Malaysia’s tropical rainforests host an incredible array of wildlife, recognised as one of the worlds leading ‘biodiversity hotspots.’ Spending time trekking through the forests, you can see, hear, and sense the presence of this diversity all around you. The huge variety has led to some truly remarkable adaptations and quirks in evolution. Some of these little oddities have seen their owners pushed right to the brink of extinction. One bird species in particular has seen their numbers plummet in a very short amount of time, jumping from being ‘Near Threatened’ straight to ‘Critically Endangered’ in 2015 when the IUCN re-evaluated their conservation status. At this point in time, no one is sure how many of these majestic birds are even left in the wild. The Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) is truly one of the most amazing birds across South-East Asia, but also one of the most endangered.
After their momentous victory in our online poll recently, birds have been all the rage here at Life Gone Wild. The bizarreness of the Hoatzin made it a great candidate to be featured here, but it meant that a host of other brilliant birds missed out on the limelight. To make up for this, we’ve got another bird that we think deserves some attention. We’re delighted to introduce you to one of the most charismatic birds around: The Kākāpō (Strigops habroptila)!
The Hoatzin is a unique denizen of the tropical rainforests of the Amazon in South America. They are fairly widespread across northern and central South America within their rainforest homes, and you can find them fairly frequently beside bodies of water (particularly oxbow lakes and rivers). They spend most of their lives living in the riparian (riverside) vegetation. In fact, they nest in trees and branches that hang over the water! The Hoatzin is about the size of a turkey, with a large rufous coloured crest on top of its head, and blue scaly skin around its large red eye (Hoyo et al 1996). So they look… pretty strange. Strap yourselves in, and hold onto your hats because we’re only just getting started! Physically, behaviourally, and even historically, the Hoatzin is pretty damn weird. Let’s find out what this means!
Animal trafficking is one of the most significant threats to wildlife around the world. However, there is one animal that is threatened in particular by this illegal trafficking. Over one million individuals have been trafficked since 2000. Of the eight species of this animal, every single one of them has been classified as threatened with extinction by the IUCN, with the four found in Asia in the most immediate danger. The pangolin is one of the most bizarre, and now increasingly most threatened, family of animals going around. Strap yourselves in, because this is one weird family!
When I was a child dreaming of helping animals (as Steve Irwin, of course) all sorts of creatures were at the forefront of my mind. But there was one kind of animal that very rarely featured in little Angus’ mind: frogs. Now, after my time in Madagascar, I have a whole new appreciation for these incredible little fellas, who need all the help we can get. SO! In this post we have a doozy of an amphibian! Prepare yourself to meet the one, the only, the incredible lemur leaf frog!
As part of our efforts at Life Gone Wild to bring wildlife and conservation to everyone, we encourage people to request an animal. One that they think is cool, one they’d like to know more about, one that they think needs more attention. It could be almost any reason! Recently, we received our very first request. Little did we realise just how fascinating this species would end up being. This North American wonder has an amazing story. It includes extinction (twice), rediscovery, plagues, drones, genetic research, training schools, peanut butter, and the hard work of many, many people. We are delighted to be able to introduce you to one of the most endangered mammals in the world; the black-footed ferret!
The masters of camouflage: The leaf-tailed geckos of Madagascar!
During my time at the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute, going out and searching for reptiles and amphibians was one of the most enjoyable parts of the job. Day or night, I was (almost) always keen to get out and conduct another reptile survey. Night surveys were particularly interesting. We tended to conduct these only once a week, rather than the at times every day of the daytime hikes, which meant that these were a special (but tiring) treat
One of the most common, and most interesting, birds in Madagascar!
At the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute, we didn’t just focus on reptiles and amphibians! Another big part of our research was looking at the abundance of bird species on Nosy Komba! At the time that I left MRCI, we had nearly 20 different sites across Nosy Komba that we used to conduct bird surveys.
Getting down and dirty to find some stump-toed, tiny frogs!
My favourite thing about working on Nosy Komba was being able to head out into the forest and conduct herpetofauna (reptile and amphibian) surveys EVERY DAY. At 6:30 every morning, we would leave the comfort of camp and hike to one of MRCI's 10 survey sites. Even at that time in the morning, the forests of Nosy Komba were teeming with life. We’d find an assortment of astonishing animals every walk: chameleons, geckos, snakes, frogs, birds, and lemurs, and that was before the survey!
Panthers in Madagascar?? Yes indeed, though perhaps not quite what you were expecting! Check out our latest post and learn all about these awesome reptiles!
When I landed in Nosy Be, an island off the coast of north-western Madagascar, after over a day spent in transit, I could not wait to dive in and get started. Although I was apprehensive about being in a totally different environment to what I was used to, I wanted to be in the forest, finding animals as quickly as possible! Luckily for me, it wasn't long at all until I got my first look at some of the wildlife of Madagascar.