Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Great Migrations for showing us
a survival strategy that has continued from the dinosaurs.

Great Migrations
Move as Millions Survive as One

Great Migrations (2010) - 200 minutes
Great Migrations at Amazon.com

Three years in the making, and from award-winning National Geographic cinematographers, Great Migrations takes viewers around the world on the arduous journey millions of animals undertake to ensure the survival of their species.

Shot from land and air, in trees and cliff-blinds, on ice floes and underwater, Great Migrations tell the formidable, powerful stories of many of the planet's species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights with breathtaking high-definition clarity. Narrated by Alex Baldwin.

Five Programs:

  • Born to Move
  • Need to Breed
  • Race to Survive
  • Feast or Famine
  • Science of Migrations

1-22-18 Why you can't judge a zebra by its stripes
You can't judge a zebra by its stripes. That's the finding of research that is shaking up the family tree of the African wild horse. The common (plains) zebra lives on the grasslands of eastern and southern Africa, from southern Ethiopia to northern Namibia. DNA evidence challenges the idea that there are six subspecies that you can tell apart based on variations in the animal's distinctive black and white stripes. Dr Rasmus Heller of the University of Copenhagen says there's little evidence that differences in striping patterns "mean anything in a biological sense". "At least we can say that the striping pattern does not contain much information about the history of the plains zebra, and how the different populations relate to each other," he said. The study, based on analysing variations in the DNA of 59 plains zebra from across Africa, suggests that there are nine populations of the zebra living in different areas of the continent. This knowledge is important when it comes to conservation, the scientists say. "We now have a much clearer impression of which populations should be monitored, ie. are more vulnerable to loss of genetic diversity," said Dr Heller. "This is particularly true for the two Ugandan populations, which have markedly lower genetic diversity and are relatively isolated from other populations." While zebra are still found in large numbers across Africa, some populations - in Uganda and parts of Tanzania - are dwindling in number. The northern-most population from northern Uganda is by far the most genetically distinct from the others, the research shows. To maintain high levels of genetic diversity in the species, there need to be corridors of suitable habitat for zebra to roam. "To maintain the populations that we have today, we have to maintain these habitat corridors, " said co-researcher, Casper-Emil Pedersen, also of the University of Copenhagen.

12-6-17 Wildebeest no more: The death of Africa’s great migrations
Many of Africa's savannahs are emptying of wildlife as cattle fences kill its charismatic fauna. But we are finding ways to save them. WE DEFLATED our tyres so that they could ooze through the Kalahari sand on our search for herds of wildlife migrating across the savannah. Eager ecologists from Australia, we scanned the horizons for dust clouds or heaving bodies. Instead, we were shocked to find that southern Africa’s great plains were mostly empty. We expected teeming herds of wildlife; we were confronted by a profusion of fences that sliced across the landscape. We had not realised before our holiday visit in April and May this year that Africa’s iconic migrations are dying. Fifteen large mammals used to travel en masse across the continent, but five had already stopped by 2008, when the first migration audit was carried out. Most of those that remain are now in jeopardy, and the fences we encountered over and over again share the blame. My colleagues have warned of disastrous and far-reaching consequences, yet the problem has received relatively little attention from the international community. Long-distance migrations are among the most spectacular and heroic of natural events, and the majority are in Africa. For 10 million years, hoofed animals – ungulates – have evolved in lockstep with its savannah grasses. They thrived thanks to one outstanding characteristic: mobility. In their millions, wildebeest, eland, impala, kob, hartebeest, springbok and many others tracked the shifting seasonal patterns of greening vegetation. Two regions reign supreme: the Serengeti Mara of East Africa and the Kalahari of southern Africa focused on Botswana, which was where we were. The wildebeest is the keystone species in both places: without it predators such as the lion, cheetah and wild dog wouldn’t survive.

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Great Migrations
Move as Millions Survive as One

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Great Migrations for showing us
a survival strategy that has continued from the dinosaurs.