Posted in science, tagged africa, Animal, Antelope, anthropology, Beduin, biology, Camel, Desert, ecology, Fox, Photography, Sahara, science, travel, Wildlife, zoology on June 20, 2009|
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The Sahara Desert
This will be the last stop on our wonderful trip. We are taken by bus to Algeria. There we meet with a Beduin, one of the great surviors of the Sahara. He takes us into the Shara, just south of the Atlas Mountains on dromedary camels, one of the ships of the desert.
The heat is intense, and the thermometer reads almost 110 degrees Fahrenheit. One would not believe that anything could live in such a terribly arid, hot place. However. We see many snakes including the dangerous sand viper, as well as arachnids like the deathstalker scorpion. We give these animals a wide berth. However, soon after noon, we see a more friendly face. An addax is spotted scampering from rock to rock in the mountains. This white antelope is prized by hunters. They were hunted to such an extent that today, only about 500 are left in the wild. This one runs across a rocky slope and hides from view.
Towards evening, we start a fire and pitch up camp at a small oaisis. Here, it seems that even in the middle of this desert, small patches of paradise can be found. We talk long into the night, reminiscing about our journey. A small fennec fox runs through our camp, probably disturbed by our laughter.
Sadly, our trip through this wonderful continent of Africa has ended. The next day, we ship out of the desert and depart via Algiers. I hope you enjoyed our trip. See you around!
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Posted in science, tagged Antelope, biology, Conservation, ecology, environment, Extinction, Great, Herbivore, Hunting, Mammal, Plains, Pronghorn, science, Sprawl, Taxonomy, Urban, West, Wildlife, zoology on May 28, 2008|
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Once again, I delved into the Encyclopedia of Life to bring you an animal for this week. It is the Pronghorn Antelope.
The Pronghorn Antelope in Motion
The pronghorn antelope is the only gazelle-like creature left on North America after the split of Pangea. They live up to 10 years in the wild. They stand around a meter and a half to the shoulder, but males are bigger than females. Their wonderful horns are garnered on both genders, male and female. Their sandy coats make it very difficult to see them in the American Western grasslands. There, they feed easily on grass and other small bushes.
Pronghorns are naturally very curious animals. As a result, they would inspect anything that moved, including predators. Since they are extremely fast, the second fastest land animal after cheetahs, they could escape from most of their predators. But, when humans began to hunt them, they could not outrun bullets. Thus, their own curiosity, nearly caused their extinction. Fortunately, conservation efforts have brought the populations up to a healthy level once more. Now, however, their status is once again threatened because of the destruction of their habitat by increased urban sprawl.
An interesting fact about Pronghorns is that Pronghorn fawns are actually safer living around wolves. Why? Because it seems wolves will kill coyotes, the main predators of Pronghorn fawns. Thus, hunters who kill wolves for killing the Pronghorn are actually perpetuating the problem.
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