Did You Know
 
Did you know?
"Presently, as per authoritative international estimates, there are barely 3,200 Siberian Cranes left in the world, making them among the most endangered species like the tiger or the Himalayan Pandas," Pandya told IANS The Siberian Cranes have always fascinated scientists for their ability to fly distances of over 2,500 km to escape the cold winter of Siberia.
For the tenth consecutive year, the majestic Siberian Cranes - among the most endangered birds in the world- the winter of 2012- 2013 india welcomed very few!
All cranes are omnivorous. They are predominantly vegetarian outside their breeding season
Siberian Crane
Grus leucogeranus
Height: 140 cm, 5 ft.
Weight: 6 kg, 13 lbs.
Population: ~2,900-3,000
Trend: Rapid decline
Status:IUCN: CR A3cde, Cites Appendix I, ESA: E; CMS I, II
Identification:
Adult forecrown, forehead, face, and sides of the head are bare of feathers and brick-red in color. The plumage is pure white except for the primaries, which are black. Eye color is reddish or pale yellow and legs and toes are reddish pink. Males and females are virtually indistinguishable, although males tend to be slightly larger in size and females tend to have shorter beaks than males.
Juvenile heads and necks are rusty buff in color. The rest of the plumage is buffy brown, with paler plumage occurring on the throat and chin. Siberian Crane chicks have blue eyes at hatching, but eye color changes at about six months of age to yellow.
Siberian Cranes' route to India was through Afghanistan. The adult birds stand as tall as 91 inches and can weigh over 10 kg. Depending on their breeding habitats, the Siberian Cranes were classified into central, western and eastern populations.
While the central population, which used to come to India during winters for over two centuries, is now considered extinct, the western population spends its winters in Iran.
Only the eastern population with about 3,000 birds is still strong, but it is also under severe threat owing to changes in their wintering areas in China, one of them the construction of the huge Three Gorges Dam, Mohammed said.
Besides the loss of natural habitat in most parts where they lived and bred, Mohammed said, there have been reports of hunting of these huge birds in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the recent past.
The Siberian Cranes have always fascinated scientists for their ability to fly distances of over 2,500 km to escape the cold winter of Siberia.
En route, they flew over Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and then to northwestern India. One of their brief halting points was the Abi-I-Istada Lake in Afghanistan. From there it took them around eight weeks to reach Rajasthan.
Diet:
All cranes are omnivorous. Siberian Cranes eat a wide variety of food items. On the breeding grounds in spring, they eat cranberries, rodents, fish and insects. They have a propensity for digging in wet soils. On migration and on the wintering grounds, they excavate nutrient rich roots and tubers from wetlands. They are predominantly vegetarian outside their breeding season.
Threats:
The traditional migratory and wintering habitats of this species are under constant pressure from the demands of the growing human population. These include: agricultural development, wetland drainage, oil exploration, hunting, and water development projects. The western population is primarily threatened by hunting whereas the eastern population is at risk from loss of wetland habitat.
 
 Sloth Bear
Type:Mammal
Diet:Omnivore
Average life span in captivity:Up to 40 years
Size:5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m); Tail, 2.7 to 4.7 in (7 to 12 cm)
Weight:120 to 310 lbs (54 to 141 kg)
Group name:Solitary
Protection status:Threatened
Did you know?
Sloth bears are the only bears that carry their young on their back.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Shaggy, dusty, and unkempt, the reclusive sloth bear makes its home in the forests of South Asia. Emitting noisy grunts and snorts, it wanders alone, usually at night, in search of insects and fresh fruit.
Sloth bears feed predominantly on termites and ants and employ a well-evolved method to dig them out. Their long, curved claws are used for penetrating nest mounds, which can be rock-hard. Once they've opened a hole, they blow away excess dirt then noisily suck out the insects through a gap in their front teeth. To do so, they close their nostrils and use their lips like a vacuum nozzle.
Beyond insects, sloth bears feast on a variety of fruit and flowers, including mango, fig and berries. They are also known to scale the occasional tree to knock down a bee honeycomb, which they will then enjoy on the ground below. It is this habit that's given rise to their nickname, honey bears.
Sloth bears are solitary creatures and generally nocturnal. They grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length, and males can weigh up to 310 pounds (140 kilograms), while females weigh up to 210 pounds (95 kilograms). When threatened they respond by standing on their hind legs and displaying their formidable foreclaws.
They wear an extremely shaggy black coat and a cream-colored snout, and their chest is usually marked with a whitish "V" or "Y" design.
After a six- to seven-month gestation period sloth bears normally give birth to a litter of two cubs in an underground den. The cubs will often ride on their mother's back, a unique trait among bears.
Sloth bears are considered vulnerable animals. They are threatened by habitat loss and are sometimes captured for use in performances or hunted because of their aggressive behavior and destruction of crops
Did you know?
Leopards are nocturnal.

Male leopards are up to 50 per cent larger than females.
They don't roar as loud as Tigers, but leopards can also purr.
King John kept leopards in the Tower of London in the 13th Century.
Leopards can take prey as large as antelopes, but will also eat dung beetles and other insects.
They are famously good at climbing up trees, and down – they often descend head first.
A male leopard can drag a carcass three times its own weight six meters up at tree.
Watercourses attract anitlopes wildbores live-stockand other creaturs. Rocky outcrops and caves provide cover for resting leopards and their young. The babool trees that surround the Rocy desert make a good view of the terrain, as well as providing a place to stash kills away from scavenging hyenas and offering protection from direct human contact.
At 59kg on average, leopards are the smallest of the big cats within the genus Panthera (which includes lions, tigers and jaguars), but they are also the most adaptable. They use the full terrain of the Aravalli to their advantage. They are good swimmers, excellent climbers and hunt the widest variety of prey in the indian sun continent.
A leopard's diet can include insects, common langur, hare, peafowl, fish and reptiles, as well as grazing animals. They are as happy to scavenge a meal as hunt one.
When they do hunt, they do so with stealth. Leopards are superbly camouflaged hunters that creep to within a few meters of their unsuspecting quarry before lunging, using powerful jaw muscles, to exert a lethal hold. Leopards are stealthy in other ways, too. They are solitary, elusive creatures, and – despite being the most geographically widespread of the big cats – the hardest to find and film. Leopards are known to spend most of the day hidden in trees or caves.
Still, leopards have a few tricks of their own, and – again – stealth is chief among them. They hunt, kill and feed quickly and quietly, to avoid drawing undue attention to their presence. Their spots and rosettes can be either round or square to make the very best use of the camouflage available. In different habitats around the world, leopards have evolved darker or paler markings to make the best use of their surroundings. The dark coats of black leopards – also known as panthers – offer better camouflage in forest or mountain terrain.
  

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