The Red Fox is a carnivore has the widest range of any terrestrial carnivore. It is endemic to Alaska, Canada, US, Europe, North Africa and Asia. It was also introduce to Australia in the 19th century. It gets its name from its fur which is predominantly reddish-brown.
Arctic Fox (Alopex lagopus or Vulpes lagopus)
As its name implies, this species of fox is native to the cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This animal is one of the few species that is capable of living in the most frigid extremes of the planet. It has thick fur and its furry paws allow it to walk on ice in search of food. Likewise, it has very keen sense of hearing that it can accurately locate the position of prey under the snow. Other common names of this species are White Fox and Snow Fox.
Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
The common name of this fox is somewhat confusing - Raccoon Dog. A raccoon and a dog are two different species of animals. Because of its similarity to a raccoon it was named Raccoon Dog. It is endemic to China, Korea and Japan. It can live up to 11 years. Population of this species of fox declined due to hunting.
Bat-eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis)
The Bat-eared Fox is a nocturnal species native to the savannas of Africa. Much of its food intake, about 80%, is insects like termites and locus. It also eats fruits, rodents, bird and eggs.
Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda)
Another nocturnal species of fox is the Fennec Fox. It is well known for having large pair of ears. It can be found in Sahara Desert. Its long ears can reach a measurement of up to 16 inches. To protect itself from hot sand, the soles of its feet are covered with thick fur. Much of the diet is desert vegetation, from which the Fennec Fox gets most of its water.
This fox is unique. The Silver Fox, which was domesticated by Russians, is the result of nearly 50 years of experiments.
This fox has now become more dog-like; it wagged its tail when happy and began to vocalize and bark like domesticated dogs.
Crab-eating Fox (Cerdocyon thous)
If most species of foxes are either carnivores or herbivores, the Crab-eating Fox is different – it feeds on crabs, hence the name. This huge-sized nocturnal fox that can weight up to 17 pounds can be found in South America. It is also commonly known as the Forest Fox, Wood Fox and the Common Fox.
Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
The Maned Wolf is the largest canid of South America. It is a critically threatened species. It can be found in open and semi-open habitats and can be found in almost all the South American nations.
Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Another fox species from the Americas is the Gray Fox, a carnivore that inhabits Canada down to Colombia. Its most prominent characteristics are its grizzled upper parts, strong neck and black-tipped tail. It also possesses the ability to climb trees, which is shared only with Asian Raccoon Dog among canids.
Blandford’s Fox (Vulpes cana)
The Blanford’s Fox is native to the Middle East. This small fox’s most prominent feature is its large ears. Its large ears enable it to dissipate heat. Most desert foxes have pads covered with hair but the Blanford’s Fox doesn’t have pads covered with hair. It also has long tail almost as long its body length. This fox feeds on seedless grapes, ripe melons and Russian chives.
Cape Fox (Vulpes chama)
The Cape Fox is a nocturnal species with black or silver gray fur with flanks and underside in light yellow. The tip of its tail is always black. Other common names of this species are Cama Fox and Silver-backed Fox.
Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac)
One of the handsomest but ferocious-looking species of fox is the Corsac Fox. It is widely spread throughout the central steppes of Asia. Like some of the species of fox, it is also threatened by hunting for the fur trade. It is also known as the Steppe Fox.
I fell in love with a baby elephant (and packed my trunk to live in the jungle)
09th December 2009
Recently I found a photograph of a young woman I once knew. Her hair was professionally straightened and styled, her make-up immaculate and her body clad in the latest designer clothes.
It took me a few minutes to realise that the girl staring out of the photograph was me.
Seven years ago, when the snapshot was taken, I was a career girl who spent every penny on clothes and going out. I was the sort of girl who spent hours making sure my face and body looked perfect before I would consider leaving the house.
Life changing: Meeting a baby elephant in Thailand led to Katherine leaving her career, family and friends behind
Today, I live in a pair of cheap plastic flip-flops. Instead of cleansing my face with Clarins, my beauty regime consists of standing underneath a hosepipe of freezing cold water, then tying my hair back to dry.
My face is free of make-up, and my wardrobe consists of a tatty pair of jeans and several threadbare T-shirts. And yet I couldn't be happier.
