Project NOAH Spotting of the Day:
Spectral Tarsier (Tarsier tarsier)
Small nocturnal primate, endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia. they have enormous eyes, each eyeball is approximately 16 mm in diameter and is as large as its entire brain.
Tarsiers are one of the main attractions at Tangkoko Batuangus National Park (the other being the black crested macaque). My guide and I went out late afternoon to look for them. He knew a few trees to check, as they live inside tree holes during the day. We found them in the first tree we checked. Three of them living in the tree. At one point all three of them were sitting on the tree, scanning their surroundings, waiting for night to fall. As soon as it got dark, just after 6pm, they left the tree with lightning speed and we soon lost sight of them.
Text/Photo: Dan Doucette
(via: Project NOAH)
someone in the world is maimed or killed by a landmine every hour. apopo is a not for profit ngo that has spent the last twenty years developing and implementing “hero rats” to clear affected areas of their landmines - over 1500 in tanzania, where apopo is headquartered, 2,728 in mozambique, and 657 in thailand. there also ongoing operations in angola and cambodia.
rats are known to be amongst the most sensitive animals when it comes to smell, with more functional genes for their olfactory system than any other mammal. a rat’s nose is constantly active and moving, and is always close to ground where vapour concentrations are highest and wind speeds are lowest.
the african giant pouched rat, being highly sociable and native to sub saharan africa, is specifically trained to detect tnt and mine casing minerals. using a combination of click training and food rewarding that begins shortly after birth and lasts nine months, the rats are able to cover 100 square metres of land in 20 minutes - something a human would need an entire day to do.
weighing just over a kilogram, the rats are too light to set off a landmine, and not one has died from the work. apopo adheres to very strict animal welfare protocols, and the rats are treated with the greatest of care and attention, with most meeting their expected eight years of life.
photos by sylvain piraux. consider adopting a rat, where you’ll get real time updates on your rat’s training and life saving work. you can also chose to instead have your rat trained to sniff out tuberculosis in sub saharan african villages (apopo has trained rats to do in ten minutes what it takes lab technicians a day to detect)
There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.
Before starlings roost, their maneuvers create mesmerizing aerial displays. To achieve synchronicity, each bird shadows seven of its nearest neighbors. EARTHFLIGHT: Europe on NATURE on PBS (check local listings) or watch the full episode of EARTHFLIGHT online.