I was frightened of every little thing that I thought was out to get me down
To trip me up and laugh at me
photos by vahid salemi at the miandasht wildlife refuge in northeastern iran of one of the estimated fifty to seventy remaining asiatic cheetahs in the world. as fast as its african cousin, the asiatic cheetah once ranged from the middle east to india, but its numbers have plummeted due to poaching, the hunting of gazelles, which are its main prey, and encroachment on its habitat.
with help from the united nations, the iranian government has stepped up efforts to rescue the species; rangers in the refuge have been equipped with night vision goggles and cameras have been set up around cheetah habitats to watch for any threat. they have also fitted the cheetahs with gps collars so their movements can be tracked.
authorities have also built shelters in arid areas where the cats can have access to water, and they’ve reached out to nearby communities, training them how to deal with cheetahs and promising compensation for livestock killed by cheetahs to prevent shepherds or farmers from hunting them.
this year at the world cup, the iranian players wore jerseys with a cheetah print on the front to help raise awareness about this critically endangered species. (see also: previous conservation posts)
an emotional roller coaster from start to finish
kill the imposter
Neomoorea irrorata (Colombia/Panama)
I’ve been very excited lately as our Neomoorea irrorata has come into bloom. These are the types of plants that make me passionate about growing orchids so I make sure to point out the amazing cinnamon-ochre colored flowers to anyone stopping by. Its notorious for never (or almost never) blooming- something that doesn’t sit well when the plant takes up a large amount of space with its 4’ leaves. It’s at home to the misty cloud forests of Colombia and Panama where it can occur as an ephiphyte or terrestrial.
Earlier this week Thomas Mirenda (Orchid Collection Specialist at the Smithsonian) was in town and stopped by the greenhouse. If you get to spend even a little time with him you quickly see just how extremely knowledgeable he is. During our conversation he saw the Neomoorea in flower and mentioned that there is supposed to be a butterfly that looks like the lip of this species, something I’d never heard before but after looking at the lip seem so obvious! Things like that make me appreciate growing orchids even more.
sanchez creek, ormond beach, FL // July 2014
In this fantastic GoPro capture by Cristian Perrella, we see the crystal clear Lago del Matese in Caserta in the south of Italy.
Photo credit: Cristian Perrella via Twisted Sifter
The spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), an amazing creature that walks the ocean floor, is a rare Australian fish from the family Brachionichthyidae. It is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2002. is the first Australian marine species to be threatened with extinction.
The greatest threats to the handfish appear to be siltation and invasive species. The Derwent Estuary where the fish lives is highly urbanised and industrialised, and a range of marine pests have been introduced through shipping. One key pest is the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis), a particularly large and voracious predator that is now abundant in the estuary. Studies by CSIRO show that the seastars eat the stalked ascidians that the handfish use to attach their eggs.
- video CSIROpublishing