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.

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

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

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

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

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 http://www.beardsforbison.org/ 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

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

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

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

Binturong

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

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

How Saving Orangutans Can Lower Your Cholesterol (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

In my work as a nurse coach, I often explain to my patients the finer nuances of blood cholesterol laboratory results and how changes in nutrition can improve their numbers.  … Continue reading

February 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

Take the International Polar Bear Day Thermostat Challenge (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

Thursday, February 27 is International Polar Bear Day, celebrated annually by Polar Bears International.  On this day, everyone is invited to join in celebrating it as a day of action … Continue reading

February 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating World Pangolin Day: Temnick’s Ground Pangolin (Cape Pangolin)

Scientific Name:   Manis temminckii Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1976 Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered Conservation Efforts and Partners:    Cape pangolins are protected by legislation in a few … Continue reading

February 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Bornean and Sumatran Orangutan

Scientific Name:   (Pongo pygmaeus) and (Pongo abelii) While all orangutans were previously believed to be subspecies of the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), recent research supports the taxonomic classification of the … Continue reading

February 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

Sun Bear

Scientific Name:  Helarctos malayanus  Helarctos is Greek for “sun” and “bear”.  Malayanus is Latin and refers to “located in Malaysia.” Where Sun Bears Live:    Sun bears live in mainland Southeast … Continue reading

January 30, 2014 · Leave a comment

Evolutionary Bears: Giants and Cave Dwellers

The earliest bear was about the size of a fox terrier dog and is known as the “Dawn Bear” (Ursavus elemensis) and its remains were found in subtropical Europe.  By … Continue reading

January 27, 2014 · Leave a comment

American Black Bear

Scientific Name:  Ursus americanus. Ursus is Latin for “bear.”  Americanus is Latin for “American.” Where American Black Bears Live:    Black bears live in most of North America from Alaska, across … Continue reading

January 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Sloth Bear

Scientific Name:  Melursus ursinus Melursus means “dark (hair) honey bear.”  Ursinus is Latin for “bear.” Where Sloth Bears Live:    Throughout India, Sri Lanka, and further north into Bangladesh, Nepal, and … Continue reading

January 21, 2014 · Leave a comment

Bears in Entertainment

In 2002, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service seized six polar bears in Puerto Rico that were owned by the Suarez Brothers Circus, a circus based in Mexico. The … Continue reading

January 20, 2014 · Leave a comment

Polar Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus Ursus is from Latin ursinus “of or resembling a bear”. Maritimus is from Latin maritimus “of the sea or near the sea”. Where Polar Bears Live: … Continue reading

January 19, 2014 · Leave a comment

Brown Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus arctos Ursus is Latin for “bear”; arctos comes from Greek arktos, meaning bear.  The double meaning here may suggest that brown bears are the archetypal bear. There … Continue reading

January 16, 2014 · Leave a comment

The International Trade in Bear Parts and Bear Bile

As you are reading this, there are an estimated 12,000-20,000 bears confined to tiny cages throughout Asia, primarily in China, Malaysia and Thailand. These bears are victim to the barbaric … Continue reading

January 14, 2014 · 3 Comments

Asiatic Black Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus thibetanus Ursus is from Latin ursinus “of or resembling a bear”. Thibetanus is Latin for “located in Tibet”. Where Asiatic Black Bears Live: Fossil remains of the … Continue reading

January 12, 2014 · Leave a comment

Giant Panda

Scientific Name:  Ailuropoda melanoleuca “Ailuropoda” means black and white panda foot.  “Melano” means black or darkness of hair.  “Leuca” means white or colorless. Where Giant Pandas Live:  Giant pandas prefer … Continue reading

January 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

How Twin Bear Cubs Influenced My Travel Plans

On December 12, 2012, the National Zoo posted on Facebook that their Andean bear, Billie Jean, was showing signs of labor.  Thanks to web cams, many of us watched nervously … Continue reading

January 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Andean Bear

Scientific Name:  Tremarcto ornatus Tremarctos is a combination of Latin words that translate to “tremendous bear”.  Ornatus is in reference to the ornate design on face and around the eyes like … Continue reading

January 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

Bear Evolution 101

I am beginning Bear Month at The Whisker Chronicles with a fairly technical blog in order to elaborate on how very long bears have existed. There are now only a … Continue reading

January 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

Day Twelve of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Moose

Scientific Name:  Alces alces is the Eurasian moose.  Alces americanus is the American moose.

December 25, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Eleven of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Walrus

Scientific Name:  Odobenus rosmarus Odobenus rosmarus is Latin for “tooth-walking sea-horse”.  Walruses use their tusks to haul out onto pack ice and it looks like they are walking on their … Continue reading

December 24, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Ten of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Arctic Fox

Scientific Name:  Vulpes lagopus Vulpes is from the Latin vulpinus which means “of or pertaining to a fox”.

December 23, 2013 · 2 Comments

Day Nine of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Beluga Whale

Scientific Name:  Delphinapterus leucas The word beluga comes from the Russian word “bielo” meaning white. Beluga whales are actually born dark gray and are not white for up to eight … Continue reading

December 22, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Eight of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Wolverine

Scientific Name: Gulo gulo “Gulo” is Latin for glutton and French for gullet or throat.

December 21, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Seven of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Polar Bear

Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus Ursus is from Latin ursinus “of or resembling a bear”. Maritimus is from Latin maritimus “of the sea or near the sea”.

December 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Six of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Narwhal

Scientific Name:  Monodon monoceros  Scientifically named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, Monodon monoceros means “one tooth, one horn”.

December 20, 2013 · Leave a comment

The Sacred Place Where Life Begins (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

In the developed world, we are accustomed to grocery stores, drive-through windows and internet access providing instant gratification and an abundance of resources at our beck and call.  Modern conveniences are fantastic … Continue reading

December 19, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Five of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Dall Sheep

Scientific Name:  Ovis dalli Dall sheep were scientifically named in 1884, “Ovis” is from the Latin word ovinus, meaning sheep.  Dalli is derived from the name of scientist William Healey … Continue reading

December 18, 2013 · Leave a comment

Day Four of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Arctic Hare

Scientific Name: Lepus arcticus Where Arctic Hare Live: Arctic hare live in mountainous tundra, rocky plateaus and treeless coasts along the northernmost regions of Greenland, the Arctic Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador.

December 17, 2013 · 2 Comments

Day Two of Twelve Days of Arctic Animals: Muskoxen

Scientific Name: Ovibos moschatus. The prefix “ovi” is Latin for sheep, “bos” is latin for ox. “Moschatus” is New Latin for musky and refers to the preorbital glands that

December 15, 2013 · Leave a comment

Champions for Cheetahs (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

When humans use analogies of strength and courage, they often conjure up images of large, predatory cats.  Lions are king of the

December 4, 2013 · Leave a comment

November is Manatee Awareness Month (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

November 19, 2013 · Leave a comment

$53 Billion of Organic Pest Control is not Spooky (Written for the Ecotone Exchange)

My street is a typical rural North Carolina subdivision with ecological features that influenced my home purchase.  The narrow road

November 19, 2013 · 1 Comment

Saving Red Wolves: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the AZA Red Wolf SSP (Written for The Ecotone Exchange)

November 19, 2013 · 1 Comment