The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

The Rachel Carson Reserve (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

  All photos by Maymie Higgins This past summer I visited a part of the North Carolina coast I had yet to explore in spite of being a lifelong resident … Continue reading

March 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

Dying For The Perfect Photo: The Selfies With Animals Epidemic

Originally posted on I.C.A.R.U.S Inc.:
In recent years, selfies have become a global phenomenon. Worse, they’ve become a leading cause of accidental death for people all…

March 13, 2016 · 2 Comments

Update on Cecil’s Cubs

Originally posted on The Jaguar:
Cecil – Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (c) by Vince O’Sullivan. CC BY-NC 2.0 You may remember that when Cecil the lion was killed in July…

October 4, 2015 · 2 Comments

Harapan the Hairy Rhino (And Hero!) (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

There are only about 100 Sumatran rhinos, also called Hairy rhinos, left in existence and only nine of them are cared for in captivity. Of those nine, there is only one … Continue reading

September 10, 2015 · Leave a comment

African Lion

Scientific Name: Panthera leo  Panthera is latin for leopard. Leo is latin for lion. Taxonomy currently used by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources SSC Cat … Continue reading

August 16, 2015 · Leave a comment

A Near Complete Commercial Trade Ban on Ivory in the United States (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Ivory Crush at Times Square (photo from the Creative Commons) It is estimated that one elephant is killed in Africa every 15 minutes, mostly conducted by militias and militants turning … Continue reading

August 6, 2015 · Leave a comment

White Nose Syndrome: Formidable but Not Undefeatable (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Some months ago I shared with readers information about the ecological and economical value bats provide in the widely various ecosystems in which they live. They are particularly valuable in … Continue reading

May 31, 2015 · Leave a comment

One of the World’s Largest and Oldest Sustainability Projects (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

After the difficult winter of 2015, many of us have our hearts and minds transfixed on outdoor gardening activities. In my gardening research, I came across a huge success story … Continue reading

May 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

Earth Day 2015: Pledge an Act of Green

Wednesday, April 22 is Earth Day. Why don’t you go over to the Earth Day website and let them know how your actions do and will show reverence for this … Continue reading

April 21, 2015 · Leave a comment

How to Honor Earth Hour on March 28

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organized by World Wildlife Fund. Earth Hour was started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia … Continue reading

March 27, 2015 · Leave a comment

World Water Day 2015

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated World Water Day, to be celebrated annually on March 22, with the purpose of raising awareness and making a difference for people … Continue reading

March 23, 2015 · 2 Comments

Circuses as Conservationist Organizations? (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

All photos from the Creative commons. This week, Feld Entertainment announced that the thirteen elephants now traveling with the three Ringling Bros. Circus units will be retired in 2018. They … Continue reading

March 15, 2015 · 2 Comments

Attention All Lovers of Frogs and Toads!

    You are needed to help with FrogWatch USA, which is a national scientific study on toads and frogs that has been conducted for more than ten years! FrogWatch … Continue reading

March 11, 2015 · 2 Comments

World Wildlife Day

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day for the purpose of celebrating plant and animal biodiversity, to recall the interconnectedness of human life and … Continue reading

March 2, 2015 · Leave a comment

World Pangolin Day (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Saturday, February 21 was World Pangolin Day. On this day, pangolin advocates join together to increase awareness about these cute, special and rare mammals. Pangolin numbers in Asia are rapidly … Continue reading

March 1, 2015 · Leave a comment

Chipmunks and Carbon Storage (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Sometimes the best positive stories of the environment come from our own backyard. When you sum up the effects of millions of backyard naturalists, the positive impact is significant for … Continue reading

February 17, 2015 · Leave a comment

Orangutans and the Great Ape Conservation Fund (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Earlier this month, I wrote about Sandra, an orangutan at the Buenos Aires Zoo and a landmark ruling on animal rights. I am following up with more information about the … Continue reading

