Animals

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.

Albino hummingbird; Image: Judith Anne Smith
Animals Lighter

Rare Albino Hummingbird Seen In Colorado

A rare albino hummingbird may have been spotted in Colorado.

Albino hummingbirds have a genetic condition that prevents their body from producing a natural chemical called “melanin.” Melanin is a chemical that gives most birds their beautiful colours.

Because Albino hummingbirds aren’t coloured, their feathers are white. They have pink bill and whitish or pink legs and feet. They may either have red or pink eyes.

The pink or red colour is caused by the red of their blood vessels.

Bornean Rainbow Toad; image: Indraneil Das/AP
Animals Environment Science

“Extinct” Rainbow Toad Found In Borneo

A colourful, spindly-legged toad was recently spotted by scientists in Borneo.

The last time anyone had seen it was 1924, when it was reported by European explorers.

The bright green, purple and red toad is known as the Sambas Stream Toad, or the Borneo Rainbow Toad.

Many people had assumed it was extinct.

In July, three of the toads were found on three separate trees in Borneo, Indonesia which is an island off the coast of Southeast Asia. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world.

A professor at the Sarawak Malaysia University led the expedition to look for the toads.

Elephant Toronto Zoo; Image by Scott Greenwood
Animals

Toronto Elephants Packing Their Trunks

Toka, Thika and Iringa are the last three elephants living at the Toronto Zoo. They will soon be moving to a new home, but they don’t know where yet.

They are waiting for the zoo to decide the best place for them.

For many years, the elephants have been one of the most popular attractions at the Toronto Zoo.

However, since 1984 seven elephants have died at the zoo and now the last three are getting old. The zoo has decided to send them somewhere else to live out their remaining years.