Wildlife

From The Throat Of The Kingfisher

Kingfisher

I’m back! Sorry for the absence. I’m taking my time with my illustrations these days so that means fewer posts. So…let’s begin

This illustration is inspired by the discovery of a new frog species in Southern India (in the state of Karnataka). For years the call of the Karaavali skittering frog was mistaken for the call of the White-throated Kingfisher. That was until a very clever herpetologist discovered that it was not the call of a kingfisher but in fact the call of a frog. Through audio and video documentation followed by DNA analysis the unknown frog was discovered and named. Thus the Karaavali skittering frog sprung forth from the throat of the White-throated Kingfisher (not literally of course). Alas, the frog is already threatened due to habitat loss. A cruel reality in the world of wildlife biology- discovery is followed by loss.

About This Illustration: When I read the linked article about the discovery of the Krivaavali skittering frog, this image took shape immediately. I somewhat incorporated Indian art and textile design into this illustration. It was a fun process involving watercolor, acrylic ink, India ink, and colored pencils.

You can purchase a print of this illustration through my Etsy shop, ScienceStories: https://www.etsy.com/listing/551252519/from-the-throat-of-the-kingfisher

If the plight of critters moves you, consider donating to:

Wildlife Conservation Society: https://www.wcs.org

The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org

Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org

Or other international or local conservation nonprofits. If you have the time please consider volunteering as well. I will write more about that in the future.

 

Wake Me When It’s Spring

WakeMeWhenItsSpringsmall2

Spring is here and some wildlife are emerging from hibernation. They should be waking up on the sunny side of the den after a long winters rest but that is not necessarily true. Hibernation takes a toll on their body and  it takes a great deal of energy to wake up and join the land of the conscious. The New York Time’s Science section has a wonderful article about what goes on in this time of waking for a few different animals: Waking From Hibernation, the Hard Work of Spring Begins (by Steph Yin).

Happy Spring everyone!

About the Illustration: Acrylic gouache and India ink. I am currently smitten with acrylic gouache. The opacity of gouache but waterproof like acrylic paint. When I read the article and saw the picture of the sleeping black bear and her cub this image came to me. I considered putting pjs on both of them but I decided the sleeping masks were enough.

Glow In The Dark Bacon

WildBoar

Six years after the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant, wildlife has taken over the the twelve mile exclusion zone around the plant. Most notably packs of wild boars have settled in to their new homes. Unfortunately for residents who are slowly planning their return to the area, these boars are highly radioactive (300x higher than the safety standards) and no longer intimidated by humans. Major hunts and special incinerators is the current answer to this situation but will it be enough? Will residents ever go back?

Note: A lovely article about the wildlife of Chernobyl. It is embedded in the article linked above  but I wanted to highlight it in case you missed it.

About This Illustration: Watercolor on Yupo Paper.

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

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A bright note from the conservation world in 2016!  Wild tiger populations are on a rise for the first time in a century, an estimated 3,890 now roam the earth-up from 3,200 in 2010. India houses most of the world’s wild tigers. The country has taken tiger conservation seriously. Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan are also seeing conservation successes.

Although this is encouraging these numbers do not indicate habitat quality (i.e. habitat fragmentation) or the status of subspecies. Populations in some countries are not well accounted for at this time and in places like Indonesia habitat destruction for the palm oil industry are negatively impacting tiger populations. Poaching for the black market (mostly for Chinese traditional medicines) and habitat destruction and fragmentation are the major causes in the decline of wild tiger populations in recent years. They are still a concern but coordinated conservation efforts and enforcement are helping tigers make a come back after a path towards extinction.

For More Information:

http://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/for-the-first-time-in-100-years-tiger-numbers-are-growing

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/tiger-populations-increasing/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160410-tiger-numbers-rise-wwf-conservation-double-population/

About the Illustration: Watercolor ink on bristol paper. This illustration can be purchased through my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScienceStories

 

Artichoke with Legs

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Meet the Pangolin, a scaly mammal that eats insects and hangs out in trees or burrows in the ground. It’s keratin-based scales are meant for protection from predators, a unique adaptation for a mammal. There are eight species of pangolin found in Asia and Africa. Unfortunately this unique critter has the dubious title of “most trafficked mammal” due to rampant poaching for it’s meat. During the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), delegates voted to ban all trade of all extant species of pangolin.

About The Illustration: Watercolor ink and micron pens. Originally I had him playing the piano but I removed the piano and now he looks a bit awkward. Oh well.

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For those of you with little ones or have little ones in your life in some way-consider picking up a copy of “Roly Poly Pangolin” by Anna Dewdney. She’s the author of the Llama Llama books. A portion of each sale goes to pangolin conservation in Vietnam.

Wildlife on the Brink

wildlife-disease

This recent illustration appears to incorporate some random critters at first glance. Salamanders, bats, and starfish-what could they possibly have in common?

Bat populations in North America are suffering from White-Nose Syndrome. I wrote about White-Nose Syndrome in “Cave Fresh“. Starfish along the Pacific coast are dying out from Sea Star Wasting Disease. I wrote about Sea Star Wasting Disease in “Trouble Among The Stars“. Salamanders (as well as frogs) around the globe are succumbing to Chytrid fungus. I have yet to write about Chytrid but I did write about Snake Fungal Disease in “Fungus Among Us“.

Disease, unfortunately, is the common thread but it is that common thread that scientists are beginning to see across the globe and across taxa. That is why the science and health community created the One Health Initiative. A collaborative effort connecting human and animal health with environmental health in order to understand the global picture for health. The impact of viruses and warming sea water on starfish may not seem so important to you but it is an indicator of environmental health and what is to come if we do not take notice and act. We are all connected…

 

A Ray of Hope

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Devil Rays (Modula spp.) are one of the species up for discussion during CITES Conference of the Parties 17 in South Africa. CITES stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. An international agreement between governments to make sure trade of wild animals and plants does not lead to extinction. Rays and sharks are not doing well and a number of species are up for discussion during the conference.

About The Illustration: Acrylic Ink with brush and pen.

For More Information: 

CITES

COP17