January 31, 2015 · Leave a comment

Sentient Sandra and a Landmark Ruling on Animal Rights (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Last month, amid the holiday hustle and bustle and with little fanfare, a landmark legal ruling in the world history of animal rights occurred in Argentina. The ruling concerned an … Continue reading

January 20, 2015 · Leave a comment

Practices that Must End: Sensational Nature Programs

What is It? Sensational nature programs are the scripted and filmed activities of humans inserting themselves into wild animal habitats for a variety of entertainment possibilities. This programming type runs … Continue reading

December 20, 2014 · Leave a comment

Being Human, Being Caribou, and Being Wild (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

The Wilderness Act was signed into law in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson. Therefore, this year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of a law which created the National Wilderness Preservation … Continue reading

December 18, 2014 · Leave a comment

Owl Be Home for Christmas (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Text and Photos by Maymie Higgins Sundays are usually the only day I can afford the indulgence of sleeping until awaking naturally, instead of to the incessant beeping of a … Continue reading

November 29, 2014 · Leave a comment

That’s No Monkey! That’s Kendall! (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

Talk to any zoo keeper about great apes and you may see them cringe substantially when it comes to two topics. The first topic has to do with the discernment … Continue reading

November 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

National Bison Day (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

November 1 is National Bison Day. You can get in on the celebration through the Beards for Bison campaign by visiting which is organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society. … Continue reading

October 30, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Only Good Wolf is a Live Wolf

October 12th-18th is Wolf Awareness Week. During wolf week in 2013, I wrote about conservation efforts to preserve red wolves (Canis rufus). It has been a bad year for red … Continue reading

October 17, 2014 · 1 Comment

Sugarloaf Trail and a Dune that Proves Nature Can Be Preserved for Thousands of Years (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

All text and photographs by Maymie Higgins Last year, I wrote about a hike on Flytrap Trail which is located in a park that exists on my favorite spot on … Continue reading

October 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

Shovels and Shade Provide Healing at the Footprints of Terror (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

Recently, I visited New York and New Jersey in order to attend a family reunion. My last visit to Manhattan specifically had been in 1988, when the World Trade Center buildings still … Continue reading

September 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Elephant and Rhino Conservation: Three Encouraging Events in One Year (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

In September, 2013, conservation groups announced a three-year $80 million Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to bring together NGOs, governments, and concerned citizens to stop the slaughter of … Continue reading

August 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

International Tiger Day 2014

Tuesday, July 29 is International Tiger Day. International Tiger Day is held annually on July 29 to give worldwide attention to the preservation of tigers.  It was founded at the Saint … Continue reading

July 29, 2014 · Leave a comment

State of the Rhinoceros: Ten Things You Need to Know

  There are five species of rhinoceros:  Black, White, Greater-one horned, Javan and Sumatran. Three of the five species have an imperiled listing by the International Union for Conservation of Nature … Continue reading

July 25, 2014 · Leave a comment

The AAZK, Bowling for Rhinos and National Zoo Keeper Week (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

By Maymie Higgins If you think zoo keepers and aquarists merely prepare food, feed animals, play with animals and scoop poop (or in the case of aquarists, continuously balance the nitrogen … Continue reading

July 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

What You Should Know About Amphibians

All photos courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service It’s summertime and hopefully many of you have kids that are outdoors exploring.  Some of you will be having conversations … Continue reading

July 12, 2014 · Leave a comment

Extinct in the Wild: Guam Rail

Scientific Name: Gallirallus owstoni Historic Range and Habitat:   Most habitats on Guam, including forest, savanna, scrub, secondary grassland, fern thickets and agricultural areas, foraging along field edges and roadsides.  What … Continue reading

June 29, 2014 · 2 Comments

Extinct in the Wild: Kihansi Spray Toad

Scientific Name: Nectophrynoides asperginis Historic Range and Habitat:   The Udzungwa Mountains of eastern Tanzania in a very small range that is in the spray zone of Kihansi Falls in the Kihansi Gorge. What Kihansi … Continue reading

