Tag Archive | endangered animals

Snubbed and Blue


Don’t snub me ‘cause my face is blue

From: elelur.com

I’d rather look like me than you

I sport a golden, flowing cape

My long tail shows I’m not an ape


I live up high among the trees

If I could talk, I’d speak Chinese

I like tree lichen for a snack

My meals are plants; they don’t attack


My canines might be sharp and long

From: WildWondersofChina.com

They grow for show; don’t get me wrong

I’ll use my teeth for self defense

And show them off if I get tense


But mostly I just like to cuddle

To survive, we monkeys huddle

Days are short and nights are cold

It helps to have some friends to hold


My bluish face and lack of nose  

Is from the coldness, I suppose

And if you lived where my kind do

You’d probably have a blue face too


— Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud


The Snub-Nosed Sichuan monkey is a unique creature that lives in the remote and mountainous regions of central and southwestern China. It is also called the “Blue-Cheeked Monkey” and the “Chinese Golden Monkey.” No other primate can survive such extreme temperatures. Scientists are not sure why this monkey’s face is blue… it’s not really because of the cold. But the adaptation of no protruding nasal bone structures resulting in its snub-nosed appearance, might prevent this little guy from getting a frost-bitten nose. There’s no nose for the frost to bite!

The Snub-Nosed Golden Monkey also has thick fur for insulation, and it has a habit of cuddling in groups when it is cold or threatened by predators with the babies in the middle of the huddle for warmth and protection. They are usually gentle creatures who eat plants, including lichen which comprise a large portion of their diet. Those long canine teeth are for expressing bravado or fear; they do not mean that it is a carnivore. They will defend their territories against other bands of monkeys and can use their teeth to fight off predators such as wolves, foxes, weasels and raptors.

These fascinating beloved beasts are in danger of disappearing altogether as their habitat disappears and, despite protections, they are hunted illegally for their meat and fur. One group of these monkeys, the Hubei golden snub-nosed monkeys, have only 1,000 to 2,000 members left.

There is an old Chinese legend about a warrior monkey named Sun Wukong who had supernatural powers. If attacked, Sun Wukong could create an army by turning each of his long guard hairs into an powerful warrior, a clone of himself. Unfortunately, these little creatures cannot actually clone themselves and their numbers continue to dwindle. They need our help and protection.

The Nature Conservancy is one group that is working to save populations of the rare snub-nosed monkeys. A determined and dedicated biologist, Long Yongcheng, worked for many long years, with help from the Nature Conservancy, to save these monkeys. He succeeded in getting areas of forest set aside for habitat reserved for the snub-nosed monkeys. One person can make a difference in saving an entire species.

The Saiga Saga

Photo by Tim Flach

How can this be?

You can’t be true!

How could a beast

turn out like you?


Your horns are ridged

and pointy too

Your trunk-like nose

divides in two!


You stand at only

two feet high

A child could look you

in the eye


You’re kin to cow


and buffalo

You live on plains

where no trees grow


You’re native to


and prone to



There are so few


dear saiga left

If you were gone

we’d be bereft


We all should recognize

your worth

An ancient treasure

of the earth


The saiga is a diminutive critter about the size of a small goat with distinctive horns and a highly unusual face. It has a nose like no other; long, inflatable nostrils that appear to be a sort of double-trunk. This nose serves a very important purpose. It filters out the dust which always seems to blow about in its western Mongolian native habitat, and when temperatures drop to below zero, the spacious nose pre-warms the air before it reaches the saiga’s lungs.

It is an herbivore and eats plants; lichens, sagebrush, grasses and bushes. They are ruminants, which means that they bring partially digested plant matter back up into their mouths to chew it again. This is called “chewing their cud” and it helps them get as many nutrients and energy as possible out of the plant matter that they eat.

This critically endangered animal has suffered a series of alarming die-offs in the past few years. In one terrible year, in 2015, over 200,000 saiga dropped dead. Scientist discovered that the cause of death was a bacteria, called “Pasturella” was the cause. With normal temperatures, this bacteria, which lives in the large noses of the saiga, is not a problem, but global warming has increased temperatures in the saiga range and that has proved deadly to the poor little animal. A hot, wet climate with the presence of this bacteria causes internal toxins to form and the saiga drown in their own internal fluids. More info at: The Atlantic  and also at: blueplanetbiomes.org

While the saiga are hunted by wolves, foxes and birds of prey, like the Golden Eagle, the biggest threat to the saiga is humans and the global warming that is caused by human activity.

Hopefully, saiga populations will be able to bounce back. These animals can reproduce from a young age and a mother saiga often gives birth to twins. They are ancient critters that roamed across the earth during the Pleistocene or Ice Age period. The saiga survived while the wooly mammoth and saber-tooted tiger died out. We hope this little wonder will be around for generations to come. It is indeed an ancient treasure of the earth.


From theatlantic.com


Photo Ark

Joel Sartore's Mahogany Glider

Mahogany Glider

Modern day digital Noah and conservationist, Joel Sartore, is documenting the astounding beauty and variety of the world of beasts. “When we save species,” he wisely observes, “we are saving ourselves.” He has worked for many years as a freelance photographer for National Geographic magazine and has a knack of capturing the vibrancy of life in each creature that he captures on film.

His beautiful animal images have been projected with light on a grand scale against famous landmarks such as the Vatican in Rome, and the Empire State Building in New York.

A Sumatran tiger is projected onto the Vatican in an effort to raise awareness for the extinction crisis.

“My goal is to photograph as many of the world’s captive species as I can before time runs out” states Joel. “I’m at about 3,500 now, and just getting started. I work mostly at zoos and aquariums, today’s keepers of the kingdom. Many species would already be gone without their heroic captive-breeding efforts.”

His beautiful and informative book, “Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species,” attempts to give a voice to the disappearing beloved beasts of our time. There is still hope, Sartore explains, but we need to act now before these animals disappear forever.