Because here - sleeping on the floor of a wooden hut in the Thai jungle that has become my home - is where I have found true peace, happiness and love.
When I think back to the days when this photograph was taken, it seems like a different world.
I was a merchandising manager for Gap, and my life revolved around my career - and clothes. Our store was based in a fashionable area of London and I couldn't wait to walk up and down gazing in the windows of all the top designer clothes shops during my lunch breaks.
I had never even met an elephant before - but suddenly, every instinct in my body was telling me I had to care for this one
Every penny I earned was spent on must-have outfits and accessories. Handbags were another obsession.
Meanwhile, my bathroom was crammed with make-up and creams. My family joked that I couldn't leave the house without spending two hours getting ready. I would wash my hair, straighten it, paint my nails and apply my make-up like a professional.
Life seemed perfect. I worked hard at my job and played hard with a bunch of like-minded, fun career girls.
But then, in April 2002, when I was 21, I decided to take a break. My plan was to fly to Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia, before returning home and working my way up in retail management.
It all seemed so simple, a relaxing holiday before returning to give my all to my career.
I sold my house and used some of the money to buy a round-the-world ticket. At first all went to plan. It was a dream holiday, and by the time I arrived in Thailand, I was in good spirits.
Then one day I decided to join some other tourists I'd met on a visit to an elephant conservation centre in northern Thailand.
New love: Katherine swapped her designer clothes and nights out for a simple life in the jungle caring for elephants
I had always loved seeing pictures of elephants as a child, but this was my first chance to actually see elephants up close. I watched some of the elephants perform in a show, and then took an elephant ride.
It was a lovely day and I was on my way out when I saw a sign for a baby elephant. It pointed up a hill to a steep track. I had never seen a baby elephant before and suddenly I felt excited and curious.
I walked up and found myself in a clearing. Then, standing behind a fence, I saw a small grey baby elephant. He saw me straight away and ran to the fence.
As I stood, mesmerised, he raised his trunk and blew warm air softly into my face. And in that instant my life changed.
As the baby elephant began to tug at my shoelaces, tears rolled down my cheeks. I had never even met an elephant before - but suddenly, every instinct in my body was telling me I had to care for this one.
I had never experienced love at first sight - until now. I'm not sure what the other tourists thought of me as I stood there weeping, but I didn't care.
I loved the elephant's little grey body covered in soft downy hair, and his twinkling eyes. I loved the powerful mother who stood watchful by his side.
That evening, I didn't leave with the rest of the tourists. Instead, I went to find the owner of the sanctuary - and begged him to allow me to stay for a few weeks to work, unpaid, with the elephants.
He was astounded. They had never had a volunteer from outside Thailand - let alone a young girl who knew nothing about elephants. But to my delight, he agreed.
That night, I went for dinner with my mother, who had flown to spend a week with me before my trip to Australia.
When I told her I wanted to stay and work with the elephants, she was stunned. But, like my friends, she assumed it was a whim and I would continue my journey after a few weeks.
Shared passion: Katherine and Anon on their wedding day, with one of the elephants from the sanctuary they set up together
Perhaps I might have moved on eventually, but then fate took a hand. I had been helping out at the sanctuary for a few weeks when the owner of the baby elephant, Boon Lott, announced he was going to be sold to a tourist animal show in Thailand, where he would have been forced to wear outfits and beaten mercilessly to perform in sick acts like standing on his head, walking a tightrope and riding a bicycle.
After pocketing the money for the baby elephant, Boon Lott's owner could put his mother straight back to work logging in the jungle, because she would be no longer breast-feeding.
For Boon Lott - who had been born three months prematurely and was weak and undersized - apart from the brutality he would suffer, separation from his mother when he was still suckling could have killed him.
It may sound strange, but I felt I had no choice but to buy the baby elephant who had turned my life around.
I caught a bus from the small hut in the jungle which I had made my home, and travelled for miles to find a town with a telephone and an internet café.
There, I contacted my parents, friends and colleagues back home, begging them all for money to help me buy Boon Lott.
Within a week, I had raised the asking price of £3,500. I had gone from no responsibilities to being the owner of a helpless baby elephant.
