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We hope that reader will gain an increased appreciation of the need for more conservation measure in order to protect the beautiful creatures that inhabit the earth. Our philosophy is that the more we learn about animals, the more we respect them and take better care of them. That is why we update this blog with new animals, We encourage you to syndicate our content by adding "animal of the day" to your own blog! (read more)

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Thursday 25 February 2010 Chinkara - a Gazelle that lives with Little Water

ChinkaraThe Chinkara (Gazella bennettii) is type of gazelle native to various regions of southern Asia including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and, predominantly, India (hence the common name "Indian Gazelle"). An adult Chinkara stands about 65 centimeters (26 inches) tall at the shoulder and weighs in at about 23 kilograms (50 pounds).

The Chinkara has a smooth, reddish coat in the summer, and in the colder months the otherwise only slightly paler detail in the gazelle's stomach and neck becomes several shades lighter, almost white. As with most animals under the threat of attack from more powerful predators, their coat has the primary function of aiding them to blend in with their grassland environment. The Chinkara sports distinctive hazelnut stripes running from the inner corner of their eyes to their mandible bordered by sharply-defined white fur. It has a black stripe beginning a few inches above the coccyx which widens as it reaches the tail, where it is bordered by a thinner patch of white fur. Characteristically of gazelles, they have relatively modest horns which, though rarely larger, are generally measured at around 40 centimeters (16 inches) at their maximum length.

Much like its African cousins, the Chinkara rarely wanders into territory occupied by humans and will actively distance itself from any mammalian species it perceives as a potential threat. What makes the Chinkara unique, however, is its remarkable ability to sustain itself on very little water. Indeed, researchers following Chinkara on the move have observed certain individuals go for days at a time without ever drinking from a real water source. Instead, they can survive merely on dew and other water condensed on leaves and shaded foliage. It is this same vegetation that provides the Chinkara's primary diet, which primarily consists of grass in addition to occasional fruits.

Though not yet in significant danger of extinction, Chinkara numbers are dwindling. A large part of this is due to game hunters, who in recent years have increasingly taken to pursuing these gazelles. Estimates place the remaining Chinkara at 75-85K, with their protected status doing little to deter hunters from reducing those numbers. Still, with such a number of individuals still living in the wild over such a large area, the population is not expected to dwindle significantly in the near future. Local conservation efforts have proved relatively successful, and indeed a number of cases to prosecute those caught hunting the Chinkara have resulted in prosecutions. A secondary effect of the decreased Chinkara population has been a corresponding decrease in cheetah numbers, (cheetahs are now presumed to be extinct in India), with the big cat being the Chinkara's primary predator.

Picture of the Chinkara by S. Shankar, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic You can help spreading the word about this animal by liking it on facebook

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Thursday 04 February 2010 Black caiman

Black caimanDark colored, largest species of the family Crocodylidae, Black Caimans (Melanosuchus niger) have their own historical presence in and around the areas of French Guiana and Brazil. Extensively hunted for its skin, the species now is under the category of conserved reptiles and is under surveillance to prevent the species to become extinct. They were formerly located at Amazonian range, but due to constant hunt by the Brazilians for the animal’s tough skin, their population started getting thinner, to the extent of being extinct in that area. Still black caimans are present in large numbers in and around Kaw Swamps in French Guiana and on the Rupununi River in Guyana. The irony is that people living in these areas do not consider the importance of reptile on the verge of being extinct. For them the crocodile is a dangerous species living alongside them, which is surely a natural alarm. The black caiman is found to hunt the dogs, children and even adults, which create a menace and a lot of hue and cry in the surrounding areas.

Black caimans are very dark colored. Their color is subject to age and maturity where young caimans have grey colored lower jaws, which gradually turn out to be brown on aging. The yellow or white bands present across the body are more prominent in new born to six months old caimans, which fade gradually on maturity. Thus Caiman’s skin biological composition changes over a period of time. The shape of skull is a bit different from other caiman species. Black caimans have distinct protruding eyes with relatively a narrow snout.

The black caiman is an aquatic reptile. It shows it presence in not very deep but shallow fresh water bodies, particularly slow moving rivers and streams. They are also noticed in and around flooded savannah and other marshy and wetlands. They usually hunt during night. They are blessed with extra ordinary sensory organs, be it auditory or visual. They locate and hunt for their prey which usually comprises of fish, turtles, deer, domestic animals dogs and pigs.

The female black caiman starts breeding during the dry season when water levels fall and fish are easily available in shallow pools, providing an easy and plentiful meal. caimans build a huge mound nest using dead and fresh vegetable matter, into which eggs are laid. The mother caiman always be near the nest and provide protection to the eggs till the hatching process begins and is safe for the young black caimans to come out in the water.

Picture of the black caiman by Mokele, licensed under GFDL You can help spreading the word about this animal by liking it on facebook

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