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  • Snow leopards or Uncia uncia,inhabit the mountain ranges of Central Asia stretching from northwestern China to Tibet and the Himalayas.Snow leopards live in mountain steppes and coniferous forest scrub at altitudes ranging from 2000 to 6000 meters. In the summer they frequent alpine meadows and rocky areas, and in the winter they may follow prey into forests below 1800 meters. Mating occurs between December and March, and most births occur after 100 days of gestation. The young are born in a rocky shelter lined with the mother's fur for warmth. The litter can include from one to five young, with the average two or three. The infants are blind for about nine days.

  • Their prey includes wild sheep, wild boar, hares, mice, deer, marmots, and other small mammals. They also feed on domestic livestock. Prey is either attacked or ambushed. Snow leopards attack usually from a distance up to fifteen meters and feed initially on the chest, lower abdomen, or thigh. Snow leopards are important members of healthy, Himalayan ecosystems. Their presence indicates healthy wild ecosystems that are valuable for ecotourism and many other ecosystem services.

  • The main threat to snow leopards is hunting for their fur. Snow leopard pelts are considered a trophy, and poaching for the luxurious pelts continues to be a threat to the existence of this species. Black market pelts are found in central Asian bazaars and a full length coat, consisting of six to ten full body skins, can cost around $60,000. In 1981, the International Snow Leopard Trust was created in Seattle as a non-profit corporation working on conservation of the snow leopard and its mountain habitat. There are approximately 500 leopards in 150 zoos world-wide. Many zoos are involved in a snow leopard species survival project, a coordinated breeding program among zoos. The goal of this project is to maintain a genetically sound population in hope that these animals may someday be released into the wild. Other methods of conservation include habitat protection, captive breeding, stiff penalties for those harming them, and public education.

  • Physical Appearance: The maned wolf appears as a cross among different species: the head and coloring of a wolf, the large ears of an African hunting dog and the body of a hyena. Some think the wolf looks like a mix between a wolf and a fox. What do you think? Maned wolves are about 3 feet tall shoulder height and weigh 50 pounds. Its body is covered with golden-red fur, and has black legs and a black mane. Chrysocyon brachyurus is its scientific name. The largest of all South American canids, it stands almost one meter tall at the shoulder and has a long, golden-red coat. Head and body length ranges from 1245 to 1320mm and tail length from 280 to 405mm. The long thin legs, which may serve to help the maned wolf to see above tall grass, grade from red to black at their lower portions. The anterior part of the erectile mane of long hairs is black as well. The body is narrow and the ears large and erect. The dentition of the maned wolf reflects its food habits. As this animal does not kill or eat large prey, its upper carnassials (shearing teeth) are reduced, its upper incisors weak, and its canines are long and slender. Some other characteristics are that its bilateral and endothermic.

  • Little is known about the reproductive patterns of wild maned wolves. Females are monoestrous. Breeding season is probably controlled by photoperiod; captives copulate between October and February in the Northern Hemisphere and between August and October in South America. The estrous lasts for a period of one to four days. Gestation in captivity is similar to that of other canids and lasts approximately 65 days. A litter usually contains one to five young. A record number of seven has been observed. Young are born weighing 340 to 430 grams and develop quickly. Their eyes and ears open by day nine, their ears stand upright and they will take regurgitated food by week four, the pelage changes from black to red by week ten, they are weaned by 15 weeks, and their bodies have the proportions of adults at one year, at which time they reach sexual maturity. Captive individuals have lived 15 years. Non-captive maned wolves give birth in natal nests hidden by thick vegetation. Wild maned wolves are rarely seen with their pups. Males and females tend to live independently except during the breeding season.Mating systems: monogamous

  • Range: The maned wolf lives in South America - northern Argentina, Paraguay, eastern Bolivia, and southeastern Peru. The maned wolf is distributed from the mouth of the Parnaiba River in northeastern Brazil west to the Pampas del Heath in Peru and South through the Chaco of Paraguay to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Its former range included parts of Uruguay and Argentina.

    HabitatChrysocyon brachyurus is found in grassland, savanna, dry shrub forest, swampy areas, forest-edge habitat, and river areas.

    Behavior: Maned wolves are noctural (most active in the night) preferring to rest under forest cover during the day and hunt until sunrise. Contrary to popular opinion, these animals are very shy and only attack humans when they feel threatened or afraid. Boundaries between territories are strictly observed; neighboring pairs remain on their respective sides. Urine and feces, deposited regularly in particular spots, may serve to mark territories. Nomadic males skirt the edges of boundaries and replace males removed by death or capture.

  • Threats to Survival: Habitat destruction through agricultural development threatens maned wolves. The effects of agriculture --overgrazing by cattle, annual burning of pasture and soil erosion -- leave less food and territory for maned wolves. The consequence of these threats is reproductive isolation. Maned wolves cannot meet and mate with other maned wolves when they are isolated from each other. Sometimes maned wolves are killed by ranchers when they try to eat domestic chickens, a convenient food. It is estimated that there are between 4500 - 2200 maned wolves . Habitat destruction (including the annual burning of its grasslands), persecution by angry poultry farmers, hunting for sport, and live capture are factors that threaten the maned wolf. This animal disapeared from Uruguay in the 19th Century.

  • Diet: The omnivorous (eating both plants and animals) maned wolf prefers to eat lobeira (tomato-like fruit) and small mammals like rodents and chickens. The fondeness for domestic chickens gets maned wolves into trouble with ranchers. It eats armadillos, rabbits, rodents and other small mammals, fish, birds, bird eggs, reptiles, gastropods and other terrestrial mollusks, insects, seasonably available fruits, and other vegetation. Fruits taken include bananas, guavas, and primarily the tomato-like Solanum lycocarpum.