I paid for Boon Lott to stay at the sanctuary with his mother Pang Tong, and played with him every day.
When I washed him down, he would try to grab the hose and give me a soaking. We played hide and seek - and when I hid, he would squeal and wander around looking for me.
I bonded with these gentle, intelligent animals and for the first time in my working life, I was learning something new everyday
He learned to play football - kicking the ball back to me with his huge feet.
And when I lay on the ground exhausted, he would flop down beside and place his trunk around my shoulders. It was like being caught in a holiday romance.
I missed my family and friends, but I didn't mind existing on my savings.
My diet was two bowls of rice a day, and I quickly lost a stone in weight. But I realised that caring for the elephants gave me more job satisfaction than my career in retail had ever done.
I bonded with these gentle, intelligent animals and for the first time in my working life, I was learning something new everyday.
Then one morning, I arrived at the sanctuary to find an appalling scene. As I heard Pang Tong's cries of horror, I knew something had happened to Boon Lott and I started to run.
I arrived to find him lying helplessly at the bottom of a hill, his back legs flailing. He had somehow stumbled and fallen down the hill, hurting his leg on the way, and now could not stand.
A group of elephant keepers stood shaking their heads, saying he would die. I started to scream: 'You can't hurt him. He's my elephant. He needs a proper X-ray.'
We loaded him on to a truck and took him to the animal hospital within the sanctuary.
There, I comforted him for hours while we waited for a vet. He was terrified and shaking, and kept leaning his body into mine for support. No bones were broken, but he couldn't stand.
I will never forget the look on his face - it was harrowing. He had damaged all the nerves in his legs in his fall and, while his legs were paralysed, he was in agony.
That night, I made a bed of hay and laid beside him, stroking his face. I promised I would never leave him. With his mother nearby, Boon Lott began to take painful and slow steps back to recovery over the next six months.
Unspoilt: Katherine and her daughter Hope with one of their elephants
I was not alone in the stables. Another elephant was brought in with severe burns from a forest fire. Her mahout - or elephant boy, a carer who will find food for an elephant, look after it and work with it - slept in the hay beside her.
He introduced himself as Anon, and as we nursed our sick elephants together, we began to learn about our vastly different lives.
Anon had never left his small Thai village, buried deep in the jungle, before. His father had died when he was 16, leaving him the precious family elephant - one of the few sources of income for those in the rural villages, because elephants and mahouts could earn a good wage in the jungle.
Forced to leave school and earn a living, Anon had worked hard each day, moving logs with his elephant. He had never watched a film, used a mobile phone or dated a girl.
He lived in a small wooden Thai hut with his mother, grandparents and younger brother. He was the same age as me, but possessed none of the worldy-wise confidence of the boys I knew back home.
He was shy, sweet and quickly became a good friend. We were both missing our families, and that drew us together. I knew I would miss him when he left for his old life in the jungle, but I didn't realise my own life was about to come crashing down around me.
Just as he was recovering, Boon Lott broke his back leg during an attempt to X-ray him.
I slept on the wooden floor of the hut Anon shared with his family, I survived on £70 a month - I found myself happier than ever before
I had gone to take a shower, and when I returned to the animal hospital after an hour away, I found him lying in agony, his trunk dangling along the floor. When I saw what had happened - the jagged broken bone sticking out from the skin - I was sick.
In his agony, he kept reaching with his trunk to try to pull me close. But I knew he was too weak to survive such an injury.
He died days later in my arms, aged two years and seven months old, from the stress and pain of the injury.
It was June 2004 and I was bereft. Anon left the sanctuary for his village the following day - and overnight, I had nothing left for me in Thailand.
I went back to the hut where I had stayed, and longed to go home. What had started out as a wonderful adventure had turned into the biggest tragedy of my life.
I flew home and my parents - shocked at my skeletal appearance - welcomed me back to their London home.
My friends called around, eager to take me to the clubs and restaurants I had always enjoyed, and I quickly found a job as a senior manager with Marks and Spencer.
My old life should have taken off. But nothing seemed genuine any more. A few weeks later, I found the piece of paper with a telephone number which Anon had given me and I knew I had to get in touch. It was for the only telephone in his village.
