Animals

Superb Fairy Wrens; Image: Benjamint444
Animals News Science

Baby Superb Fairy-Wren Sings For Its Supper

If a baby Fairy-Wren wants food, he has to give the password first.

He’ll know it off by heart—because he learned it before he was hatched, while he was still inside his egg.

The Superb Fairy-Wren (its scientific name is Malurus cyaneus) is an Australia bird.

It teaches its babies a single note, even before the baby is hatched.

The mother wren sings the note over and over to her unhatched eggs.

The mother teaches the note to the father wren so he can sing it to the eggs, too.

A North Atlantic Right Whale and its calf
Animals Environment News

Endangered Right Whale Population is Growing

North Atlantic Right Whales are one of the most endangered whale species in the world.

But now their numbers are growing again, thanks to a plan to keep large ships away from the whales’ nursery and feeding grounds.

For many years the whales were hunted for their oil. Hunting was banned in 1937, but by the 1990s there were only a few hundred North Atlantic Right Whales left.

The whales live in the Atlantic Ocean, off the eastern coast of Canada and the United States. They spend the winters in warm southern waters, where most calves are born, then migrate north in the spring.

Many Right Whales spend each summer and fall in the Bay of Fundy, a large inlet of the Atlantic Ocean between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The water there has large amounts of plankton – tiny organisms that are an important part of the whales’ diet.

I'll Have Another and Lava Man at the 2012 Preakness Stakes
Animals News Sports

Canadian-Owned “I’ll Have Another” Retires

Canadian-owned I’ll Have Another was a favourite to win the Belmont Stakes horse race this year.

The race was held last Saturday.

If he’d won, he would also have won all three of the major horse races and become the U.S. Triple Crown winner, every horse-owner’s dream.

However, it wasn’t to be.

Just before the big race, his trainer announced that the horse had tendonitis in his left front leg and would not be able to race. The owner decided to retire the colt from racing.

The good news is that I’ll Have Another will recover from his injury and will be fine. It’s likely that the horse will become a stud, which means that he will father other colts which may go on to become excellent race horses themselves. In that way, I’ll Have Another’s legacy will live on.

Red Admiral Butterfly
Animals News Science

Millions Of Butterflies In Ontario And Eastern Canada

If you were sitting outside on April 16 in Eastern North America, you may have seen a wondrous site. That day, millions of Red Admiral butterflies flew in – or perhaps “blew in” – from the southern United States.

Drew Monkman is a local natualist (“nature watcher”) and writer, living in Peterborough, Ont. He tracks the habits of animals including butterflies.

He told TKN that the April 16 migration was “completely unprecedented. (The Red Admiral has) never been seen in these kinds of numbers.”

He said on that day there were probably several million butterflies, most of them Red Admiral, but there were other species as well.

Drew Monkman is a naturalist and butterfly expert living in Peterborough, Ont.
Why did this happen? This year in the southern United States like Texas, where the butterflies began their journey, the winter was “amazingly mild,” said Monkman. This allowed more butterflies to survive the winter and reproduce.

World's smallest chameleon with a finger
Animals Environment News

World’s Smallest Chameleon Discovered

Scientists have discovered a chameleon so small it could sit on your little finger.

The chameleon, which is about three centimetres long, lives on a small island called Nosy Hara, off the coast of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean.

It is the smallest chameleon and possibly the smallest reptile ever discovered. It lives among rocks and leaves on the forest floor. At night it sleeps on plants, about five to 10 centimetres above the ground.

It is mostly grey and brown with an orange tail, and it doesn’t change colour like most chameleons do. The scientists say this is because it’s already the right colour to blend in with its surroundings.

Giant Panda
Animals News Politics

Canada To Get Two Panda Bears

Canada is expecting two very special visitors from China.

Er Shun and Ji Li are two giant panda bears, which China will be lending to Canada. The pair will live in Toronto for five years, and then in Calgary for five years.

The giant panda is unique to China. They are more than just a native species, however. To the Chinese, panda bears are very symbolic.

If China lets one of its panda bears live in a country, it’s a sign that China feels warmly towards that country.

In this case, the offer came during a recent four-day visit to China by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Zebra
Animals News Science

Zebra Dung May Be New Fuel Source

Thanks to zebra dung, cars could one day run on fuel made from old newspapers.

Today, we use mostly oil and gas to run our cars; oil and gas come from fossilized plants and animals. But fossil fuels are expensive, and there aren’t enough of them. Scientists are looking for cheaper and more plentiful fuels.

David Mullin is a biology professor at a university in New Orleans. He and his students are trying to make a fuel from plants. Plant-based fuels are called “biofuels.”

He knew that if he could break down “cellulose,” he could turn it into a fuel that could run vehicles.

Rhinos; Image: Princess. Tilly
Animals News

Rhinos Being Poached For Horns

Rhinos are being poached in South Africa.

“Poaching” is when people (“poachers”) illegally kill a wild animal.

This year so far 341 rhinos have been poached in South Africa.

That’s the most, ever, for one year.

Rhino horns are believed by some people, particularly in Asia, to be able to cure ailments like nosebleeds and fevers.

No one knows if this is actually true.

Shark Lagoon at the proposed Toronto Aquarium
Animals Entertainment Environment

New Toronto Aquarium — 13,500 Creatures, Shark Tunnel

The people who are building a huge new aquarium in downtown Toronto have released some exciting new details about it.

Ripley’s Entertainment Corporation – which publishes Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – plans to open the aquarium in 2013.

It will be one of the largest aquariums in North America.

It will be located near the base of the CN Tower.

More than 13,500 underwater creatures from around the world will be on display at the aquarium.

There will be exhibits on jellyfish, seahorses, stingrays, the Great Lakes, tropical reefs and more.

The aquarium is designed to be fully interactive.

Vancouver Island map; image: Birds of a Feather B&B
Animals News

Cougars Spotted On Vancouver Island, BC

Cougars are becoming a problem on Vancouver Island, BC.

Last September, four cougars were spotted prowling through Victoria (the capital of BC), on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island has a growing population of deer who look for food in city gardens and the cougars are following them into the city.

Cougars rarely attack humans, but in the cases where it has happened it is usually because the cougar is hurt or startled.

Dieter Gerhard is a long-time resident of Victoria. “We have a very fat cougar living on the property next door to us,” he said. The cougar is attracted to the deer who come to graze nearby.