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.

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?

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.

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?

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…

Move over, big cats

When it comes to publicity for protecting wild cats, the big ones get the lion’s share of attention and funding. The 7 big cat species are some of the best known animals in the world. But what about the world’s other wild cats? There are 33 known “small cat” species around the world that are just as important and deserve just as much attention…

The Fast, the Furious, and the Feathered

We’re back from hiatus! I took a few weeks off to focus on moving house, and to travel around NZ’s South Island for a couple weeks. We made a big loop around the South Island – from Kaikoura to Kahurangi National Park to Milford Sound – but the highlight was 4 days of tramping. And while we were out in the backcountry, we got to see New Zealand falcons! NZ falcons are rare and endemic, so getting to see one is pretty special...

Animals over Ecosystems

A quick google search shows us that mammals and birds are by far the most common subjects in wildlife photography, particularly those that are considered beautiful or charismatic, and often “exotic” ... But there’s a lot more to nature than mammals and birds. The term “biodiversity” refers to all life in an ecosystem. That includes everything from ferns to foxes to fungi...

A Little Too Close for Comfort

The soft, steady thudding of my hiking boots slowed to a halt. The trail wasn’t particularly steep or difficult, but when you’re surrounded by the world’s largest trees, you’ve just got to stop and look sometimes! This early in the day, the woods were relatively quiet and still. Birds chattered and branches rustled in the slight breeze, but there were no other people around – just me and my parents. They hadn’t stopped, so after a minute, they disappeared behind the next ridge. I glanced around, and then froze. Turns out that I wasn’t alone after all...