By now, I spoke fluent Thai. But the local dialect in Anon's village was so strong that no one could understand me.
I repeated Anon's name over and over again, and finally, Anon came to the phone. It felt wonderful to hear his voice. I told him how miserable I was and he told me to return, saying: 'You dreamed of opening an elephant sanctuary. You raise the money and I will find land. We will open one together.'
He gave my life a purpose once more. I threw myself into fundraising. Every penny I owned went into my elephant fund.
I decided to sell all my designer clothes. I gathered my shoes and handbags, which had cost me thousands of pounds. And I sold the entire lot at a car boot sale for less than £100.
When Anon rang to say he had found some land in April 2006, I flew back to Thailand.
There, after travelling for hours through thick jungle, I found myself in his village.
Nobody had seen an English girl before. I was greeted by the village elder, who asked me: 'Do you want to marry Anon?' I insisted we were just friends, but I felt an overwhelming happiness to be with him.
With the money I had raised, Anon and I bought the land to build our sanctuary for sick and mistreated elephants.
At night, I slept on the wooden floor of the hut he shared with his family. I survived on £70 a month. I found myself happier than ever before.
Who knew? A poacher can receive up to £924 per kilogram of elephant tusk
Within a month of our sanctuary opening we had four elephants, Sumai, Pang Tong and two others who had been abused by their owners which we had managed to buy.
My days were filled with caring for them. I washed them and tended old wounds. It was then - one night over an open fire - that Anon told me he loved me.
I was madly in love with this gentle, caring man, but I had been too scared to risk our friendship and our sanctuary by making the first move. Now my life seemed complete.
A year later, we were married by monks in a simple ceremony. I'd always dreamed of a huge white wedding with a designer dress. Instead, I wore a simple white dress with a jasmine flower in my hair.
My bridesmaids were our six elephants, who stood running their trunks up and down my dress until I was covered in mud.
My parents had met Anon and although they missed me terribly, they could see I was far happier living in the jungle with nothing, than I had been when I had money and a career and boyfriends back in England.
Our daughter Hope was born in October 2007, and has been raised among the elephants.
As soon as she learned to walk, she would toddle towards them and they would guide her gently with their trunks.
I sometimes lie awake at night and think what life might have brought me. I once dreamed of financial security, of owning a home with all the latest mod cons, with a husband who had a career and a child surrounded with the latest toys.
Instead, I have a husband who has only once left his village. He goes fishing during the day and we cook whatever he catches at night.
Our daughter plays with elephants and makes toys out of empty water bottles. She is happy and unspoilt.
At 28, I am giddy in love. Our son Noah was born a month ago. Here, with elephants roaming free around him, he will learn the true meaning of love.
Lopburi, Thailand, 29 November 2009: Long-tailed macaque monkeys gather at the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple for the 29th annual monkey buffet festival. The festival provides food and drink to the local monkey population, which numbers more than 2,000, thanking them for drawing tourists to the town
Long-tailed macaque monkeys gather at the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple for the annual monkey buffet festival in Lopburi
The monkeys draw tourits to the area
Monkey statues in fancy dress with trays of drinks and sweets wait for the monkeys
Orphans compare the meerkat: Babies snuggle up to cuddly toy after mother dies in childbirth
These adorable orphaned babies compared the meerkat - and decided that the cuddly toy version was just like their dead mother.
The five baby meerkats lost their parent, Anika, shortly after chidbirth, after the trauma of labour combined with her age proved too much.
But rather than leave them alone, owner Steve Rowlands, 28, came up with an ingenious way to get them through what could have been a difficult childhood.
Mother figure: The cuddly toy has become a replacement mother for the meerkat babies
Using a ten-inch tall meerkat cuddly toy and a hot water bottle, he has now managed to recreate the motherly experience for the tiny creatures.
Now the furry four-inch animals get a near-authentic start to life at their home at Tropical Inc in Oldbury, West Midlands.
'The babies are a month old now and they lost their mum just two days after they were born,' said Mr Rowlands.
'We bought the toy to try and lessen the trauma for them and try and make things as natural as possible. We put it in with them and they just snuggled up to it like it was their mother.
