It isn't easy being green, or white in this case... Or is it? Scientists have struggled for years to understand the snowy plumage of Barn Owls they would see in the wild, compared to others that were various shades of red. Even more interesting, though they are nocturnal hunters, there are many more white-colored barn owls than red, pointing to an advantage of some sort. But how could a bright white creature on the backdrop of night have a natural advantage, it just seemed completely backwards. Recent research finally answered the question ornithologists (bird nerds) have been chomping at the bit to answer.
Big cats in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. In fact, within our lifetime, lions in the wild could disappear forever. In support of World Lion Day (August 10), we're raising money to preserve big cats—like lions—and their habitats through National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative.
Your donation, no matter how small, will make a very real difference in the lives of these majestic creatures. From building livestock enclosures to save snow leopards in Nepal to combating lion snaring and poaching in Zambia, the Big Cats Initiative provides on-the-ground conservation and education support to preserve big cat populations worldwide. 100 percent of your donation supports the fieldwork and expeditions of the Society's scientists and explorers, and our work to share their remarkable discoveries with the world.
Earlier that same day, before using his old body building accolades to define a trophy, he posted another message to big cat hunters on Instagram.
July 30 was also Arnold's birthday. The former governor of California chose to spread a little message against big cat hunting while turning 68 years old.
On Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said the man thought to have paid $50,000 (£32,000) for the chance to kill Cecil was not a Spaniard as originally believed, but US citizen Walter Palmer, from a small town near Minneapolis. The man left the lion skinned and headless on the outskirts of the park, the ZCTF's Johnny Rodrigues said in a statement.
The hunt took place around 6 July. "They went hunting at night with a spotlight and they spotted Cecil," Rodrigues said. "They tied a dead animal to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park and they scented an area about half a kilometre from the park."
The 13-year-old lion was wearing a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University research project that had been running since 1999, making it possible to trace his last movements. Rodrigues said the hunters tried to destroy the collar, but failed.
Here's some Oxford University footage of Cecil in his habitat:
Palmer pictured below on the left with another lion he killed, not Cecil, has received wide spread condemnation from just about everyone.
Given that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I imagine that some of you have procrastinated in picking up the hero of the annual meal. In case your local market is out of the fully prepped birds, you can always go the natural route and hunt one down yourself. This morning talk show advises you on what equipment you'll need and how NOT to use it.