The Future of the Wild Focus Project

Hi everyone. While I was writing last week’s post about the evolution and physics of bird flight, I came across a really interesting article about a team of engineers modeling a new plane off of albatrosses and their long distance flight abilities. This pulled me into the world of bioengineering. That post, however, is going to have to wait. You see, life, uh… gets in the way. …

Flight of Fancy

Most of us have, at some point, watched birds in the sky and thought something like, “Man, I wish I could fly like that...” I certainly have. But have you thought about why birds fly in the first place? Taking to the sky is a pretty big evolutionary step! …

Ecosystem Ed.: Deep Ocean

It’s time for another installment in the Ecosystem Ed. series! In each of these posts, I focus on a different type of ecosystem around the world and break it down to the basics: what, where, why, how, and who, along with some fun facts. This week, we’re focusing on the DEEP OCEAN, one of Earth’s least-understood and inaccessible ecosystems. (Heads up – this post is kind of a long one. I’m just really excited about the deep sea, okay?)

Hey There, Neighbor: Symbiosis

While I was writing last week’s frog blog, I came a cross a particularly interesting amphibian called the dotted humming frog, which is friendly with the burrowing tarantula. They have what’s called a symbiotic relationship. This week, we’ll break down the different types of symbiotic relationships, and look at some fascinating examples of each one.

The Frog Blog

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Phil Bishop, a professor of Zoology here at the University of Otago. Phil specializes in amphibians, and is one of the world’s foremost advocates for amphibian conservation… This week, it’s all about amphibians: What are amphibians? Why do they matter? Why are they disappearing? And what can we do about it? All of that, plus some cool amphibi-friends, on this week’s frog blog.

Nature's Night Lights

Picture this: You’re walking through a dark forest, late at night. There are creepy sounds all around you. Was that sound really just the wind? Why did that twig just snap? What are those glowing things in the bushes? Well, you probably don’t need to worry too much about the glowing things. It’s more likely that you’re seeing tiny bioluminescent creatures than the Mothman

Cameras for Conservation: New Findings

The whole reason this website exists is because of my Master’s in science communication. As part of the thesis, you have to do a creative project in addition to academic research. But what about the research I did? There have been a lot of edits and rewrites and even some new testing since then. So now, it’s time for an update on the research behind the Wild Focus Project…

Moa for #BirdOfTheYear2018

This year, I found it difficult to choose who to vote for in the NZ Bird of the Year contest. New Zealand is home to so many wonderful birds! So how did NZ end up with so many unique birds in the first place? And why are they disappearing now, after thriving here for millions of years?

Japan's Alaska: Shiretoko Peninsula, the Final Frontier

Eli Sooker is a NZ-based conservationist, writer, and photographer, and you can now find his page in the Story collection on the Wild Focus Project! Eli is currently in Japan, and recently had the opportunity to visit the Shiretoko Peninsula, a wildlife haven. This week, he shares his photos and thoughts on the experience. Enjoy!

Myth, Legend, and... Reality? Part 2: Cryptids

Last week, I talked about some cool mythical creatures, and the even cooler real animals that they’re based on. That was all ancient history, though. What about more recent creatures of legend? What about Bigfoot, Nessie, el Chupacabra? From the Yeti of the Himalayas to the Australian Bunyip, people all over the world continue to tell stories of fantastic beings that have been unconfirmed or downright debunked by science…

Myth, Legend, and... Reality? Part 1: Ancient Myths

Earth is home to millions of animal species, all of which have unique features and are fascinating in their own way. And yet humans have found the need to invent new creatures to explain strange things or keep their storytelling interesting. This week, we look at the origins of 4 mythical creatures, and some real animals that might be able to do similar things.

Musical Manipulation: The Power of Background Music in Wildlife Documentaries

This week's post was written by my fellow science communicator Madeleine Brennan! She's studying how music can affect how people feel about animals in documentaries for her Master's thesis here at the University of Otago. Read on for a fascinating look at just how easily we can be swayed by sound.

Horns, Antlers, and Beyond

In my recent post about giraffes, I forgot to cover an important part of their wonderfully bizarre appearance – those “horns” on their head. I say “horns” because they’re not technically horns – they’re called ossicones. When I found that out, it got me wondering: how are ossicones different from horns? And are horns different from antlers? Why do animals have horns or antlers or whatever at all?

Ecosystem Ed.: Wetlands

in an effort to draw attention back to the environments where these animals live, I’m starting a series of posts that focus on different types of ecosystems around the world! I’ll break down each type of ecosystem to the basics: what, where, why, how, and who, along with some fun facts. This week, we’re focusing on WETLANDS.  

Take Nothing but Pictures?

In one of my earliest blog posts, I wrote about the ethics of wildlife photography. I summarized my list of guidelines with the adage, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.” While I still stand by my guidelines, I now think that that phrase leaves something to be desired. It’s a good principle, but it’s a little too simplistic…