Monday, March 10, 2008

Pygmy hippos caught on camera

This secretive little fella was captured on film outside of the Liberian zoo by a group of conservationists. He is known as a pygmy hippo (hexaprotodon liberiensis), and they were thought to live mostly in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Now for a little history of this creature and why they are on the endangered species list. These is thought to be only 3,000 of these pygmy hippos alive today, and they are on the endangered species list due to all the wars, degradation of their habitat, and poaching. People rarely seem, and they usually live in isolated pockets in rivers and swamps in the forests of Africa. But don't let that fool you. They spend more time on land than their larger, more well known, relatives. These 'little' guys feed on leaves and other swamp vegetation, and they can grow up to six feet in length and weigh as much as 300 pounds!

The people who took the time and effort to find out if there were anymore pygmy hippos still alive come in a few groups. Some of them are:
Experts from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) set up special hidden cameras in Liberia's only national park -- and the first images of the wild pygmy hippos were recorded within the first three days.

Working alongside Flora and Fauna International and Liberia's Forestry Development Agency, the ZSL team, led by Ben Collen, set up the extensive monitoring of Sapo National Park to try to discover how much the hippo had suffered from Liberia's brutal civil wars.

The team of British conservationists were astonished to discover the wild pygmy hippo had not been wiped out by the fighting as previously thought.
The camera traps will remain in place as part of an ongoing monitoring program for the species. The information from the monitoring programmer will be collated, together with information on threats to the species, to produce an accurate population estimate and conservation plan. [Source: CNN-Europe, continue reading.]
This is where we part company, for the time being. Could someone please explain to me how it is possible, since this is a secretive mammal, how we will ever know how many really are that still exist? How do we know, for a fact, that none exist in the Amazon rain forests? Do any live in China? India? The Middle East? The forests of the United States?!?

Just because we have not seen them, does not mean they do not exist. We haven't seen bin Ladin in years. Does this mean he no longer exists? Hmm...

Posts I've trackbacked to: Faultline USA: Obama Must Disavow His Dangerous Pastor and Racist, Planck's Constant: Governor Schwarzenegger Vows to Terminate Court Ruling, Beagle Scout: Eliot Spitzer, Public Moralist, Right Truth: Plutonium dioxide shipment advertised, come and get it, Wolf Pangloss: Tyrant Dreams, Wolf Pangloss: Cycles on cycles to explain the Human-centric Theory of Global Warming. Digg! Digg!

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