Przewalski’s Horse

Przewalski Horse

In the Chinese calendar, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. People born in horse years are innovative communicators, clever, cheerful, and are triumphant in what they do. (Sam, you are a Rooster and your next “Year” will be in 2017.) I bring this up because the Przewalski Horse is indigenous to Central Asia.

However! It is extinct in the wild due to hunting, interbreeding with domesticated horses, the regular things that humans do to make animals extinct. However! There are about 1,500 P. Horses in captivity and they are being reintroduced into the wild again to graze the windswept steppes of central Asia. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute successfully bred a foal through artificial insemination, which gives hope to increasing herd numbers. Go SCIENCE!

The real question is, “How do you pronounce Przewalski?” (The name of the Russian explorer who “discovered” the breed.)

shuh-VAL-skee 

Still unsure of the pronunciation? Just use ‘P. Horse.’ It is acceptable among smart people and people who can’t pronounce Polish.

Endangered

Elephant Shrew

ElephantShrew_flat

In the mid-13th centuries the shrew was believed to have a venomous bite. People were afraid and superstitious of the tiny mammal, and therefore when a woman acted anything but docile, she was referred to as a “shrew.” It was implied that she was a “peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman.”

But the shrew is not poisonous. They are like moles or mice. The Elephant Shrew is actually not a “true shrew.” They eat insects and have scaly tails like a opossum and sometimes hop around like little rabbits. They are pretty cool. In 2009, an Elephant Shrew was born at the National Zoo which is rare: 

So go right ahead and call me a “shrew.” Because I will take that to mean I am monogamous, industrious, and independent, with a flexible nose.

 

threat-categories-VU

 

 

Tufted Deer

TuftedDeer

The most punk rock member of the Cervidea family is the Tufted Deer. Their politics are subversive, their attitude slightly hostile and fast-paced. They have a large tuft of black hair on their forehead, which is effortlessly unconcerned. They live in China and stuff, rejecting mainstream. They even rebel against norms of height, being smaller than a regular American White Tail deer.

What makes them most distinctive are their fangs. Oi! I said fangs.

Yes. Also known as the “Vampire Deer,” males have protruding canines used during fights (their antlers are small, and it’s difficult to locate brass knuckles for hooves). They are also known to confuse predators by flapping their tails up and down when running away. Predators are like, “What the what is happening?!” giving the deer time to get out of there, get home, and listen to The Clash.

Near Threatened

Fossa

Fossa

 

I’m not sure what it is about the island of Madagascar. It has so many interesting species of animal which are exclusive to their island. Plus those  cartoon movies featuring talking animals. Not too shabs.

Anyway, lets get back to the fabulous Fossa.

The Fossa, although it resembles a cat, is actually related to the Mongoose (so already, you know this animal is tough). On average, they grow to be about 24 – 32″ long and that is NOT counting their tail; which is the same length of their bodies. Their long tails help them balance while jumping from tree to tree. Something else that helps them in the trees? Slightly webbed feet and retractable claws.  Duck/Cat/Mongoose.  WHAT??????!!!!

If you are a Lemur and you see a Fossa, it’s probably the last thing you’ll ever see. The Fossa is a super amazing hunter and has a total hankering for Lemur meat. If a Fossa wants to eat your furry face off, I hope you’ve done everything on your bucket list, cause you gonna die.

Unfortunately, like so many animals we talk about, the Fossa is endangered because humans are big fat jerks and have deforested their habitat.  Farmers  also hunt Fossa to protect their livestock. I know that it’s nice to try and protect animals from being eaten, but the Fossa was their first! Oi. I don’t have all the answers to the world’s problems. But I do have a question, “Can’t we all just get along?”