Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Well this little guy hardly needs much of an introduction being a very popular feature in many zoo’s across the world. Unfortunately the Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is currently listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red list. This means that we need to take extra care in conserving the Red Panda in its small pockets of damp high-altitude forests in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and southern China or it may be joining the “critically endangered” list all too soon.

The Red Panda is a very good climber using its specially adapted feet with rotatable ankles to control downward climbs. They have very strong claws which they use to grasp branches and leaves when feeding. Bamboo makes up the most part of their diet however they occasionally eat eggs, berries or fruit depending on the availability of their main food during foraging. Mostly nocturnal, they forage by night and sleep by day, spending the majority of their time in the trees.

Their main form of communication is by means of body language however they are usually a solitary animal, rarely interacting with other Red Pandas apart from during mating and when caring for young. Even though they are born very small, females have a considerably long gestation period of up to 135 days and usually only have one or two at a time. This also presents limitations in captive breeding programmes and makes the management of their habitat all the more important as they are fragile reproducers.

The main threats to Red Panda populations in the wild are: habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and inbreeding depression. While human populations increase, Red Panda populations decrease as the humans claim more and more of their habitats for their own. This unfortunately is not restricted to the Red Pandas but uncountable different species worldwide suffer a similar threat and many unique habitats are suffering under the pressure. Road construction, commercial logging, localized logging and clearing for farm lands, being just some of the culprits in the fragmentation of habitats.

Poaching does not present as serious a threat to the Red Panda as habitat loss; however it is still a big problem mainly in China. They are hunted mainly for their fur and their beautiful tails. Outside China they are usually only killed by accident, caught up in traps meant for other animals and shot occasionally because the opportunity was there, rather than being deliberately hunted for.

Research and Habitat protection are vital for the survival of this species. They are known to be shy and due to their nocturnal behaviour observation and data collection can be difficult, so it is important that population studies are fronted in order to get a clearer picture of this secretive animal’s lifestyle. The more known about the Red Panda, the easier it becomes to protect. There are several protected areas covering some of the Red Pandas habitats across their home countries, however not near enough if they are to thrive in the long term and get the management and protection they need.

If you want to know more you can visit the Red Panda Network webpage. They are an organisation that focuses on education, research and conservation. All of which are important in the protection of a species.

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Sorry for the unforgivably long delay between posts! Between job hunting, doctors and a trip to Holland my internet time has been short 🙂

So last week I was in Holland visiting family and enjoying the wonderful food and atmosphere it has to offer and managed to get to the zoo on the one sunny day we had ! Luck! This time around I was eager to go somewhere I hadn’t been before and Burgers zoo came out the winner.

It was the African Penguins or nicknamed “Jackass” penguins who greeted us at the entrance:


Spacious , lots of levels and ample hiding places . . not a bad enclosure.


All out enjoying the afternoon sun !

We carried on into the large indoor complex housing the impressive Desert area. If only our summers could be as warm as it was in here !


Spot the Diamondback rattle snakes in this novel enclosure.


Peccary enclosure 


The Bighorned Sheep chilling out together chewing the cud. 

Everything is spaced out nicely so there is an enjoyable walk but not miles between each enclosure. Indoors I saw my first Manatee which is a very impressive creature (could do with an enclosure re-vamp and extension) and then outdoors in a mixed exhibit with the Sunbears I got my first glimpse of a Binturong an unusual animal which somewhat resembles an undiscovered Pokemon!


Binturong (see even the name sounds like a pokemon)

The Aquarium was enjoyable but as my camera is a little “low tech” and flashes are a no go I haven’t got any presentable snaps so you will just have to check it out yourself sometime! The safari walk was great and as with the desert area it was nice to see the animals from a more natural perspective than through bars.


The Rhino on his way to bully the poor Zebras away from their lunch


The Giraffes and Zebras sharing a snack 


To fit in with the running theme of “animals eating”

All in all it was a brilliant day out and I would recommend a visit to Burgers Zoo. Definitely one of the better zoos in the Netherlands when it comes to keeping it natural and meeting the animals needs.

Lets hope I can get the next post up quicker this time! Once again , SORRY!

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Was in England last week visiting friends and it was lambing weekend at Reaseheath College, my favourite time of the year ! 🙂 I have a slight obsession with sheep , all down to my granddad who I helped throughout my childhood with his small flock of 20+ sheep. They all had names and some of them would even come when called by that name which was very handy.


All the mums to be !

With lots of sheep and lambs born every half hour or so , it was definitely my kind of day out:


this little chap just had to be cuddled , he did love a good scratch behind the ear, bit more puppy like then lamb :p


Mummy giving her new born twins a good clean


This new mum has a hard road ahead of her with 3 mouths to feed 🙂 

As well as the lambing event you could also have a look around the Reaseheath Zoo, one of the only times in the year which it is open to the public.


watching carefully over the goings on 


One of the Otters have a good look around 


The giant hissing cockroach , getting a bit bored of being picked up all day

The sun shined for most of the day and it was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon , so if you happen to be in Cheshire during Feb/March keep an eye out on them lambing weekend dates 😉

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When I was younger I remember just how common it was for me to find a smooth newt when out exploring the fields. It was on recently reading about the National Newt Survey that I began to wonder if these fascinating little creatures where still as common on our land as they had once been.

I set off this afternoon, wellies on and raincoat zipped, into the fields with my trusted partner by my side to see if I could find us some newts. The first call of course the small stream marking the break between our upper and lower fields. I never failed as a child to find newts sitting on rocks or dipping their toes in the water here so figured it would be the best place to start. Unfortunately after much patience and muddy boots no newts where to be seen.

The small stream

Garfield my trusted companion enjoying the walk

Just up the bank behind the stream there is a bed of rocks and this was once Newt city so easing up quietly towards the rocks eyes peeled was the first success.

Smooth Newt

A female smooth Newt sitting amongst the moss on top of a large rock, she stayed still as a statue with my approach hoping I had not spotted her which was great where my camera was concerned. I was very excited by this find as it was good to know that the smooth newts still resided here, however I was disappointed that I could only find one.

I will try again in a few weeks better when newt finding conditions improve and hopefully this time I will be more successful. On returning it was time to let the dog out for a game of “Just you try and get this toy of me”. She never did get the hang of fetch . . .

come and get me . . .

"don't like fetch, would much rather just roll around and chew it thanks"