Pierdut pentru totdeauna-Tigrul tasmanian

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Am vorbit in multe dintre articolele mele despre specii pe cale de disparitie, in pericol sau care se afla intr-un numar limitat de exemplare in lume. Azi insa, am sa va vorbesc despre povestea unui animal care a disparut definitiv in urma cu putin timp.

Prietena si colega mea, Cristina Vultureanu, a fost mai mult decat incantata sa imi accepte propunerea de a scrie impreuna articolul, fiind pasionata de aceste fapturi si subiectul facand parte din domeniul ei de cercetare. In continuare vom vorbi despre lupul marsupial si cum a disparut acesta specie.

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Thylacinus cynocephalus (lupul marsupial sau tigrul tasmanian) facea parte din familia Thylacinidae si era considerat cel mai mare marsupial carnivor. Originar din Tasmania, Australia si Noua Guinee, era cunoscut dupa aspectul sau fiind o combinatie intre lup si tigru, de unde vine si numele sau popular. Corpul avea forma unui lup mai mic, alungit, cu par scurt. Culoarea blanii semana cu cea a unui tigru, galbem-maroniu cu dungi negre pe spate. Femela era mai mare decat masculul si prezenta un marsupiu, o punga cu patru mameloane care se deschidea spre spatele corpului si nu spre fata ca la restul marsupialelor.

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Comportamentul lupului marsupial era foarte interesant; mersul sau era destul de lent, dar asematanor lupului, insa, nu putea in fuga sa prinda o viteza foarte mare. Putea sa execute si miscari similare cangurilor, si anume sariturile bipede (in doua picioare). Sunetele pe care le scotea erau fie urlete, ca cele produse de lup, fie maraia si apoi casca in semn de amenintare, precum tigrul. Comportamentul si aspectul demonstreaza foarte bine asemanarile pe care acesta le are cu lupul, tigrul si cangurul, desi aceste animale sunt specii total diferite.

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Lupul marsupial traia in paduri si pe terenuri necultivate, prefera sa vaneze noaptea, iar ziua si-o petrecea la adapostul padurii sau in pesteri mici. Perioada de imperechere se intindea pe tot anul, atingand apogeul primavara, iar femela fata intre 1 si 4 pui. Acestia erau orbi si lipsiti de par, iar dupa ce paraseau marsupiul isi deschideau ochii, iar parul incepea sa le acopere corpul. Din punct de vedere al regimului alimentar acest animal era carnivor, prefera sa vandeze diferite specii de cangur, pasari si animale mici. Stomacul sau avea capacitatea de a stoca o cantitate mare de hrana pentru a avea provizii pe perioada in care nu vana.

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Istoria acestui animal este una interesanta si trista in acelasi timp. Au fost mai muli factori care au contribuit la dispariţia sa. Multe specii de marsupiale au inceput sa dispara odata ce primii oameni au pasit pe teritoriul Australiei, insa povestea lupului marsupial este putin diferita. Primul factor care a contribuit la disparitia sa, a fost introducerea fortata, de catre europeni, a câinelui dingo (Canis lupus dingo), care placentar fiind, domina lupul marsupial. In general placentarele se dezvolta foarte bine pe teritoriul Australiei, deoarece nu au pradatori. Australia este un continent izolat, aşadar automat marsupialele au fost si ele izolate.

 

 

Al doilea factor a fost vanarea excesiva. Mai mult decat atat, se oferea si o recompensa pentru fiecare lup marsupial vanat, deoarece se considera ca produce pagube in gradinile oamenilor, consumand animalele acestora. Prin oferirea recompensei, numarul exemplarelor s-a redus considerabil. Tigrul tasmanian era vanat si inainte pentru blana sa aspectuoasa, insa, apogeul extinctiei sale a fost in momentul pierderii controlului acestor vanatori.

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Penultimul exemplar salbatic cunoscut a fost ucis in 1930 de catre un fermier, iar ultimul exemplar, denumit Benjamin a fost capturat in 1933 si dus la gradina zoologica din Hobart unde a murit pe data de 7 septembrie 1936, posibil datorita neglijentei. Asadar, singurul lup marsupial existent in ziua de astazi se afla, din pacate, pe stema Tasmaniei, restul fiind doar o umbra a trecutului.

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Ultimul lup marsupial, 1936

 

 

 

Articol realizat in colaborare cu Cristina Vultureanu (Faculatea de biologie, Cluj).

Fotografii: http://www.humancondition.com; http://www.theworldofanimals.proboards.com; http://www.britannica.com

Adela Teban

Save the elephants

Today I`m going to talk about elephants. About how wonderful and amazing this creatures are and how important is to save them. Most of all know that elephants are endangered. There number is in massive decrease, but for understand why is this happening, I will show you first some general aspects and curiosities about this gorgeous animal.

