July 23, 2010

Not Gone Yet: Horton Plains Slender Loris Rediscovered

 © C Mahanayakage

The Horton Plains slender loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides) was thought to have gone extinct in 1939 when its Sri Lanka forest habitat was clear-cut to make way for tea plantations.

The Zoological Society of London lead as expedition to find the animal after a 2002 encounter. Their research included 1,000 nocturnal surveys in 120 forest areas.  ZSL was able to both photograph and measure the loris who is 20 centimeters long.

The Horton Plains slender loris remains incredibly rare. Researches estimate that 60 -100 individuals remain. While not extinct, this loris remains one of the most endangered primates.

ZSL conservation biologist Craig Turner listed conservation and restoration of the remaining montane forest, which makes up less than 1% of the land area of Sri Lanka, as key to the species' survival.

Read more about the rediscovery here.

July 21, 2010

Announcing a special triple print release to celebrate ESPP's anniversary!

The tattooed Sumatran Tiger, the elegant Whooping Crane and the totally awesome Moldavian Meadow Viper burst onto the ESPP scene today! Sink your claws into our three new prints before they disappear at EndangeredSpeciesPrintProject.com.

  • The Moldavian Meadow Viper print by ESPP founder Molly Schafer supports The Hungarian Meadow Viper Life Project, which is keeping these amazing snakes from the brink of extinction.
  • The Sumatran Tiger print by Maine artist Alison Wheeler benefits the Sumatran Tiger Trust, which works to preserve these gorgeous beasts in the wild, where only about 350 remain.
  • The Whooping Crane print by ESPP founder Jenny Kendler helps fund Operation Migration. You may have already heard of this amazing organization, which releases captive-bred Whooping Cranes into the wild, and teaches them to migrate using ultralight aircraft!
Excitingly, ESPP's new prints are on a gorgeous and sustainable, art-quality bamboo paper!

As you know, 100% of the proceeds from ESPP print sales go directly to front-lines conservation, so please be generous and purchase some for your family and friends! Because ESPP prints are limited editions based on the populations of the species depicted, some editions are running low already. Be sure not to miss out! 

Can you believe the Endangered Species Print Project is already 1 year old?

Thanks for all your support over the past year!
- Molly Schafer & Jenny Kendler

July 8, 2010

Eco-razzy : Person on my street whose sprinkler flooded the sidewalk

Yes, person on my street whose sprinkler flooded the sidewalk and sprinkler users everywhere we agree with this mouse lemur: You Suck!

A newly described species of mouse lemur (Microcebus mittermeieri).
Photo by: Mark Thiessen/National Geographic Society   Graphics by: The Endangered Species Print Project

Not only did your flooding of the sidewalk with a 2 inch pool of water under a constant sprinkler shower make it rather difficult for me to walk past your house, in an attempt to avoid the waterworks, I rolled my ankle, spraining it badly. That's right, I hope the cement in front of your home has been growing/blooming/whatever you thought it would do if you watered it because right now I'm wearing an ankle brace on my stretched tendons and can't run or bike for 3 weeks. I repeat: You Suck!

As I sat on your neighbor's stairs watching your sprinkler sprinkle a cascade of water onto your porch, the resulting waterfall flowing down your front steps,  the growing pool on the sidewalk, a squirrel first drinking then sort of paddling through it, I was flooded with anger.

Outraged not only for my own sorry situation ( a foot that could not support my weight let alone wade up your the steps to kick your door in and break your ankles, err, ask you politely to turn of your sprinkler and begin bailing out the side walk) but for our very planet.

Plenty of humans lack clean water to drink, to cook or bathe with, yet sprinkler users everywhere see fit to water cement. In fact water-borne diseases from unsanitary water are one of the leading causes of death world wide. Water diverted for human use leaves marshes, bogs, woodlands and all the flora and fauna who reside within diminished. Despite these unsettling realities, according to the EPA:

"An American family of four can use 400 gallons of water per day, and about 30 percent of that is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day."

Water is a finite resource, sprinkler users, use it wisely and use it sparingly.  How about a quick spritz with the hose instead of hours of running a sprinkler while you watch TV, or hey- just wait for it to rain!  Better yet try planting native plants that are adapted to your local climate and will thrive without much care (more time for TV), or try xeriscaping.

The cool thing about where we live- it's a planet that can take care of itself! The natural world known as planet Earth can nourish what grows on it if humans would just get out of it's way. And P.S. it's the only planet we've got.

For more tips on water-smart yards visit the EPA's Watersense site. Please.

Using a sprinkler is a waste of water even for a garden, but for sidewalks, porches, non-living objects of every variety it is a goddess-forsaken tragedy. :P

July 7, 2010

Baby Guam Micronesian kingfishers increase world population to 134

 A very rare Guam Micronesian kingfisher chick is fed using a hand puppet at Lincoln Park Zoo. All 134 members of the severely endangered species live in zoos. (Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune / June 17, 2010)

Two baby Guam Micronesian kingfishers were recently born at Chicago's own Lincoln Park Zoo. Molly and I have been lucky enough to see these charming little birds in person in their bird house. Unfortunately, a zoo is the only place you'll see these rare birds, as they are sadly extinct in the wild. The story of how most of Guam's endemic birds became extinct or extinct in the wild is a strange one that starts with WWII.

Molly and I were invited some time ago to write an article for the awesome art blog Bad at Sports, which explains the very strange circumstances surrounding the kingfisher's current endangerment. You can read the full article here.

The eventual goal of this captive breeding population, (what we think should be the goal of all captive breeding programs) is to release the kingfishers back into the wild...though that may be far in the future.

Let's hope that one day these little guys again grace the waterways of beautiful Guam. Supporting their recovery is the least we can do at this point...so keep checking back with ESPP, as there's a Guam Micronesian kingfisher print in the works.

July 5, 2010

Sea Dragons : Life

Check out this completely magical video of these completely magical creatures of the Australian ocean: Sea Dragons!

Sadly, sea dragons are under threat from run-off pollution and from collectors who take them both for their exotic beauty and for 'alternative' medicine. We don't need to tell you, lovely readers, that chomping a beautiful wild creature is the wrong way to go about curing what ails you. Luckily though, sea dragons are now protected by the Australian government.

We hope you enjoy this enchanting video from the BBC's Life series. (...of course, it's narrated by the inimitable D. Attenborough!)