Everybody wants to talk about polar bears when it comes to climate change, but walruses are equally effed. I talked to a walrus researcher with the USGS recently to learn why these ferocious whisker beasts need sea ice to survive. Here's an excerpt:
"This bellicose behemoth can outweigh a Honda CR-V. Its blubber rolls have blubber rolls, and the walrus sports a mustache not even Tom Selleck could pull off. Its most recognizable feature—a pair of three-foot ivory tusks—makes the bucktoothed beast one of the most dangerous creatures on sea ice. Unfortunately, this homeliness means walruses are often on the short end of the conversation about climate change and its consequences. But make no mistake, the frumpy walrus is every bit as effed as its awww-inducing neighbors."
They stink. They don't do much. They're prone to malnourishment and diseases in captivity. Really, there are a thousand better things to buy a loved one than a tortoise this Christmas. In my most recent piece for onEarth.org, we look at a new study that found 55,000 Indian star tortoises being removed illegally from India each year, most of them destined for the exotic pet trade. Here's an excerpt:
"Sweaters shrink, jewelry tarnishes, and bacon-of-the-month-club subscriptions expire. But this holiday season, what if you could give a gift with a life expectancy of 80 years or more? The hottest gift of 2015 isn’t a Furby or Tickle Me Elmo—it’s the Indian star tortoise, a nearly one-foot-long, slow-moving, disease-prone reptile that will provide years of high-maintenance anticlimax!"
As some of you know, I recently traveled to South Africa with Nat Geo Wild. Here are some notes from the experience. For starters, leopard piss smells like buttered popcorn! (In the image above, you can see a leopard named Karula marking her territory, just the tiniest glint of urine shining in the setting sun.) Here's an excerpt:
"During my time with the crew, I saw impala, snakes, mushrooms, zebras and heinous little insects known as "ball-biter ants". I gawked at hornbills and hippos and horn-boring moths. I sat silently in moonlight as elephants gorged themselves on trees so close I could have stood up, yelled“Bangarang!” and jumped onto their wrinkly grey backs."