Koalas running. Koalas eating. Koalas clinging to legs. Koalas nose to nose. Koalas being ridiculously cute.
In an ongoing series, Koala Hospital, National Geographic travels to Port Macquarie, Australia, a few hours from Sydney, to visit the 40-year-old refuge for wild koalas. Volunteers there are clearly delighted at the chance to frolic with the fluffy marsupials, who cling adorably to tree branches and human legs alike. If you can’t make the trek but you want to contribute, you can adopt a wild koala via the hospital’s website, or help them plant a food tree, to counteract the koalas’ loss of habitat.
via The Atlantic.
When zoo animals want fresh greens (and bright reds and oranges) to eat, there’s no better solution than growing those vegetables at the zoo. But when you don’t have a lot of space or money (or sometimes sun when you’re living in more rainy climates like the UK), how do you grow enough food? Vertical Farms have become the solution. From The Guardian:
The 100 square metre farm at Paignton Zoo grows leaf vegetables for animal feed. It applies a technique called hydroponics, where plants are grown in nutrient rich solutions instead of soil. Stacked in trays eight layers high, the crops are continually rotated to ensure that all have adequate access to air and sunlight. The system also allows nutrients that have not been directly taken up by the plants to be collected and recirculated, along with the water, reducing usage and minimising waste.
Vertical farming has enormous potential for urban/rooftop farming, as well. It uses less space, less water and less energy, can be solar-powered, and doesn’t need to be transported far to reach the people who are purchasing and eating the produce.
From the archives, more hydroponic farming: Swaziland Teens Win “Science in Action” Award and the NY Sunworks Science Barge.
This small creature is called a puggle. It’s a baby echidna, is just 40 days old and lives at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital:
Annabelle a Taronga Vet Nurse and surrogate Mum to ‘Beau’, has not seen a puggle at such a young age in over 15 years of caring for sick and injured wildlife at the Zoo. The rarity of seeing an Echidna at this age is due to the habit of the adult females which stash their young in a burrow from about 50 days old. The puggle remains in the burrow for some months, with the female going out to feed, returning every few days to feed it milk.
Both Echidna and Platypus feed their young in an unusual way. Instead of having teats like other mammals, they have milk patches which excrete milk for their young to lap up. This is why Annabelle has to feed Beau from the palm of her hand, so it can lap milk as it would do in the wild. Once feeding, Beau resembles a mini vacuum cleaner, going back and forth making sure every drop of milk is sucked up – contributing to its ever growing belly.
Sloths are arboreal folivores — tree-dwelling animals that eat mostly “buds, tender shoots, and leaves, mainly of Cecropia trees.” They are well-known for moving slowly, and are native to Central and South America.
But there’s one who lives at the National Aquarium, and it needs a name!
In honor of International Sloth Day on October 20, National Aquarium will launch a naming contest for the Linne’s two-toed sloth born in Baltimore in late August (2012). The newest addition to the Upland Tropical Rain Forest and the first born to Ivy, one of the four sloths in the exhibit, is the third sloth born at National Aquarium, Baltimore.
The public is invited to visit www.aqua.org/slothcontest between now and November 1 to submit name suggestions. A panel of National Aquarium staff will review and consider all entries. Then, from November 2 to 15, the public can vote on one of four names selected by the panel. The winning name will be announced on the morning of November 16.
More information here!