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…

A Brief History of the Giraffe

I’ve talked a fair amount on this site about some of the world’s lesser known species, and why they deserve your attention. … But people gravitate towards what they know, and it’s important to remember that when trying to promote conservation. So this week, I’m turning my attention back to one the more famous species. After all, there’s a reason that giraffes are so well-known around the world…

Ansel Adams: Photography for the Parks

Last week, I delved into the early history of the US National Parks: their origins, their development, and their advocates – particularly John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club. Who would continue his legacy? Who could keep up that fight with the same level of passion and ability to share the importance and beauty of the wilderness with the American people? Enter Ansel Adams. …

John Muir and the National Parks

Earlier this week, the US celebrated its 242nd Independence Day, and I kind of… forgot about it. I live outside of the US, and I’ve never really been a super patriotic person anyways, at least not in terms of the flags and the songs and stuff like that. But there is one thing that makes me very proud to be American, and that’s our National Park system…

A Microcosm of Biodiversity

“Biodiversity” is a pretty all-encompassing term. Many people use it when talking about worldwide biodiversity, i.e. all of the different animals on the planet, from parrots to parrotfish. But the term also applies to smaller groups – in this case, much smaller. We can see tremendous biodiversity just by looking at one tiny subset of a single family of insects: Formicidae – better known as ants…