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!
As a child, I wanted to be many things. A sportsman, a zookeeper, a wizard, a jedi. Apart from my father however, I only ever wanted to be one person; I wanted to be Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. From as early as I can remember, and probably earlier still if you ask my parents, I could spend hours at a time sitting down watching Steve leaping out of boats onto crocodiles, and rushing after and picking up venomous snakes. Perhaps most importantly though, I was absorbing his passion for any, and all animals.