh desert environment however with the introduction of litter and water they are now thriving in the desert areas.

Another serious problem is the driving of off road vehicles in the tortoise habitat, the off road vehicles spread invasive weeds making it difficult for the tortoises to travel around, also tortoises often seek shade from the heat during the hottest part of the day and a parked vehicle looks perfect but as you can imagine can be deadly for the poor tortoise.

My main focus of this project is to bring awareness to the many species under threat and one way you can help is to share this post and any of the others from my A-Z series.

If you would like to make a donation towards the WWF-UK then I have set up a Just giving donations page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies

100% of the monies raised on the Just Giving page will go directly to the WWF-UK

Next week for the letter E I am heading to the jungles of Africa.

Nov 11

A-Z of Endangered Species – Coral

c-coral-mdbsmThis week I am at the letter C and I decided early on in my A-Z of endangered species that C was going to be one of the most beautiful things on the planet, Coral.

Coral reefs can be found all around the world, the most famous being the great barrier reef off the eastern coast of Australia, this stretches for nearly 1500 miles and is made up of 100os of smaller reefs . Coral is actually a calcium skeleton formed by millions of tiny marine invertebrate of which there are over 4500 different types.

In my sculpture I feature 2 different types of coral, in the background you can see some Sea Fan coral, These are anchored into the seabed and reach up into the strong ocean currents helping the coral to catch plankton for its food.

In the foreground I have made some Great star Coral, these can form massive domes up to 1.5 metres across.

Corals all around the world are really in trouble from many different threats from rising sea levels to pollution and much more, 22 coral species have been added to the official endangered species list in the past few years and I imagine more will be added in the near future. There are plenty of ways to help save these amazing corals, check out the list here – http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/habitats/coralreefs/ways-to-help-coral-reefs/

My main focus of this project is to bring awareness to the many species under threat and one way you can help is to share this post and any of the others from my A-Z series.

If you would like to make a donation towards the WWF-UK then I have set up a Just giving donations page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EndangeredSpecies

100% of the monies raised on the Just Giving page will go directly to the WWF-UK

Next week for the letter D I am featuring my first reptile of the series.

 

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