    Economic Importance for Humans: NegativeAs mentioned above, the maned wolf takes domestic poultry and the occasional lamb or newborn pig.Economic Importance for Humans: PositiveThe maned wolf eats crop pests such as rabbits and small rodents.

  • Where do polar bears live? Polar bears range throughout the circumpolar north in areas where they can hunt seals at open leads. The five "polar bear nations" in which the bears are found include the U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and Norway. Polar bears do not live in the southern hemisphere.Are polar bears endangered? Scientists predict that, if current warming trends continue in the Arctic, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by 2050. A group of scientists classify the polar bear as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's "Red List of Threatened Species," noting that the species could become extinct due to sea ice changes. Individual countries with polar bears have reclassified the species as well. Citing to concerns about shrinking sea ice habitat, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced on May 14, 2008, that it is listing the polar bear as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act. Canada and Russia both list the polar bear as "a species of concern." The major threat to the polar bear is shrinking sea ice habitat due to climate change. Other threats include pollution, poaching, and industrial disturbances. Hunting could become a threat if populations are not well managed.

  • How many polar bears are there? Scientists estimate that there are between 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears.What is the polar bear's scientific name? Ursus maritimus or the "sea bear." Its closest relative is the brown bearWhat adaptations have polar bears made to their environment? Polar bears are perfectly adapted to survive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. Two layers of fur provide the bears with such good insulation that they experience almost no heat loss. In addition, they are protected with a thick layer of blubber. Compact ears and a small tail also prevent heat loss. Polar bears are so well protected from the cold that they have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold. Even in very cold weather, they quickly overheat when they try to run.

  • Other adaptations include small bumps called papillae that keep their feet from slipping on ice; strong, powerful claws that enable them to catch seals; and a nose powerful enough to detect prey that is miles away.What do polar bears eat? Seals are the polar bear's primary prey, particularly the ringed seal and, sometimes, the bearded seal. When hunting is good, polar bears will typically eat only the fat and leave the rest of the carcass for scavengers including arctic foxes, ravens, and younger bears. Polar bears also sometimes kill and eat both walrus and beluga whales. They have been known to hunt short-legged reindeer and sometimes snack on other foods including birds, bird eggs, kelp, and beached whales. On Norway's Svalbard Islands, polar bears were once found feasting on a 350-year-old bowhead whale carcass that was uncovered by a retreating glacier.

  • What is the polar bear's place in the food chain? Polar bears top the food chain in the Arctic. They help keep the balance of nature by preventing an overpopulation of seals.What is a polar bear's life span? In the wild, polar bears live an average of 15 to 18 years, although biologists have tagged a few bears in their early 30s. In captivity, they may live until their mid- to late 30s.Does the polar bear have any enemies? Only humans and, on rare occasions, other polar bears. Climate change is the biggest threat that the bears face.What is the polar bear's scientific classification? Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Ursidae Genus: Ursus Species: Ursus maritimus

  • The Javan rhinoceros ("rhino") weighs 1500 - 2000 kg (3200 - 4400 lb) and has a length of 3 - 3.5 m (10 - 11'). It has one horn and prominent folds in the skin, similar to the Indian rhino. The horn grows onto a roughened area of the skull (rather than being "rooted" in the skull). The Javan rhino is hairless except for its ears and tail tip. Its thick gray skin is divided by deep folds to make a "saddle" over the neck. The single horn rarely exceeds 25 cm (10") long and is lacking in some females.The Javan rhino prefers tall grass and reed beds in lowland rain forests with a good supply of water and plentiful mud wallows. Formerly, it generally preferred low-lying areas. Although it now occupies hilly areas up to 2000 m (6550'), this likely is a result of being driven into suboptimal upland habitats due to the pressure of human settlement in lowland areas. In Vietnam it occurs on very steep hills covered with thick bamboo and rattan stands. The Javan rhino is primarily a browser. Its diet consists of shoots, twigs, young foliage and fallen fruit. It is diurnal and nocturnal. It remains near water and enjoys bathing and wallowing in mud. Javan rhinos are mostly solitary except for mating pairs and mothers with young. The male is probably territorial, marking his territory with dung piles and urine pools. He encounters potential mates at suitable muddy wallows.

  • Formerly, the Javan rhino was widespread and often abundant from Bangladesh east through Myanmar and southwest China to Vietnam and south through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia to Sumatra and Java (Indonesia). It has dwindled to only two known populations, in the Udjung Kulon National Park in Java (Indonesia) and the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. It may also still exist in other locations.There are two major reasons for the Javan rhino's decline. The first one is poaching of the rhino for its horn. Rhino horn is valued highly for use in Oriental medicine (as a drug to reduce fever), and in Yemen horns are carved to make traditional dagger handles. The second reason is habitat loss due to clearing of lowland forest. The most critical threat to the Javan rhinos in Vietnam is the continued conversion of forestland into agricultural land

  • There are two major reasons for the Javan rhino's decline. The first one is poaching of the rhino for its horn. Rhino horn is valued highly for use in Oriental medicine (as a drug to reduce fever (It is a myth that rhino horn is widely used as an aphrodisiac and in Yemen horns are carved to make traditional dagger handles. The second reason is habitat loss due to clearing of lowland forest. The most critical threat to the Javan rhinos in Vietnam is the continued conversion of forestland into agricultural land. Disease and shifts in the composition of vegetation in the Udjung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia have also given rise to concern.

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    Andy = javan rhinocerosKyosha = maned wolfAshley = snow leopardChanda = polar bears