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Elephants are mammals of the order Proboscidea. This group is made of really tall and large animals. They have a long trunk, used for many purposes as breathing, lifting water or grasping objects. From Proboscidea order are known only 3 species: Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis from South Africa and Elephas maximus from Asia. This animal is the largest terrestrial mammal, he can reach a height of 3-4 m and weight 5000 kg. The biggest one was a Namibian exemplary in 1978 with height of 4,21 m and length of 10 m.

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The most specials characters of elephants are the intelligence and the interspecific communication. They are on 5th place for intelligence in the world of mammals, because they have a very good memory based on lessons learned from elders. They communicate with others by touch, sight, smell and sound. Also they can use infrasound and seismic communication over long distances.

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The elephants never live alone, they have a complex society in which multiple family groups come together to socialize. The reproduction process is very elaborate, because the gestation lasts for 2 years, after that calves are in the center of attention in their family. They really need their mother for at least 3 years to learn them everything, because their survival instincts are very weak and if a baby remains alone, he will have no chances to survive. But in groups, elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. In general elephants are like humans. They have emotions like us and they are very attached to their family. For example, the baby elephant catch their mothers tail with his trunk like kids hold mothers hand.

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Another aspect very interesting is the fact that elephants from Africa participate to one of the biggest migrations. In Sahara desert the water and food are very limited, and they have to move all the time to find another source of water. The distance of migration depends on their habitat and the intensity of dry and rainy season. For example, the longest migration is about 300 miles in South Africa. The leaders of the group are oldest females how knows exactly where they can find water again. This fact helps them to survive.

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Elephants are very special for many reasons and we have to protect them. Why? Because they are endangered. African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Asian elephants are classed as endangered, because of ivory trade. The poachers kill hundreds elephants per year to collect their ivory tusks. Many art pieces and jewelry made of ivory are sold each year. It`s very sad to see that the „white gold of Africa” is stolen for many generations by poachers.

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Only together we can stop this trade. One big step is to stop buying ivory items. We have to think that for a jewelry an elephant have to die and it`s not worth it. Please, teach your children, inform your family and friends that the ivory did not come from dead elephants, actually 70% merchants tell costumers that the ivory tusks came out naturally, like teeth and animals are not killed, but obviously that is a huge lie.

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I know that an ivory object is precious and it is considered a piece of art, but much more valuable is a pair of ivory tusks in their place on elephants exactly where they belong, because this is not our jewelry it is theirs! Stop purchase ivory pieces and save the elephants! Only together we can make a better life for them!

Photography: Grant Atkinson

Thank you for your collaboration!

If you want to see more beautiful wildlife pictures, visit this website: http://www.grantatkinson.com

Varianta in limba romana

Adela Teban

Cafea Kopi Luwak

Cea mai cunoscuta bautura energizanta la nivel mondial este cafeaua. Ea se prepara din semintele arborelui de cafea (Caffea arabica) care se gasesc doua la numar in fructul acestuia. Fructul este o drupa rosie de marimea unei cirese.

Interesant este faptul ca din aceeasi planta se poate face atat cafeaua simpla arhicunoscuta care este la indemana oricui cat si cea mai scumpa si rara cafea din lume, cafeaua Kopi Luwak sau „cafeaua pisicii”.

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Arborele de cafea (Caffea arabica)
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Fructul arborelui de cafea

Arborele de cafea creste in zone tropicale si subtropicale unde vom gasi de asemenea un animal mai putin cunoscut care indrageste aceasta planta. Este vorba despre zibeta asiatica (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), un mamifer nocturn din familia Viverridae, de talie medie, culoare maronie si pete albe pe fata. Aceste animal este numit de localnici luwak, iar cu ajutorul lui se poate obtine cel mai sofisticat sortiment de cafea.

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Zibeta asiatica-luwak (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)

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Aceasta cafea a aparut cand localnicii asiatici au observat ca zibeta se hraneste doar cu fructele cele mai rosii, cele mai coapte si sanatoase, iar in excrementele sale au gasit aceste boabe nedigerate complet, mai degraba transformate.

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In tubul digestiv al animalului sub actiunea unor enzime (proteaze) anumite proteine din fruct sunt distruse, astfel dispare aroma amara pe care o are cafeaua obisnuita. Dupa ce sunt eliminate, in excremente boaba de cafea este inca protejata de o membrana pe care culegatorii o curata. Boabele se spala, se lasa la uscat apoi se prajesc.

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Odata prajita cafeaua se macina si se prepara bautura in mod obisnuit. Gustul cafelei Kopi Luwak este mai fin, usor caramelizat, dar taria cafelei este la fel cu una obisnuita. Pe an se produc doar cateva tone din aceasta cafea deoarece zibeta asiatica este un animal din ce in ce mai rar.

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Pe langa gustul special, raritatea boabelor ii ridica pretul, aceasta bautura devenind o delicatesa si implicit cea mai scumpa cafea din lume.

Adela Teban