Tortoises and Dolphins and Pandas, oh my!
Ok, so not as many articles as i thought there might be, but here’s another one before i start school tomorrow!!! This one is a THREE-FOR-ONE special! We have an article on the Seychelles Giant Tortoise, the Amazon River Dolphin AND the Red Panda!
First of is the Seychelles Giant Turquoise! This not-so-little critter has been extinct in the wild since 1840. Originally, they were thought to be completely extinct until 12 individuals were accidentally found! Almost every single other species of Giant Tortoise is now extinct except the Aldabra giant tortoise, due to its isolated location. The Seychelles Giant Tortoise is actually unique in its shape compared to other giant tortoises! Today, the oldest living tortoise is a 181-year-old Seychelles Giant Tortoise who lives on Saint Helena named Jonathan!!!
Next is the Amazon River Dolphin. This species is the largest species of river dolphins and due to an unfused vertebrae are amazingly able to turn their necks 180 degrees!!!! These dolphins are the last left in their lineage and are mainly found in the floodplains of the Amazon river, but due to overfishing and pollution are seriously endangered today. Due to these dolphins influence on the native populations of humans in the area, there are some very interesting legends about them! One of them is very similar to the white woman of Mexico. In the Brazilian version, however, there is a dolphin who turns into a young man and seduces women in the area, impregnates them, and leaves to return to the river again. This creature is called an encantado, which roughly means enchanted in English. They apparently, will even kidnap people who get too close to the water and take them to the land of the Encantado.
Finally, we have the amazing Red Panda! Sadly, this animal is also the last of its lineage. Interestingly enough, however, the Red Panda is more closely related to raccoons than it is to any kind of bear. Due to its low numbers, even though it is illegal to kill these creatures now, the population continues to decrease due to deforestation and inbreeding depression, or in other words, Red Pandas that participate in inbreeding due to the unavailability of other mates, produce defective offspring, that either do not live to maturation or are sterile. These little guys are found today in China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan, all of which have claimed the Red Panda a protected species. Conservation efforts today seem to be going quite well as over 300 red pandas have been born in captivity, increasing their population substantially.
You’ve all heard of the browser Mozilla Firefox right? Well interestingly enough, the Firefox logo is actually based on the red panda! That’s right!! In China, the Red Panda is called “火狐” or “fire-fox”. Even Master Shifu, in Kung-Fu Panda is a Red Panda!
At any rate, I hope to write more articles soon, but i hope this article tides you over until then!!