'To recreate the warmth that Anika would have given off we also found a small hot water bottle and got the right temperature. They now assume that the toy is their mum and they are acting completely normally around it.
Snuggling up: The five meerkats assume the toy is their mother and act completely normal around it, said owner Steve Rowlands
'Of course every hour we have to feed them milk ourselves, but use miniature little bottles which recreate how they would get it from mum.
'We even give it to them near the toy so they can't tell the difference between it and their mother - it's a really good result.'
The meerkat is a member of the mongoose family and is native to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and South Africa. They are renowned for how they act as groups and it is their social behaviour that has seen the species become so popular in recent years.
The BBC's Meerkat Manor became a surprise overnight success story when it first aired in September 2005, and has a slew of famous fans, including Oasis' Noel Gallagher.
Simples! Aleksandr the Meerkat from comparethemarket.com advert
But the animals have really shot to fame in the past few months thanks to a TV advert campaign by insurance comparison company Compare the Market.com.
In the ads, meerkat Aleksandr vents his frustrations over internet users visiting his website Compare the Meerkat.com by mistake.
Mr Rowlands, whose business takes the creatures into schools for lessons and rescues hurt animals, added: 'At around six weeks old we are going to wean them away from their cuddly mum, as they would be in real life. That's when we can hopefully put them back in with their dad.
'Until they are a bit older there is the possibility that the father might think they were not safe and kill them. The way we have done this with the surrogate mum has been absolutely ideal.'
An estimated 1,000 red-throated divers spend the winter in Liverpool Bay
Three months of public consultation are getting under way on plans to make Liverpool Bay a special protection area for birds.
It is home to large colonies of common scoter off the coast at Colwyn Bay in Conwy and at Shell Flat off Blackpool.
The stretch of Irish Sea spans the north Wales coast from the western tip of Anglesey to the Lancashire coast.
A decision on whether to make the bay a protection area will be made in 2010 after public opinion is sought.
Common scoters winter in British waters before returning to Scandinavia to breed. Experts estimate that between 60-70,000 birds make the trip to Liverpool Bay every year - nearly 60% of all common scoters to be found off the UK shore.
"The number of these birds in Liverpool Bay mean they are off international importance," explained Dr Neil Smith from the Countryside Council for Wales, which is carrying out the consultation exercise, along with Natural England.
Up to 30,000 alone are thought to visit the area around Colwyn Bay and Llanddulas.
The bay is also home to around 1,000 red-throated divers, which is more than 5% of the British population.
Dr Smith said the extent of the bird numbers meant the UK government had a duty to protect their environment under European law.
The designation as a special protection area (SPA) means off-shore developments, such as wind farms, would come under extra scrutiny.
"The designation doesn't mean Liverpool Bay is a no-go area, but it does mean there must be thorough consideration about developments, there is an extra test for them to pass," said Dr Smith.
"Liverpool Bay does seem to be good for renewable energy, and there are bound to be more applications in the future.
"We just need to safeguard the feeding grounds in the future."
Around 60% of all wintering common scoters are in Liverpool Bay
Dr Smith urged anyone with a view on the future designation of Liverpool Bay to take part in the consultation process, adding: "This three month window will provide people with the chance to participate in and influence the decision making process."
It is expected that the findings of the public consultation will be presented to the UK and assembly governments in summer 2010, when a decision on awarding protection status will be made by ministers.
Six wild boar to aid the regeneration of ancient forest
Wild boar were hunted to extinction by the 13th Century
Wild boar have been released into a forest in a bid to aid the regeneration of ancient Caledonian woodland.
Forres-based charity Trees for Life is keeping the six animals in a 30.4 acre enclosure on its Dundreggan Estate in Glen Moriston, Inverness-shire.
It hopes the boar will control the spread of bracken which shades out other wild plants.
Once a native species, the mammal was hunted to extinction in the UK by the 13th Century.
The boar have been donated from the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincriag, near Kingussie, and introduced to an area of ancient birch wood.
Their presence is crucial to the ecological health and balance of a natural woodland
Alan Watson Featherstone Trees for Life
Trees for Life said the plan was to build on the experience of the 2004-2007 Guisachan Wild Boar Project based on the edge of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve.