June 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

Extinct in the Wild: Polynesian Tree Snail

Scientific Name: Partula nodosa Historic Range and Habitat:   Valleys and forested slopes of volcanic islands of the South Pacific, particularly the Society Islands of French Polynesia, including Tahiti. More than … Continue reading

June 24, 2014 · 1 Comment

Extinct in the Wild: Père David’s Deer

Scientific Name: Elaphurus davidianus Historic Range: Native to China. Fossils have been discovered in regions east of Xi’an and south of Harbin. Père David’s deer evolved in the Pliocene period … Continue reading

June 22, 2014 · 3 Comments

Brown Pelicans: An Endangered Species Recovery Success Story (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was a warm, sunny autumn afternoon and I was out for a stroll at my favorite spot on this Earth. October … Continue reading

June 17, 2014 · Leave a comment

Extinct in the Wild: Hawaiian Crow

Scientific Name: Corvus hawaiiensis, also known as ‘Alalā (Cry like a child) Historic Range: The Hawaiian Crow is native to the Big Island and was most populous in upland forests, … Continue reading

June 17, 2014 · 1 Comment

Extinct in the Wild

During the month of June, I want to take readers on a journey of exploration into the topic of animals that have all but disappeared from the planet, but not … Continue reading

June 6, 2014 · 2 Comments

Native Plants and Incidental Entymology (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

While browsing for climbing vines and just for intellectual edification, I glanced over the plant information label for a plant I already have, Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), aka Star Jasmine. … Continue reading

June 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

Sustainable Seafood is the Answer to the Oceans’ Limited Fish Supply

Recently, I visited the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, South Carolina. The aquarium is on the Charleston Harbor and has educational and volunteer staff members who are very engaging and … Continue reading

May 30, 2014 · Leave a comment

Bycatch and Bygones: Ocean Biodiversity in Peril

When humans use several strategies at once in order to improve the odds of reaching a singular goal, we often characterize the approach as “casting a wide net.” While this … Continue reading

May 9, 2014 · 1 Comment

The Diversity of Fishes

I have loved water all my life. It seems all babies do. I was no exception when, as a toddler, I ignored my mother’s warning and jumped into the deep … Continue reading

May 4, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Courage to Challenge Tradition Saved 130 Moon Bears (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Recently, I wrote about the good news that the United Nation’s International Court of Justice ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s annual slaughter of whales in the southern ocean after … Continue reading

May 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

Carnivorous Plants and Startled Animals (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

All text and photos by Maymie Higgins My favorite spot on Earth, Pleasure Island, includes a state park that is home to several carnivorous plants, Carolina Beach State Park. The … Continue reading

April 26, 2014 · Leave a comment


All photos from the Creative Commons. Scientific Name: Arctictis binturong Also known as the “bearcat” because of its resemblance to both, but it is neither a bear nor a cat. … Continue reading

April 19, 2014 · 1 Comment

Eastern Gray Squirrel

All text and photos by Maymie Higgins At no time was my commitment to wildlife more clear to me. There he was, an orphaned tiny squirrel, eyes having just opened … Continue reading

April 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

What is Pollination and Seed Dispersal?

All photos and text by Maymie Higgins This month at The Whisker Chronicles, we will focus on specific plants and animals that are well-known for their interwoven roles in pollination … Continue reading

April 11, 2014 · 1 Comment

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

All photos by Maymie Higgins It is the first Saturday in April and I am sitting at my home office desk. As always, I have my laptop positioned so that … Continue reading

April 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

A Step Closer to the End of Commercial Whaling (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Text by Maymie Higgins All photos courtesy of Stacey Osborne and taken in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, except for photo of Japanese whaling vessel. In 1946, under volunteer agreement … Continue reading

April 5, 2014 · 1 Comment

Who Takes Care of Orphaned, Injured or Kidnapped Wildlife? (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Photo courtesy of The Wildlife Center of Virginia Spring is the time of year when many young animals are born or hatched.  It is also a time of year when … Continue reading

March 28, 2014 · Leave a comment