It said that project, in which it was a partner, demonstrated the importance of wild boar in forest ecosystems.
The charity's executive director Alan Watson Featherstone said the boar will play a key role in protecting native plant species.
He added: "Wild boar are an integral part of the Caledonian Forest and their presence is crucial to the ecological health and balance of a natural woodland."
Ecologist Liz Balharry, who coordinated the Guisachan Wild Boar Project and is advising Trees for Life, said: "Wild boar are outstanding ecological engineers.
"Their return to Dundreggan will utilise the knowledge gained by my project and is exciting news for forest restoration in Scotland."
Bracken grows rapidly through underground runners called rhizomes.
Shot by poachers
Because its fronds are toxic to most animals it often spreads unchecked. Boars eat both the rhizomes and fronds and, by rooting and exposing the soil, they also create an excellent seedbed for the germination of trees and other woodland plants.
Trees for Life said wild boar were shy and gentle and generally avoid humans.
It said the "fierce" reputation of the animals was largely undeserved, although it could be formidable if cornered.
The charity added that escapes of captive wild boar have occurred since the 1970s and there were free living populations in Kent, Sussex and Devon.
Earlier this year, it was reported that a study of Gloucestershire's wild boar population was being hampered by saboteurs and poachers.
Researchers from Defra's Central Science Laboratory have been catching sows and giving them contraceptives near the Forest of Dean.
The boars were trapped and tagged with a transmitting collar so they could be monitored, but researchers said tagged sows were being shot by poachers.
The researchers counted 56 tigers in a monitoring area of 9,000 square miles
The last remaining population of Siberian tigers has declined significantly, according to research.
The work was carried out by the Siberian Tiger Monitoring Programme, which is coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS ).
Its report says that tiger numbers have shown a "declining trend" over the last four years, and the latest assessment counted just 56 of the animals.
The researchers attribute the decline to poaching and habitat loss.
The organisation carries out annual tiger surveys at 16 monitoring sites scattered across the tigers' range.
The scientists did point out that deep snows during the last winter may have forced tigers to reduce the amount they travelled, making them less active and therefore less detectable
But, in 2005, the total number of Siberian tigers across their entire range was estimated at approximately 500 individuals. This recovered from fewer than 30 animals in the late 1940s.
"The sobering results are a wake-up call that current conservation efforts are not going far enough to protect Siberian tigers," said Dr Dale Miquelle a researcher from the WCS's Russian Far East Program.
"The good news is that we believe this trend can be reversed if immediate action is taken."
Russian scientists and conservation organisations are now recommending changes in law enforcement regulations, improvements in habitat protection, and a strengthening of the protected areas network to help protect the tigers.
One of the clearest
changes is earlier onset
of spring and lengthening
of the growing season. We
designed the present
study to examine the
interactive effects of
timing of dormancy
release of seeds with low
and high atmospheric CO2
on biomass, reprod...
"Men, for years now, have
been talking about war
and peace. But now, no
longer can they just talk
about it. It is no longer
a choice between violence
and nonviolence in this
world; it's nonviolence
- Dr. Martin Luther King
Solar Wind Energy Tower
Receives Patent For
by Staff WritersAnnapolis
MD (SPX) May 28, 2013
Solar Wind Energy Tower
has been awarded an
allowance of Patent
13/098,476, titled "A...
Top 50 Solar Energy
Stories Of The Year (Part
June 1, 2013Zachary
We’re trying to get
more solar energy stories
on Planetsave. To
catch readers up,
I’m doing a short
series on the top 50 s...
For much of the past 10
primarily in the United
States and Europe, have
been reporting annual
hive losses of 30 percent
or higher, substantially
more than is considered
normal or sustainable.
But this winter, many
U.S. beekeepers e...
KDC Solar and North
Jersey Media Group Cut
Ribbon on Large Solar
(SPX) May 10, 2013The
solar operation will
cover more than 60
percent of the power
needs at North Jersey
Media Group's printing
Ever since I saw that
horrific pic of the
beautiful white horse, I
can't get it out of my
mind. To think a group of
people--or maybe it was
actually do something
like that totally blows